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Canadiens Wrap

Habs Wrap: Rebuild Needs, Mesar Shines, Canadiens Trades



Montreal Canadiens

MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens fans know all too well there’s never a dull moment when it comes to their favourite team, but there aren’t always enough hours in the day to keep up with all the news.

With that in mind, we will recap the most exciting and relevant NHL news stories that you may have missed throughout the week every Sunday.


  • ICYMI: A look back at some of the most important trades general manager Kent Hughes has made since joining the Montreal Canadiens. [Grading Kent Hughes’ Most Important Montreal Canadiens Trades]
  • There was some good news from Saturday’s matchup between the Habs and the Bruins. Juraj Slafkovsky had one of his best games in a Canadiens uniform, and not only because he scored. His play has been much better in recent games. The bad news was pretty much everything else. The Habs started slow, slowed down further, and then hit a dead stop by the end of the third period. [Canadiens Slafkovsky Scores In Embarrassing Loss To Bruins]
  • Prospect Florian Xhekaj is off to a great start to his sophomore season in the OHL. He already doubled his production from the previous year and is picking up momentum as the season unfolds. It’s a different situation for prospect David Reinbacher, however, thanks to a coaching change, things might become much healthier for all concerned. [Canadiens Prospect Report: Xhekaj Thriving, Reinbacher’s Situation]
  • Speaking of prospects, Owen Beck continues to produce at an impressive level. The 2022 second-round pick scored a hat trick on Sunday, pushing his production to over one point per game. It was also his second hat trick against Oshawa this season.

  • We also have to send some praise Filip Mesar’s way. The 19-year-old prospect currently leads the OHL in points per game.


  • The Montreal Canadiens have too many bodies in their bottom six at the moment that will not serve the club in the future. A roster littered with NHL veterans taking up prime spots on the Canadiens’ bottom six, while prospects in Laval continue to show interesting offensive ability.[Canadiens Struggles Highlight Club’s Biggest Needs For Rebuild]
  • Defenceman Arber Xhekaj did not make the trip to California, which means the Habs had to decide as to which Laval Rocket blueliner they’d recall. They wisely chose Jayden Struble, who has stood out as the Rocket’s most reliable defenceman. In other practice news, head coach Martin St-Louis skated his team harder than usual, owing to their lack of effort in recent games. [Canadiens Practice Notes: Struble Recalled, Hard Skate]


  • The Montreal Canadiens announced Jordan Harris would be out indefinitely with a lower-body injury. The defenceman has been added to the injured reserve. They also updated Rafael Harvey-Pinard’s health status. [Canadiens Injury Woes And Best Laval Rocket Call-Up Options]
  • The injury to Harris forced a call-up from the Laval Rocket. With Jayden Struble already in the mix and Logan Mailloux continuing his development, they decided to promote Mattias Norldiner.

  • The Habs also updated Rafael Harvey-Pinard’s health status. He’ll miss up to two months with his own lower-body injury.

  • Martin St-Louis decided to switch things up ahead of the Canadiens’ match-up against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday. Brendan Gallagher was placed on the top line alongside Nick Suzuki and Alex Newhook.

  • It’s a questionable decision, but St-Louis is convinced Gallagher’s impressive work rate will work in the top line’s favour.

  • On the lighter side of things, Gallagher and Johnathan Kovacevic will have to work on their spatial awareness during practice.


  • For anyone wondering, the Edmonton Oilers once again lost due to their terrible goaltending and defence. On a completely unrelated note, our columnist took a look at the pros and cons of trading one of Samuel Montembeault, Jake Allen, or Cayden Primeau. [Pros And Cons Of Trading Each Montreal Canadiens Goaltender]
  • In the past, the numbers have suggested splitting up Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki may lead to better underlying numbers. But this season, things were going quite well right up until head coach Martin St-Louis split them up. Since then, their results have suffered considerably. [Canadiens Made Mistake Of Changing Top Line At Wrong Time]
  • Samuel Montembeault was given the start versus the Anaheim Ducks. Defenceman Jayden Struble, who has exceeded all expectations in the AHL this season, made his NHL debut. [Struble Set To Make NHL Debut]
  • The decision to start Montembeault paid off, as he made several great saves to keep the Habs in the game once the Ducks took over. Despite concerns from many Habs fans, adding Brendan Gallagher to the top line also worked out, as they were the only line that managed to control the play throughout the whole game. Alex Newhook scored twice, and Struble had a very efficient start to his NHL career. [Montembeault And Newhook Shine In Exciting Win Vs. Ducks]
  • Phenom Lane Hutson had yet another productive game. The Montreal Canadiens prospect played a crucial role in his team’s 3-2 win over Quinnipiac. Boston was facing a 2-0 deficit, but thanks to a pair of primary assists by Hutson, they managed to clinch a comeback win against their opponents, who are ranked third in the country.

  • According to Arpon Basu, Juraj Slafkovsky is not interested in playing in the World Juniors this year.


  • The latest edition of the Montreal Canadiens prospect power rankings is available. Filip Mesar continues to climb the list due to his excellent play with the Kitchener Rangers in the OHL. Lane Hutson held onto the top spot, but he’s now got some competition. Many of the Laval Rocket players dropped due to a down week, and for the second list in a row, David Reinbacher has ranked lower than the previous week. [Canadiens Prospect Power Rankings: Mesar and Hutson Dominate]
  • Sean Monahan did not practice with the Habs on Thursday. The veteran forward has struggled mightily in recent games, which is unusual for a player of his ilk.

  • Instead of bringing the Habs to Quebec City (for free) the Quebec Government decided to pay the Los Angeles Kings $7 million to play a pair of preseason games at the Centre Videotron. Quebec teachers, who are currently on strike due to low wages and failed promises from the government, are taking advantage of the boondoggle to prove their point about government spending.[Quebec Government To Pay $7M For NHL Preseason Games]

  • If you get the sense the Habs do a poor job defending their zone, you’re right. No other team in the NHL allows more rushes than the Canadiens.

  • Thankfully (or unfortunately if you’re on team tank) their goaltenders have done a good job masking the defensive issues.

  • According to Ryan Rishaug, the Edmonton Oilers are desperate to improve their situation, but they’re not willing to move a first-round pick, which is counterintuitive. They seem to be content letting two of the best players in the world toil away in sadness rather than moving a first-round pick that won’t do much to improve their team in the next five years.   [Pros And Cons Of Trading Each Montreal Canadiens Goaltender]



  • The Montreal Canadiens gave goaltender Cayden Primeau his fourth start of the season, and for once, it was against a team that gave him a better-than-usual chance to earn a win. [Canadiens Game 20: Cayden Primeau To Face Lowly Sharks]
  • Juraj Slafkovskhy had one of his best games in a Habs uniform on Saturday. He wasn’t just leading the charge offensively, he was creating time and space for his teammates in the offensive zone. His line, along with Christian Dvorak and Cole Caufield was constantly generating good scoring chances. Speaking of which, Caufield scored his first 5v5 goal of the season in the win against San Jose. [Highlights: Slafkovsky Shines, Caufield Scores In Canadiens Win Vs. Sharks]
  • To drive the point home, take a look at the post-game stats. The Caufield-Slafkovsky combo is building chemistry!

  • Following the game, Swiss hockey expert Thibaud Chatel joined me on Game Over to discuss David Reinbacher’s recent play, as well as all the important information we need to know about his development.

  • The Habs announced that Arber Xhekaj would no longer be listed as day-to-day. The defenceman has now been placed on the injured reserve, with Joel Armia receiving the call-up from the Laval Rocket.


  • Don’t forget to check out the chat between Marc and Marco following Saturday’s tough loss by the Canadiens versus the Kings. They discuss trades, development, and much more.