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.
OWEN. BECK! 💪
— Ontario Hockey League (@OHLHockey) November 19, 2023
- We also have to send some praise Filip Mesar’s way. The 19-year-old prospect currently leads the OHL in points per game.
#OHL points-per-game leaders (min. 5GP)
— Ontario Hockey League (@OHLHockey) November 18, 2023
- 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]
— Stu Cowan (@StuCowan1) November 20, 2023
- The Edmonton Oilers are looking for a goalie to remedy their terrible netminding situation. They’ve shown interest in all three Habs goalies, however, a deal involving Samuel Montembeault or Cayden Primeau is more likely. [Edmonton Oilers Showing Interest In Montreal Canadiens Goalies]
- 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.
Les Canadiens ont procédé au rappel du défenseur Mattias Norlinder du Rocket de Laval, plaçant du même coup Jordan Harris sur la liste des blessés.
The Canadiens have recalled defenseman Mattias Norlinder from the Laval Rocket and placed Jordan Harris on injured reserve.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) November 21, 2023
- The Habs also updated Rafael Harvey-Pinard’s health status. He’ll miss up to two months with his own lower-body injury.
L’attaquant Rafaël Harvey-Pinard ratera de six à huit semaines d’activités en raison d’une blessure au bas du corps.
Forward Rafaël Harvey-Pinard will be sidelined for six to eight weeks with a lower-body injury.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) November 21, 2023
- 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.
#Habs Martin St-Louis on putting Brendan Gallagher on the top line: "Gally will win battles, he'll do the dirty work – we haven't done that this year yet so we'll see what it looks like."
— Priyanta Emrith (@HabsInHighHeels) November 21, 2023
- It’s a questionable decision, but St-Louis is convinced Gallagher’s impressive work rate will work in the top line’s favour.
#Habs Martin St-Louis on putting Brendan Gallagher on the top line with 14 & 15: "you know where he's going to be, he's going to be hard on the forecheck, he's going to be in front of the net and I think that probably frees up Suzy and Newy to possess more in the o-zone"
— Priyanta Emrith (@HabsInHighHeels) November 21, 2023
- On the lighter side of things, Gallagher and Johnathan Kovacevic will have to work on their spatial awareness during practice.
Brendan Gallagher colliding awkwardly with Johnathan Kovacevic at practice today…
(Video: RDS) pic.twitter.com/dwHrSTlekz
— /r/Habs (@HabsOnReddit) November 21, 2023
- 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.
Lane Hutson registers his second assist of the night on this Ryan Greene goal.
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) November 23, 2023
- According to Arpon Basu, Juraj Slafkovsky is not interested in playing in the World Juniors this year.
“I don’t think [Juraj Slafkovsky] has any interest in going to the World Juniors for those of you wondering about it.” – Arpon Basu on The Athletic live Habs chat.
— /r/Habs (@HabsOnReddit) November 22, 2023
- 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.
Sean Monahan ne prendra pas part à l’entraînement d’aujourd’hui (journée de traitements).
Sean Monahan will not participate in today’s practice (therapy day).#GoHabsGo
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) November 23, 2023
- 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]
This sign at the teacher strike in Montreal is just perfect 😅 pic.twitter.com/xPHE7bjdDs
— /r/Habs (@HabsOnReddit) November 23, 2023
- 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.
Rush vs Cycle – scoring chances against pic.twitter.com/Hgp4o17aFC
— Meghan Chayka (@MeghanChayka) November 22, 2023
- Thankfully (or unfortunately if you’re on team tank) their goaltenders have done a good job masking the defensive issues.
Time for GOALIES.
Goals saved above expected
Rush vs Traffic pic.twitter.com/Cbsj62JXkW
— Meghan Chayka (@MeghanChayka) November 23, 2023
- 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]
All eyes are on Ken Holland right now and rightfully so. My sense is, outside their first round pick, all assets and options (29,97 aside) are in play to try and find a fix. Prospects, 2nd rounders, roster players, all of it on the table…/
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) November 23, 2023
- 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!
— HockeyStatCards (@hockeystatcards) November 24, 2023
- 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.
The Canadiens have recalled forward Joel Armia from the Laval Rocket. He will meet the team in Los Angeles Friday evening.
The Club has also placed defenseman Arber Xhekaj on IR retroactively to his last game.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) November 24, 2023
- 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.