As training camp dawns, Martin St-Louis is keeping a cool head when it comes to expectations of his roster.
In the first part of an interview with Jean-Charles Lajoie, broadcast Monday, the Montreal Canadiens pilot confirmed that he had a goal in mind and that several means were possible to achieve it.
“It’s hard to set expectations. During the training camp, the team will talk to us. Our behavior on the ice will help us direct where we are going. We have an overall picture and we have things to navigate. We know where we want to go, but there are different routes to get there.
The Quebecer also wants to use training camp as a period of experimentation. Some combinations from last season showed promise, but he wants to keep an open mind to incorporate offseason acquisitions.
“We are going to experiment. I have ideas, but I want to talk to the other coaches about them. We have ideas of how we want to try to start this, but you have to experiment. I know some things work from last season, but we have new players. You have to experiment a bit.”
If St-Louis is unequivocal on one point, it is youth development. He assures that they will be placed in the best possible conditions so that they can experience long-term success in the Bettman circuit.
“Young players are not finished products and sometimes you want to finish them too quickly. If you give too much information, they think too much. It is with hesitation that you make mistakes. Where we are as an organization, the focus is very much on the development of young people. They must feel that they are entering an element where they can breathe a little. The stress has to be more the pressure they put on themselves than mine, but the attitude and work ethic will be non-negotiable.”
The coach also returned to the selection of Juraj Slafkovsky. Although he did not try to influence the decision, he admitted that he was perfectly comfortable with the choice.
“I watched videos of the top prospects. I didn’t watch as many as the scouts, but I watched enough. I was confident of their choice. Me, I can’t come in there with a small sample and put pressure on them or point them in a direction they might not want to go. If someone asks my opinion, I will give it. But it’s not for me to make a decision like that. I’ve had enough on my side. I was very happy with the result.”
Watch the first of five parts of the interview in the video above.