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Why Montreal Canadiens Finally Decided To Recall Owen Beck



Montreal Canadiens prospect Owen Beck

Montreal Canadiens GM Kent Hughes didn’t seem keen on emergency recalling a prospect from junior, but a perfect situation presented itself and Owen Beck got the call.

It’s excessively rare for an NHL club to be in a position where they need to recall a player for the junior level; generally happening once a year, if that, throughout the entire league.

It wasn’t even a possibility the Canadiens were considering as early as last week.

In a recent interview with TVA Sports‘ Jean-Charles Lajoie, Kent Hughes was asked whether the situation, a dire one plagued with injury for the Canadiens, could warrant the recall some Canadiens prospects from junior for reinforcements.

According to Hughes, although the opportunity could be an interesting one for fans, especially given this lost season, it wouldn’t be in the best interest of the prospect to uproot them from their current environment just for a handful of games.

“I believe that a player is part of their team. In Owen’s case, he’s just been traded to Peterborough and in Josh’s case, he’s in Sherbrooke. Both teams have high aspirations for the rest of the season and the playoffs,” said Hughes regarding the possibility of calling up Owen Beck or Joshua Roy. “If we had a major emergency, we could consider it, but, at the moment, we feel they’re better off playing in junior, focusing on their game and helping their team.”

But, in the last few days, a variety of conditions made it possible to proceed to finally recall a youngster from the CHL, and the Canadiens decided to go with Owen Beck.

Here’s why.

Montreal Canadiens’ Emergency

Injuries to Joel Armia, Jake Evans, Brendan Gallagher, Sean Monahan and Juraj Slafkovsky have forced the Canadiens to get creative.

For the last two weeks, the Canadiens have been running with only 11 forwards on their roster.

Having less than 12 forwards on your roster constitutes an emergency, according to the NHL. It provides teams with the necessary condition for the emergency recall of a player playing in the minors, according to section 13.12 of the NHL’s CBA,

“Emergency conditions shall be established when the playing strength of the Loaning Club, by reason of incapacitating injury or illness or by League suspension to its Players is reduced below the level of two (2) goalkeepers, six (6) defensemen and twelve (12) forwards. Proof of the existence of the emergency conditions including the incapacity shall be furnished to the Commissioner of the League upon request made by him.”

Having already called up Jesse Ylönen, the Canadiens had to use emergency recalls on Cayden Primeau, Rem Pitlick and Rafaël Harvey-Pinard. Despite the many recalls, the Canadiens still only had 11 healthy forwards, and the ranks of the Laval Rocket were also at a breaking point at forward.

Thankfully for the Canadiens, Laval wasn’t the only team they could call on for reinforcements.

The CHL-NHL agreement includes a clause that allows an NHL club to pluck a player out of junior on an emergency basis in a particular situation.

Specifically, if an NHL club has already proceeded to two emergency recalls for a given position (defenceman or forward), they would be eligible to recall a junior-based player should a third emergency recall be necessary.

Perfect Timing For Beck

The Montreal Canadiens thus had a prime opportunity to recall a youngster for two weeks now, but only decided to make the call to Owen Beck now.

Why did they decide on Owen Beck instead of World Junior Championship standout Joshua Roy or Filip Mesar? Why Now?

We get into it.

First and foremost, a junior player on emergency recall can only play a maximum of five NHL games during said recall and would have to be the first player sent back down upon the return of an injured player.

However, during the emergency recall, the player in question cannot miss more than one of his junior team’s games. In layman’s terms, it takes some pretty special timing to make an emergency recall from junior worth it.

In Beck’s case, it was perfect timing, as his Peterborough Petes only play one game between today (Saturday) and Thursday. This would allow Beck to play in both of the Canadien’s games this week before the NHL All-Star break against the Ottawa Senators.

On the flipside, a player like Joshua Roy is set to play three games in the next five days, meaning he could have only been called for tonight’s game against the Senators before having to be sent back right away for Sherbrooke’s game on Sunday against Drummondville.

The same can be said for Filip Mesar, who is set to play both Saturday and Tuesday of this week; meaning he would have only been eligible for Saturday’s game; on top of having played a gruelling game for the Kitchener Rangers last night (Friday).

Thus, although merit was involved, Beck’s extremely easy schedule, combined with the incoming All-Star Break gave the Canadiens a perfect situation to recall Owen Beck for a two-game cup of coffee in the NHL.

It’s an exciting turn of events for fans, who grew to love Beck after an inspiring performance at the Canadiens’ training camp this past fall.

The last time the Montreal Canadiens proceeded to such means to ice a compliant NHL roster was the last game of the 2016-2017 season, where Mikhail Sergachev was called up from Windsor to play a game against the Detroit Red Wings.

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