The Montreal Canadiens are starting to trim down their roster as the preseason officially gets underway, and on Sunday they announced a round of cuts from their training camp.
According to an official announcement from the Habs, three players were cut from the roster today all of whom we presume will be returning to their respective teams at the junior level. The players cut are the following:
Canadiens 5th round draft selection (150th overall) at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, forward Joshua Roy.
Canadiens 6th round draft selection (191st overall) at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft Xavier Simoneau.
Canadiens 7th round draft selection (214th overall) at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft Joe Vrbetic.
None of these cuts should come as a particularly big surprise given their draft pedigree alone, but nonetheless there was a contingent of fans in Montreal that were not happy to see Joshua Roy on that list. Roy was coming off a two goal performance for the Habs and many felt that performance should have earned him a longer look, but the reality is that was never going to be realistic. At just 18 years of age Roy will be allowed to continue his development this season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League where he will play out the season as a member of the Sherbrooke Phoenix.
The Canadiens will no doubt be particularly sensitive of the risks involved with rushing a player up to the National Hockey League level too quickly following their experience with forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi. There were many who felt that the Canadiens moved too quickly with Kotkaniemi and there it seems fair to suggest that by the time he signed an offer sheet with the Hurricanes, the relationship between player and team had taken a turn for the worse. I suspect the Habs will tread much more carefully moving forward, at least in the short term with their current management.
Xavier Simoneau will also likely be heading back to the QMJHL where he will play out the season with the Drummondville Voltigeurs and Joe Vrbetic will no doubt be returning to the Ontario Hockey League where he will play out the season with the North Bay Battalion.