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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens call up two kids not named Caufield

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens are giving youth a chance.

The Habs announced late last night that they have recalled centreman Ryan Poehling and defenceman Mattias Norlinder from the Laval Rocket.

Both played in Laval’s 3-0 shutout win over the Belleville Senators at Place Bell yesterday evening. Poehling scored the Rocket’s second of the game with Cole Caufield picking up the assist. He was also named the second star of the game.

Expect Poehling to play his first NHL game in 646 days tonight against the Calgary Flames tonight. Head coach Dominique Ducharme announcing yesterday that centreman Cedric Paquette will be out up to 10 days with an undisclosed injury.

The Montreal Canadiens first round pick, 25th overall, in 2016 was supposed to make the big club out of camp. Especially to fill the void down the middle created by the departure of Jesperi Kotkaniemi. But it appeared as though off-season wrist surgery hampered his ability to be properly prepared physically to be at his best for training camp. He was rather anonymous at camp and was sent down to the Rocket.

In Laval, he has taken the setback well under new head coach J.F. Houle. Despite suffering a head injury that saw him miss about a week of action, the centreman hasn’t missed a beat offensively. He has three goals and three assists in seven games in the AHL.

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Poehling has the chance to potentially solve head coach Dominique Ducharme’s problem down the middle with the bug club. Paquette has struggled as the fourth line centre while Adam Brooks has barely got a look in. Converted winger Mathieu Perreault looked as though he was the best of a bad bunch for the Habs head coach. But he is out for at least another week with an eye injury.

Norlinder was also called up by the Montreal Canadiens after playing his first and only game with the Rocket. He was down on the farm for a conditioning assignment as he works his way back from a lower-body injury he suffered in pre-season.

Per his contract, the smooth-skating Swedish defenceman, drafted in the third round in 2019, can only play for either the Habs or his club team Frolunda. Ducharme has said several times that he plans to give him a game at least to see where he’s at.

It would be a surprise to see Norlinder play tonight against the Flames. The Habs already have enough bodies on the blueline. Sami Niku has been a healthy scratch the past three games. While Alexander Romanov has played his best hockey of the year the last two games next to Chris Wideman. Joel Edmundson is expected to be back on the ice with his teammates in 10 to 14 days as well.

Expect Norlinder to get a run of games based on his play before being sent back to Sweden to play out the remainder of his season.

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