MONTREAL — There’s always something going on when it comes to the Montreal Canadiens, but it’s not always possible to stay up to date with every breaking story. Therefore, every Sunday we 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.
- ICYMI: The Montreal Canadiens are yet to find a trade partner for one of their goaltenders, despite several teams needing goaltending reinforcements. Veteran Jake Allen may not seem like the most exciting option, but a closer look at his statistics reveals his play this season isn’t far removed from the results the team has enjoyed from Samuel Montembeault. [Evaluating Jake Allen’s Potential Trade Deadline Value]
- The Habs made a pair of decisions on Sunday. They recalled centre Lucas Condotta from the Laval Rocket, which was to be expected, but they also signed Laval’s leading scorer, Brandon Gignac, to a two-year, two-way contract. [Canadiens Impact Of Signing Forward Brandon Gignac]
- There was some good news at practice on Sunday. Forward (and centre) Alex Newhook participated in practice for the first time since injuring his foot. In addition to Condotta’s recall and Gignac’s contract, Newhook’s return should mitigate many of the issues with the lack of centre depth in the lineup now that Monahan has been traded to Winnipeg.
Newy est de retour à l'entraînement avec tout le groupe!
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) February 4, 2024
- Juraj Slafkovsky had enjoyed a lot of success playing alongside Monahan. He’ll clearly miss playing alongside the versatile centre.
“He's a great guy, great person, it was great to have him around. We'll miss him a lot but we just gotta keep playing. I was a little sad. I just told him good luck there, obviously I'm going to miss him. Sad day but we keep going." – Juraj Slafkovsky on his friend Sean Monahan pic.twitter.com/1MQcIGxeik
— /r/Habs (@HabsOnReddit) February 4, 2024
- The Montreal Canadiens hit the ice for their first practice without forward Sean Monahan, who was traded to the Winnipeg Jets. As expected, the lineup was far from ideal, with Jake Evans serving as the second-line centre between Tanner Pearson and Jesse Ylonen. Newcomer Brandon Gignac anchored the third line with Lucas Condotta and Josh Anderson. Michael Pezzetta was practicing as the fourth-line centre, however, there’s a chance head coach Martin St-Louis runs with just 11 forwards and seven defencemen versus the Washington Capitals. On the bright side, the first line looked familiar, as Juraj Slafkovsky was reunited with Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki.
Cole Caufield – Nick Suzuki – Juraj Slafkovsky
Tanner Pearson – Jake Evans – Jesse Ylonen
Lucas Condotta – Brandon Gignac – Josh Anderson
Rafael Harvey-Pinard – Michael Pezzetta – Joel Armia
- Monahan’s absence should lead to opportunities for players who have had a hard time finding their rhythm this season. There are plenty of candidates in the lineup hoping to turn things around down the final stretch of the schedule. [Top-3 Canadiens With Something To Prove Down The Stretch]
- Goaltender Samuel Montembeault was named the team’s recipient of the Molson Cup in January. Montembeault maintained a .909 save percentage throughout seven starts for the Habs.
Samuel Montembeault is the Molson Cup recipient for January
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) February 5, 2024
- One of the unfortunate realities of being a rebuilding team involves losing players as the NHL’s Trade Deadline approaches. Understandably, Canadiens forward Cole Caufield is a little uneasy with the process.
Cole Caufield is in his Tortured Poets Department era.
— /r/Habs (@HabsOnReddit) February 5, 2024
- The Montreal Canadiens may have traded away their most coveted trade chip when they moved Sean Monahan, but it doesn’t appear like Kent Hughes is done. There are plenty of options for the Habs prior to the NHL Trade Deadline, including the possibility of moving another veteran. [What’s Next For Canadiens Heading Into The NHL Trade Deadline]
- Head coach Martin St-Louis decided to re-insert Arber Xhekaj into the lineup versus the Washington Capitals. Defenceman Jordan Harris made his way to the pressbox to accommodate the roster change. [Canadiens Game 50: New Lines, Xhekaj Returns To Lineup]
- The Canadiens marched on Washington and burned the Capitals thanks to a pair of goals from both Nick Suzuki and Juraj Slafkovsky. Slafkovsky, in particular, played with a lot of confidence, with both his goals coming off clean shots rather than rebounds. Sniper Cole Caufield also extended his point streak to a career-high 10 games. All things considered, it was a very encouraging win despite the Capitals’ lack of talent in the lineup. [Canadiens: Suzuki And Slafkovsky Quick Attack Burns Washington]
- There’s a disconnect when evaluating Juraj Slafkovsky. Charts used by some suggest he’s struggled, but as Montreal Canadiens fans know, context is everything. Here’s a deep dive into Slafkovsky’s encouraging development, keeping the important change in his usage in mind. [Canadiens Analysis: Slafkovsky Development Since Usage Change]
- Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki was clearly happy to be reunited with the youngest player in the lineup. Both Slafkovsky and Suzuki scored a pair of goals against the Washington Capitals.
#Habs Nick Suzuki on having Slafkovský back on his line with Cole Caufield: "we love playing together, we have a lot of fun out there on the ice together – just about getting those reps. We haven't played together for two and a half weeks so just getting back more comfortable…"
— Priyanta Emrith (@HabsInHighHeels) February 7, 2024
- As for Slafkovsky, his confidence is evidently improving with every shift he takes. It’s a good reminder that he’s still the youngest player in the lineup, and he’s learning on the job, which is incredibly difficult.
"It happened to go in finally, it's nice to see. I'm getting a little confidence. I’ll just keep shooting I guess.” – Juraj Slafkovsky yesterday after his two goal game. pic.twitter.com/gz0ToyThiZ
— /r/Habs (@HabsOnReddit) February 7, 2024
- According to Pierre LeBrun, the Habs do not want to trade David Savard. They value his locker-room presence as well as other things covered by his veteran status. Incidentally, that’s almost exactly what Kent Hughes said about Joel Edmundson, whom he traded a few months later. He also said something similar before trading Artturi Lehkonen. And then there was the time Marc Bergevin said he wasn’t looking to trade P.K. Subban. And the time… [What’s Next For Canadiens Heading Into The NHL Trade Deadline]
LeBrun on Insider Trading: “I don’t believe the Montreal Canadiens want to trade David Savard, I think they value him for all kinds of reasons within the organization… If someone sends them an offer that really makes them think, then yea, he could be dealt…”
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) February 6, 2024
- The Montreal Canadiens started their trade period off early this year by moving Monahan, but securing a 1st-rounder is not the only benefit to their early move. With the 2024 NHL Draft shaping up to be one filled with stellar talent and depth throughout the top 12, the Montreal Canadiens firmly securing their place within that range is imperative to advance their rebuild. [Timing of Monahan Trade To Impact Canadiens’ Draft Lottery Odds]
- The chemistry between Habs forwards Cole Caufield and Juraj Slafkovsky continues to grow, both on and off the ice.
Les mots "ami", "petit frère" et "j'ai un meilleur tir que lui" ont été utilisés.
Pas de doute: Slafkovsky et Caufield ont une relation solide comme le roc. C'est évident.
Slafkovsky est d'ailleurs convaincu que cette belle relation l'aide énormément sur la glace.
— Anthony Martineau (@Antho_Martineau) February 8, 2024
- Slafkovsky has scored three goals in his last two games, indicating the hard work he’s put into working on his shot is starting to pay off. As the adage goes, practice makes perfect.
25 min ahead of practice, and here’s Juraj Slafkovsky working with Dr. Shot again. Kaiden Guhle also taking reps. pic.twitter.com/e8Bv95oSg8
— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) February 8, 2024
- Speaking of shots, Caufield is scoring much less often with his one-timer this season.
One timers 📉 pic.twitter.com/dj5haZzKqf
— Meghan Chayka (@MeghanChayka) February 8, 2024
- Montreal Canadiens fans are used to seeing names like Jake Allen, Tanner Pearson, and David Savard on trade bait boards, but Jordan Harris is rarely included, until now. The 23-year-old defenceman made Sportsnet’s trade candidate list, with a suggestion that fans should keep an eye on the Calgary Flames. [30 NHL Trade Candidates]
- Juraj Slafkovsky’s nice goal versus the Washington Capitals is getting attention throughout the league.
— NHL (@NHL) February 9, 2024
- The Habs reassigned forward Lucas Condotta to the AHL. He will join the Laval Rocket and is expected to be in uniform on Saturday.
- Alex Newhook returned to the lineup against the Dallas Stars. Unfortunately, winger Rafael Harvey-Pinard had to leave the game due to yet another lower-body injury. It looked like a very serious injury and may lead to the forward missing significant time. Consequently, the Canadiens recalled Joshua Roy from the Rocket just moments before he was set to face the Toronto Marlies.