With the Montreal Canadiens signing forward Martin Reway to an entry-level contract, he became the last member of the team’s 2013 draft class to sign a deal. The decision to sign him is an interesting one considering rumours of attitude problems and his supposed lack of a defensive game, two things that go against what the Habs are looking for in their players. However, Reway’s immense offensive talent is something to look for.
Rumours of attitude issues have followed Reway around for years as well as the apparent absence of a defensive game. Internationally, Reway has been a leader for the Slovakian national team. He wore the C when Slovakia surprisingly won bronze at the 2015 World Juniors and when he received the bronze medal trophy, he waited until he was with his teammates to lift it. Reway also became the youngest ever assistant captain for Slovakia at the 2016 World Championships, which is impressive considering he was selected by his teammates to wear the A.
As for his defensive game, Reway is not the second coming of Patrice Bergeron or Anze Kopitar but he isn’t a complete defensive disaster either. He is certainly guilty of looking nonchalant defensively at times but one thing he does well when he doesn’t have the puck is he will make himself disappear and then steal the puck off of an opposing player.
However, it’s Reway’s talent with the puck that makes him an intriguing prospect. In terms of raw offensive skill, Reway is one of the best, if not tops, among Montreal’s prospects in that category. Reway has produced everywhere he has gone and his combo of skill and speed are dangerous. He can play left wing or centre but his NHL future would likely lie on the wing.
Questions Surrounding Reway
There are questions surrounding Reway coming back to North America. One of them naturally is his size. He is small at 5′ 8″ and 170 lbs but he is elusive. The game has modernized to become friendlier for smaller players and it shows with those kinds of players succeeding every year. Another question is how he will mesh with the coaching staff. Whether it’s with the Habs or the St. John’s IceCaps in the AHL, Reway will be on a team where creativity is not high on the list and solid defense is mandatory.
However, he did spend two seasons in the QMJHL under coach Benoit Groulx, who is known for being hard on his players. Reway did well under Groulx as he produced offensively and developed other aspects of his game. He also has experience playing professional hockey for the past two years in Europe so he has proven he can play against men. It’s whether he can do on a smaller rink versus the best players in the world.
"We are glad to have him join a group of young prospects who will be competing for a spot with our team at training camp" -Bergevin on Reway
— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) May 18, 2016
Most Interesting Prospect
Except for maybe Artturi Lehkonen and Charles Hudon, Reway will be the most interesting prospect at this fall’s training camp. Between his size, dynamic offensive skill set and the uncertainty of how he will fit into Montreal’s style of play, Reway will command his fair share of attention. His offensive game could help Montreal right now, especially on the power play, but it remains to be seen where the coaching staff feels Reway belongs. His overall game still needs work and he will need to at least show more effort when he doesn’t have the puck.
In regards to Reway’s attitude, the Habs likely did their homework before signing him if it was still an overwhelming issue, especially with the organization’s emphasis on character. No doubt Reway is a high risk, high reward player. He has the potential to be an exciting player with his talent and for him to succeed, he needs to be in a role where he can produce offense, not on the fourth line or playing alongside players who don’t complement his skills.