HabsTracks – September 15, 2022

By JD LagrangeHabsTracks is a review, retracing the recent hot topics. This week, we’re looking at the rookie tournament, the battle on right defense and the options available, Jake Allen’s potential extension and the battles at camp, amongst other things. Please feel free to comment and share with your friends.

The Prospects Challenge starts today in Buffalo, and features rookies from six NHL clubs: the Canadiens, the Boston Bruins, the Buffalo Sabres, the New Jersey Devils, the Ottawa Senators, and the Pittsburgh Penguins competing in a mini-tournament.

Thursday, Sept.15SabresCanadiens7:00 pm
Friday, Sept.16CanadiensDevils7:00 pm
Sunday, Sept.18SenatorsCanadiens12:00 pm

Joshua Roy joined Logan Mailloux on the injured list, and will stay in Brossard to receive treatment for a minor hand injury. Mailloux is still rehabilitating a shoulder on which he had surgery several months ago.

The Canadiens took advantage of their annual golf tournament – which raised over half a million dollar – to name Nick Suzuki as the new team captain. Brendan Gallagher and Joel Edmundson will be his alternates. Likely due to his hip injury, Paul Byron is losing his “A”. Josh Anderson would have been another good candidate for alternate.

Wishing for yet another fresh start, Canadiens’ left winger Jonathan Drouin has decided to change his number from 92 to 27, number that he wore in junior hockey and in Tampa Bay. Alexander Romanov was wearing that number, he who was traded to the New York Islanders in the first of two trades by the Canadiens allowing them to get young center Kirby Dach.

Speaking of numbers, here are the additions and changes in numbers:

  • Jonathan Drouin: 27
  • Kirby Dach: 77
  • Evgenii Dadonov: 63
  • Sean Monahan: 91
  • Juraj Slafkovsky: 20
  • Mike Matheson: 8
  • Chris Wideman: 6

With the news of Carey Price’s injury, Jake Allen confirmed Kevin Weekes’ information to the effect that there has been talks with the Canadiens on a contract extension. Talks are in the preliminary stages but both sides want to get it done. He is entering the last year of a contract with a cap hit of $2.875 million.

The Price bad news opened up a battle for the backup position between Samuel Montembeault and Cayden Primeau. Both goaltenders signed a one-way deal this summer. The only difference being that Montembeault has to clear waivers while Primeau doesn’t, at least for the first part of the season. As we recently touched on, fans shouldn’t be too quick in handing the position to Monty as there are a couple of options for Primeau.

The Canadiens created controversy amongst the fan base this week as they announced that there would be advertising on their legendary jerseys. Former Canadiens now radio host Georges Laraque has learned that Royal Bank has paid $31.5 million for a five-year sponsorship, so an average of $6.3 million per season.

While some fans are okay with it, seeing it as inevitable, others feel like the Canadiens are selling their soul to the devil and that after the ads on helmets, it’s one step closer to looking like European leagues jerseys.

The battle on defense is lining up to be a good one, as youth will be battling at training camp for three spots. We know that Mike Matheson, Joel Edmundson, David Savard and Chris Wideman will be on the team. Pending no trades or signature, the battle for the remaining three spots will be between:

  • Justin Barron
  • Kaiden Guhle
  • Jordan Harris
  • Arber Xhekaj
  • Corey Schueneman
  • Otto Leskinen
  • Mattias Norlinder

Only Barron is right-handed so technically, considering how well he played after being traded to Montreal, this is his job to lose. But he is still only 20 years old. On that list, it is important to note that according to Capfriendly, only Schueneman has to clear waivers. Everyone else is waivers-exempt. Because of it, you can expect constant traffic between Montreal and Laval as these young men could very well be going back and forth between the big club and the farm team.

After the Jeff Petry trade, Kent Hughes had mentioned wanting to add a veteran right-handed defenseman. But what exactly are his options this late in the off-season?

  • UFAs: Anton Stralman and PK Subban are still unsigned. I would not sign Subban but Stralman, I would take in a heartbeat. Quality veteran defenseman.
  • Trade: The New York Rangers are shopping Nils Lundkvist and speculations are rampant around the Canadiens. Some less reliable rumouroids are tying the Habs to Oilers’ veteran Tyson Barrie. I could definitely see either one of them as a good option.
  • Waivers: Another options is to wait and see the right-handed defensemen cut by other teams. Having finished 32nd, the Canadiens have first dib on whomever is placed on waivers. Keep an eye on Ethan Bear in Carolina…

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