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Montreal Canadiens

Habs Mailbag: Stop Trading Harris, Waiver Issues, Dach & Suzuki



Montreal canadiens jordan Harris

Welcome to another edition of the Montreal Canadiens Mailbag!

This week we ask everyone to stop trading Jordan Harris, in addition to discussing the projected standings next season, the waivers situation for Jesse Ylonen and Cayden Primeau, why Mats Naslund was a joy to watch in the 80s, Sean Farrell’s potential, the difference between Kirby Dach and Nick Suzuki, as well as how many points we should expect from Lane Hutson.

Let’s dive right into it.

I wouldn’t lose any sleep regarding the Jesse Ylonen contract.

They’re most likely discussing the details regarding his AHL salary, which is how they’ll attempt to sneak him through waivers if necessary.

MUST READ: The Expected Cap Hit From The Jesse Ylonen Extension

On that note, we should probably remind ourselves that there are several players like Ylonen around the league, and though he may still have potential, it’s doubtful teams want to invest in a 23-year-old winger that has just 52 games of NHL experience.

I’m not saying Ylonen is a bad player, not by any means, but historically speaking, even when players with a fair amount of NHL success get put on waivers, such as Eeli Tolvanen, teams are reluctant to make a claim.

Le Petit Viking.

There was something magical about watching Mats Naslund carve through the opposition while being the shortest player on the ice. Don’t forget, hockey in the 80s was a different animal.

An overfed animal.

The type of animal that moves very slowly and clobbers everything in its way, like a disgruntled walrus on skates, but with bigger mustaches. I’m looking at you, Dave Babych.

Naslund was different.

He used his size to his advantage and was a joy to watch. He also scored 40+ goals twice, and all eight of his seasons with the Canadiens involved scoring 20 goals or more.

Before Caufield, there was DeBrincat, but before DeBrincat, there was Naslund.

Edit: I read the tweet too quickly and missed the part regarding it being a ‘non-Habs’ player.

For that answer, I’ll have to either say Ray Bourque, who played for the hated Bruins, or Pavel Bure, who was one of the most exciting athletes in the history of sports.

Even with Patrice Bergeron’s retirement, I’m going to suggest that the Bruins have a much, much, much, much better lineup than the Canadiens.

I wrote about this topic earlier in the month, but here are Coles Notes regarding the current Atlantic Division arms race:

  • Every team, including the Detroit Red Wings, has a better lineup than the Habs.
  • The Habs aren’t remotely close to competing.
  • It’s the perfect time for a rebuild. Every other team is surging.
  • Another high draft pick would do wonders for the prospect pool.
  • Adding players like Alex Newhook and Kirby Dach is fine, but Kent Hughes should avoid trying to speed up the rebuild.


Much like Ylonen, I strongly doubt Cayden Primeau would be claimed if he’s put on waivers.

Actually, I’ll just come out and say it: there’s almost no chance he gets claimed unless a team is desperate for a goalie. Every NHL club has a Primeau or two in their prospect pool, and most of them have better numbers.

The Primeau waiver situation is much ado about nothing, in my opinion.

I’m not trying to pick on you, but I am going to take this opportunity to beg Habs fans to stop throwing Jordan Harris into trades as if he’s not an important member of the team.

Again, this isn’t directed at the person who asked the question, but it’s the perfect opportunity to remind everyone that Jordan Harris was far and away the best rookie defenceman on the team.

MUST READ: Jordan Harris’ Excellent Rookie Season

And no, he wasn’t sheltered.

He played against strong opponents and was one of the very few members of the Canadiens that held his own throughout the season. It’s clear he’s a very cerebral player, and that allows him to adapt to every situation quickly, while also being one of the few defencemen that knows how to drive the play.

His pairing with Johnathan Kovacevic was reminiscent of the numbers that Jeff Petry and Brett Kulak put up, but Harris and Kovacevic are doing it on a much worse team.

When it comes to hypothetical trades, including Harris is fine, as long as he’s not a throw-in. He has much more value to the Canadiens in the lineup than as a sweetener in a trade.

As for the other questions, unless Christian Dvorak suddenly improves his horrible underlying numbers, I doubt any team will want to pay for his services.

And unfortunately, no, I do not think the Canadiens are a playoff team next season. I estimate they’ll finish dead last in the Atlantic, again.

Taking a look at the projected lineup for next season gives us all the information necessary in this case.

There’s simply no space for Sean Farrell in the NHL, at least not to start the season.

And that’s not a problem.

Despite scoring more points per game than almost everyone else in college hockey last year, Farrell still needs to work on his timing in a professional setting, which is exactly what the AHL offers.

I know you’ve all heard about the difference in speed between the AHL and the NHL. The gap is as big, if not bigger when you jump from the NCAA to the AHL.

That half-second is the difference between having time to decide which play you’ll make and having to rely on your instincts and training.

Plus it’ll be fun to watch the Laval Rocket ice a lineup with actual prospects, players that will hopefully make an impact on the Canadiens at some point, rather than one-year mercenaries, as has been the case for the last half-decade.

Everything we have in terms of projections puts Lane Hutson at an elite level of production once he makes the NHL. Hell, his NHL Equivalency last season was 40 points, which is rather encouraging when you consider only high-scoring forwards Joshua Roy and Riley Kidney had a higher projected NHLe.

In the long run, if he ends up producing numbers similar to what we saw from Patrice Brisebois or Eric Desjardins, we should all consider it a major success. He was, after all, a very late second-round pick.

Anything more than that is just delicious gravy on the poutine of life.

But for now, let’s settle on him actually making the NHL, and go from there.

The best shawarma place in Kanata is the one with the strongest garlic sauce. That rule applies everywhere in the world.

As for the question, I think it’s interesting because they both have different skill sets.

Suzuki is sneaky good defensively, as in he’ll do 15-20 things per game that make me think, “Wow, that was crucial, and very few people noticed.”

You’ll note his underlying numbers aren’t great recently, especially since Martin St-Louis took over, but he was also tasked with single-handedly driving the offence on most nights, so we’ll give him a pass until the Canadiens add a few more talented players to the lineup and St-Louis can spread the wealth a little.

He’s an excellent playmaker, and we all know he has a great shot.

As for Dach, he’s the player I see as the best in transition on the team. I don’t think he has a higher ceiling than Suzuki, but he does bring a different set of skills to the table.

That’s why they both work so well when used on the same line. Dach can’t win a faceoff to save his life, but he will quickly steal the puck and drive the play. Once the play is in motion, Suzuki creates time and space for his opponents, while also placing himself in a high-danger scoring area.

If I had to clone one player to add to the lineup next year, it would be Dach, because the Canadiens are awful in transition.

But if I had to keep just one, I would not hesitate to pick Suzuki.

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Mike Pouliot

Marc don’t kid yourself about harris he doesn’t have a better tool set than Guhle Barron or Xhekajl. He is a major upgrade on Mete but has many salaries. Once Hutson arrives there will be for Harris

john harmsworth

Like Harris, Xekhai is also still improving, and brings that element of physicality that the team otherwise seriously lacks. He’s an important piece playing short minutes and hopefully can stick around and become even more valuable. One of these days we might make the playoffs and we’ll want guys who can dominate the net front as wel as play D, even if on a third line.


Harris or Arbor? Both may very well become expendable once Rein and Mailloux and Hudson crack the lineup…so this is all moot for now.


Didnt you count our Xhekaj since day 1?
Harris was Scratched when Eddy and Matheson came back
Xhekaj was scratched exactly 2 times before he was injured
Harris was injured 9 games but scratched 8 games including after Xhekaj was injured

What you’re selling doesnt add up with how MSL chose to play them.
I mean Matheson come back and Harri’s numbers dropped
Eddy come back and he was a scratched regularly.
Matheson injured then Harris rose back up
Then Matheson returned on fire and Harris was benched again.

You can sell Harris >Xhekaj but the Coach disagrees clearly
Its not to say Harris isnt great, he’s just the guy you scratch in a deep system.
What makes it sad though is they scratched him with Xhekaj injured for Wideman

Mike Pouliot

Marc I appreciate what you’re saying. Please note I see Arber as 5-7 Dman and Harris ceiling maybe a 4/5. However when it comes to the playoffs successful teams do not have a Hutson and Harris type players simultaneously in their lineup.

john harmsworth

Doesn’t Harris play both R and L side? If I’m right on tat point, that is the single most important reason to keep him. He’s good enough, adaptable and still improving..


He’s been forced there before Scratched for Wideman
In College it was Struble who played Harris’s Right Side.
Harris doesnt have it in him to play reliable hockey on RD.

Xhekaj on the other hand moved to RD for the first time year before last and elevated an unsigned current ECHL player who was 20 years old and made him the CHL Player of the Year out of no where. He signed a NHL Contract and its been all downhill or back to normal for Staois since Xhekaj left him.

To play your off side you got be just as good off the puck and your are on the puck. That means that you need the size to protect yourself and the puck as well as the skill to control the puck on your back hand well enough to gain control to switch it to your Natural side or make the play.

Playing your off side is playing Chess when other D only have to play Checkers.
Its equal parts Strategy and Good Judgement because its much easier to get caught flat footed playing your offside.

billy mitton

Our Defensive Depth in the NHL the next 3 seasons


Matheson Top Pair x 3 years
Guhle Top Pair Long term
Harris 2nd Pair Long term
Hutson 2nd Pair Long term(Special teams minutes will carry him)
Xhekaj #4/5 Defenseman who can play either 2nd or 3rd pair on LD or RD.

Savard 2nd Pair defensive dman and team leader x 2 years
Barron #2/3 Defenseman similar to the role Petry played Long Term
Kovacevic #4/5 Defenseman who can play either side on 2nd or 3rd pairing x 2 years
Mailloux 2nd pair Defenseman ideally but could be 3rd pairing and will be here long term

Thats ignoring stand out prospects like Adam Engstrom and David Reinbacher who will likely be a factor in the next 3 years as well. No matter what someone’s gotta go this year and another in the 2 years that follow. We got good prospects in the AHL to to develop so keeping NHL quality players in the AHL just because they’re waiver exempt has its downsides.

That said Matheson was injured 4 times last year and still hasnt been activated off of IR
like players like Caufield on June 5th and Monahan on June 21st. He’ll likely continue his trend of being on and off IR all year again so keeping Harris just means he might get scratched 5-6 games during the year when the rosters healthy. But we’d just be putting the problem off for another year when it comes to crowding on our LD at the NHL and AHL level.

IF we wait we’re in a situation like LAK where they got rid of Durzi Walker and Grans from their equally deep RD core for far below market average cause there was no buyers interested. In the end they got a 2nd for Durzi and rid of Cal Peterson for Walker, Grans and a 2nd . Not a very impressive return but they waited too long and lost their leverage with the players and other GM’s.

I dont Want to trade Harris
But the only way to avoid it would be moving a more talented player ahead of him so he can grow. So Matheson , Guhle or Hutson would have to go for for this to work long term

Easier to sell Harris while his value is high after a great rookie season.
Adam Engstrom and Lane Hutson sooner then later are going to be here anyways.
No point in getting attached to Harris just because he’s the longest tenured of our quality defensive prospects who made good.

Short term or Long, Harris doesnt fit the plans over better prospects.
If he played a more Scrappy game lowering him to less minutes on 3rd pair might be an option but why diminish Harris’s Value when we got Xhekaj who’s basically Emelin 2.0 but actually tough and not a cheapshot artist


Emelin was a cheapshot artist? I don’t know which games you were watching, clean bodychecks everytime.



  • Every team, including the Detroit Red Wings, has a better lineup than the Habs.
  • The Habs aren’t remotely close to competing.
  • It’s the perfect time for a rebuild. Every other team is surging.
  • Another high draft pick would do wonders for the prospect pool.
  • Adding players like Alex Newhook and Kirby Dach is fine, but Kent Hughes should avoid trying to speed up the rebuild.

I honestly disagree with 4 of these 5 statements…

I’ll say it again and again. If not for the myriad of injuries last season, the Habs would have finished with about 87 pts (that was their pace until about mid Dec). We can all agree that they will likely be slightly better than last season. So, by transitivity, that means about 90 pts this season – as long as the injuries don’t pile up.

There is no way EVERY team in the division finishes with more than 90 pts. At least one or two will finish lower, and don’t be super surprised if none of them are the Habs.

90 pts means “competing” for a WC spot, even if they don’t get it, its down to the last 2-3 games before they would be eliminated. That’s good enough for me now given the current situation.

Be careful what you wish for. Even if we finish in the top 5 or 10 in the draft and get another “high” pick, there is no guarantee that pick turns out to be all that. We are still waiting on Slaf, right…and he was #1!

“Avoid trying to speed up the rebuild”…I honestly don’t know where to start with this. Newhook and Dach are NOT all-stars (not yet anyway), so what exactly are you worried about? Are you so concerned that they will be and that Hughes actually made insane deals to get these guys? So what if they do become all-stars this coming season? What if the Habs somehow make the playoffs with 95 pts and actually win one series in said playoffs? That’s Bad?????

Please, everyone, do yourself a favor and watch this vid and listen to the words…its funny, but 110% accurate!

You ALWAYS play to win the game !!!!!,vid:b5-iJUuPWis


Right Harris is better than Guhle – not even close.