The question on everyone's lips in Montreal heading into the regular season is who will replace Phillip Danault
. The versatile Quebec center flew to California on July 28 to sign a lucrative $33 million contract with the Los Angeles Kings.
Obviously, a player like Danault is not easily replaced. The former number 24 of the Canadiens took big face-offs in defensive territory and he excelled at facing opposing first lines. Dominique Ducharme has to find a replacement for him.
With the acquisition of Christian Dvorak
, many thought that he would be the one to take Danault's place. However, is this what Dom Ducharme sees in his soup?
The head coach seems to have other plans. He mentions seeing Jake Evans
as a future Danault. According to him, Evans is an underrated player. "It's okay to see him as an underrated guy," said the Canadiens coach. "I like to bring him back to Phil [Phillip Danault
]. When Phil came to Montreal, people needed time to appreciate the way he played. They can be comparable in that sense."
Ducharme also took the opportunity to praise his 25-year-old American center. "I like the way he plays and the details in his game. I think he's complete. He has speed, he's intense and he can play multiple positions. There are a lot of positives for him."
"We see him growing. Last year he already showed some great things with us. He's made his mark. He can continue to move forward. He's a smart young man and he's got a good understanding of what he needs to do to be successful," he added about the one who fits perfectly into the mold of player he's looking for.
And don't forget about the offensive potential! Evans is currently labeled as a defensive center, but the young American will have big ambitions this season, especially on the offensive end. "I want to be a smart player, make the right plays. I have good vision, I can spot players. I'm not going to draw attention with a strong shot, but I have a good read to find lines for a shot or a pass," said the number 71.
What role do you think Jake Evans
will play in the Canadiens lineup this season? Do you think he could be a force on both the defensive and offensive sides of the net?