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Habs Wrap: Trade Deadline, Rejected Xhekaj Offer, Reinbacher

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Montreal Canadiens scouts Hughes

MONTREAL — There is rarely a dull moment when it comes to all things Montreal Canadiens, but there aren’t always enough hours in the week to keep up with all the highlights and news.

On Sundays, we will recap the most exciting and relevant NHL news stories that you may have missed throughout the week so that you can stay in the loop.

Monday

  • Montreal Canadiens prospect Owen Beck continues his excellent play with his new OHL team, the Saginaw Spirit. He has 12 points in six games since joining the Memorial Cup hosts, including a two-point game against the Kingston Frontenacs on Sunday.

 

  • The Laval Rocket and Belleville Senators do not like each other. There are always fireworks when the two teams get together, including a one-sided fight by defenceman Arbrer Xhekaj this weekend.   [GOTTA SEE IT: Arber Xhekaj’s Lively Fight In The AHL]
  • The Montreal PWHL chapter lost to Toronto on Saturday, but not before Marie-Philip Poulin carved through an entire team to tie the game with less than 20 seconds to go.

 

 

Tuesday

  • The Montreal Canadiens are in for a bumpy ride to finish off the season, which could help them secure a top-10 pick or better by the end of the season. According to the latest data from Tankathon, the Montreal Canadiens have the 4th most difficult remaining schedule in the NHL, with some stronger clubs, a high number of back-to-backs and another western road trip sprinkled within the final 36 games of the season. [Canadiens Lottery Odds to Receive Boost From Difficult Schedule]
  • According to Elliotte Friedman, the Habs have received trade calls regarding defenceman Arber Xhekaj. As of now, the Canadiens have indicated they’re not interested in trading their rough-and-tumble blueliner. [Canadiens Reportedly Receiving Calls On Potential Xhekaj Trade]
  • Coincidentally, the Habs proceeded to recall Xhekaj from the AHL’s Laval Rocket on Monday. He should be in uniform on Tuesday when the Canadiens face the Ottawa Senators.

  • With the NHL’s trade deadline quickly approaching it’s time to take a look at the pros and cons of any potential Sean Monahan trade. He certainly brings value to the Canadiens, but for that very same reason, he should carry a lot of value on the NHL’s trade market. [Pros And Cons Of Potential Sean Monahan Trade]
  • Speaking of Monahan’s trade value, Frank Seravalli suggested the Canadiens could end up with another first-round pick if they’re to move the versatile centre. In addition to mentioning the potential return, Seravalli listed several teams that could be interested in Monahan’s services. It’s all speculation at this point, and many of the teams he listed have already been named as potential suitors by other members of the media, including the Edmonton Oilers, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Colorado Avalanche. But regardless of the details, it does seem like the interest for Monahan is growing. [Daily Faceoff]
  • It’s a little too early to suggest Joshua Roy has already cemented a permanent job in the NHL, but if he keeps up his excellent play the Canadiens will have no choice but to make room for him in their lineup. [Joshua Roy Staking Claim For Permanent Roster Spot]
  • There’s been concern over Lane Hutson potentially going the route of Cutter Gauthier or Adam Fox once his time in the NCAA is over. Given Kent Hughes’ NCAA connections and Hutson’s recent comments, very little points to him requesting a trade. [Radio Canada (FR)]

 

Wednesday

  • More than 20 scouts were in attendance to watch the Montreal Canadiens face the Ottawa Senators. As a reminder, the NHL’s trade deadline is quickly approaching, which means we might see a few deals materialize before March 8.

  • Defenceman Arber Xhekaj returned to the lineup, playing his first game in the NHL since mid-November. In addition to Xhekaj, Jonathan Kovacevic and Tanner Pearson also faced the Sens, with defenceman Jordan Harris watching the game from the press box. [Canadiens Game 47: Arber Xhekaj Is Back, Lineup Changes]
  • The Canadiens had an opportunity to avenge their embarrassing loss to the Senators last week, but they failed to show up once again. The one-sided loss to Ottawa should serve as a wake-up call for the Canadiens. The rebuild is far from over.  [Another Lifeless Loss To Senators A Wake-Up Call For Canadiens]
  • It has not been an easy season for the Canadiens, but there is a silver lining. Captain Nick Suzuki continues to drive the offence, but he’s also putting up some of the best defensive numbers in the NHL, which could end up leading to some Selke votes at the NHL’s award ceremony. [Canadiens Nick Suzuki Improved Crucial Aspects Of His Play]

 

Thursday

  • The Montreal Canadiens decided to send top forward prospect Joshua Roy to the AHL so he can join the Laval Rocket. Roy played quite well during his first NHL audition, but since the Canadiens have too many wingers and not enough centres in the lineup, Roy is better off playing meaningful minutes in the AHL. [Canadiens Reassign Top Forward Prospect To The AHL]
  • Speaking of the dearth of centres, the Calgary Flames added centre Adam Ruzicka to the waiver wire yesterday. The 6’4″ forward still has untapped potential, though it’s only fair to say he’s having a difficult season from a production standpoint. He does fit the bill when it comes to the players general manager Kent Hughes likes to acquire. [Habs Could Nab Centre Reinforcements On NHL Waivers]
  • Head coach Martin St-Louis decided to change things up at practice on Wednesday. Considering how poorly the team has played in the last three games, there’s certainly logic to trying to find new combinations. That being said, adding Josh Anderson to the top line is an experiment that has produced enough evidence to suggest it will not work this time around.  [New Forward Lines, Anderson Promoted To Top Line]
  • The Montreal Canadiens have some big decisions ahead of the March 8 NHL Trade Deadline looming. It’s no secret that the Canadiens are headed toward being sellers by the trade deadline. [The Canadiens’ Trade Deadline Options Amid Thin Rental Market]
  • Nothing has gone according to plan for Habs prospect David Reinbacher this season. EHC Kloten is a mess, leaving Reinbacher in a situation that’s far from conducive to developing properly. After firing their coaching staff earlier in the season, Kloten is preparing to fire their head coach once again. [Prospect David Reinbacher Dealing With Unfortunate Situation]
  • This is purely speculation, but Arber Xhekaj’s name continues to pop up in trade talk.  An analyst in Vancouver randomly brought up Xhekaj in a recent radio hit. It’s worth keeping in mind that from all accounts, the Canadiens are not interested in trading their 22-year-old defenceman.  [Canadiens Reportedly Receiving Calls On Potential Xhekaj Trade]

 

Friday

  • All eyes were on longtime Canadiens goaltender Patrick Roy as he returned to Montreal as the head coach of the New York Islanders. Given the poor results in recent games, Habs head coach Martin St-Louis changed his lineup ahead of Thursday’s game.  [Canadiens Game 48: Patrick Roy Returns To Montreal, New Lines]
  • Roy was welcomed with a heartwarming ovation from the fans in attendance at the Bell Centre. The Hockey Hall of Fame inductee was visibly emotional during the ovation. [GOTTA SEE IT: Canadiens Fans Give Patrick Roy Ovation]
  • The Canadiens got off to a great start against the Islanders, but a late and dirty hit by Brendan Gallagher almost spoiled the fun with an ugly elbow to Adam Pelech’s head. Expect Gallagher to receive a call from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety in the near future. Sean Monahan and Samuel Montembeault managed to salvage the win, which should only add to Monahan’s NHL Trade Deadline value.[Monahan Saves Gallagher’s Bacon In Exciting Win]
  • It’s never too early to take a look at some of the potential Montreal Canadiens draft targets. The CHL’s Top Prospects game offered a perfect opportunity to examine some of the NHL’s stars of tomorrow.  [Canadiens Draft Targets: Standouts At CHL Top Prospects Game]

Saturday

  • The Department of Player Safety announced Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher’s hearing would take place on the phone rather than an in-person meeting, which meant the maximum number of games the suspension would carry was five, a rather inconsequential suspension length given the egregious nature of the hit. With Gallagher out of the lineup, players like Tanner Pearson and Jesse Ylonen may see an uptick in ice time. [Canadiens Brendan Gallagher Suspension Will Have Roster Consequences]
  • Gallagher’s violent hit on New York Islanders defenceman Adam Pelech ended up costing him five games. Gallagher will be eligible to return to the lineup on February 15. [Five-Game Suspension For Gallagher Announced By DoPS]
  • The Habs have an abundance of good, young players in their organization, but there’s a clear lack of elite talent in the prospect pipeline. Attempting to exchange quantity for quality at the NHL Trade Deadline is in order for Kent Hughes.[Canadiens Youngsters That Could Be Leveraged On Trade Market]
  • Points have been difficult to come by for Canadiens prospect David Reinbacher this season, but he enjoyed a solid game on Friday, collecting two assists and pushing his season totals to 10 points in 24 games.

  • Two of the top prospects in the organization were in action on Friday, as Lane Hutson’s Boston University faced Jacob Fowler’s Boston College. The Terriers and the Eagles are two of the top-ranked teams in the country, but it was Fowler’s night, as he made 26 saves on 27 shots to shut down Boston University and secure a 4-1 win.

 

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