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Canadiens Wrap

Habs Wrap: Don’t Underrate Xhekaj, Trade Deadline, Lottery Odds



Montreal Canadiens Arber Xhekaj

MONTREAL — There’s always Montreal Canadiens news to absorb, but it’s not always possible to stay up to date with every breaking story. On Sundays, 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 Habs loop.


  • ICYMI: Our columnist came up with a pair of trade proposals if the Montreal Canadiens should choose to trade talented defenceman Mike Matheson. Of course, the Habs don’t have to move Matheson. Local players are always welcome, and he plays a big part in the team’s offence, but a rebuilding team like the Canadiens can’t afford to ignore interesting offers.  [Canadiens Trade Proposals: Potentially Trading Mike Matheson]


  • The Canadiens lost 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night, but it was yet another strong performance when it came to their 5v5 play. The Habs have done a much better job controlling the play in recent games, despite the lack of wins. On Saturday, it was two young defencemen who led the charge: Arber Xhekaj and Jordan Harris. [Canadiens Harris & Xhekaj Star In Yet Another Strong Team Effort]


  • We all know the Canadiens need more offensive talent in their lineup. There are very few talented forwards in their prospect pipeline who project as players who can eventually make a significant impact in the NHL. On that note, given the makeup of the top players available at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, the Habs could end up drafting yet another defenceman, and that would be perfectly fine. [Opinion: Canadiens Can’t Ignore Top Defencemen At 2024 Draft]


  • Habs prospect Jacob Fowler secured the Hockey East regular-season title in style for Boston College. The freshman goaltender had a 27-save shutout versus New Hampshire, his NCAA-leading 26th win of the season.


  • Brendan Gallagher’s sister, Bree, is raising funds for brain cancer research. Their mother, Della, was unfortunately diagnosed with brain cancer a couple of years ago. (Fundraiser)


  • The NHL’s Trade Deadline was set for Friday, March 8, at 3 pm ET. There were several options for the Montreal Canadiens, especially when it came to their surplus of defencemen. But the Habs will have to be careful when it comes to some of their blueliners. On the flip side, they can’t afford to ignore offers when it comes to their veterans. [Exploring The Trade Deadline Options For the Montreal Canadiens]


  • There aren’t many games left in the Canadiens’ season. Here’s how things are lining up for the Canadiens, as well as their ‘competition’ in the race to the bottom of the standings. Thanks to a very difficult strength of schedule and some mediocre goaltending, there’s a strong possibility the Habs can improve their Draft Lottery odds. [Canadiens Tank Watch: Examining NHL Draft Lottery Competition]


  • This is going to SHOCK Habs fans, but David Reinbacher’s team, EHC Kloten, was shut out in the last game of the season. As a reminder, the situation regarding Reinbacher’s arrival in North America is a little more complicated than most. His arrival depends on teams playing in the Swiss League, not just the National League playout. [Important Dates For David Reinbacher’s Arrival]


  • Boston College made a nice montage showing some of Habs prospect Jacob Fowler’s saves during his shutout performance to secure the Hockey East title. You’ll note that Fowler is not involved in any desperation saves. That’s often the case. It’s really hard to find any ‘highlight-worthy’ plays involving Fowler because he’s almost always set. His anticipation is excellent, which leaves opponents with very few options.



  • Tuesday’s game between the Nashville Predators and your Montreal Canadiens was one of the most entertaining matchups of the season. David Savard scored a crazy goal from centre ice, Joshua Roy scored after a fantastic individual effort, and Nick Suzuki ended Nashville’s eight-game winning streak in overtime. [Canadiens End Nashville’s Winning Streak In Style]


  • There was a lot of waiver-wire-related activity on Tuesday, as teams prepared their rosters for Friday’s Trade Deadline. The action started with the Washington Capitals claiming Matthew Phillips off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Calgary Flames then proceeded to claim former Hab Joel Hanley from the Dallas Stars, whereas Los Angeles Kings goaltender Aaron Dell did manage to clear waivers.
  • There were also a handful of players added to waivers, including Max Comtois (Carolina Hurricanes), veteran Sam Gagner (Edmonton Oilers), and defenceman Guillaume Brisebois (Vancouver Canucks). Comtois recently signed a contract with the Hurricanes, whereas Brisebois is returning from an injury, making them unlikely targets for the Habs. Jake Lucchini, who spent parts of two seasons with the Laval Rocket, was also among those added to the waiver wire.


  • It’s become a recurring theme this season. Players and coaches around the league are recognizing Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki as one of the standout players in the NHL. This time around it was Selke-winner Ryan O’Reilly who heaped praise on Suzuki’s talented shoulders.




  • It’s beyond time to re-adjust our evaluation of Montreal Canadiens defenceman Arber Xhekaj. Forget the narrative, Xhekaj has been one of the team’s best defencemen this season, and his defensive numbers were leading all blueliners before he was re-assigned to the AHL. We need to put a lot more respect on Xhekaj’s name and forget about pre-draft pedigree. The numbers don’t lie. It’s also worth noting David Savard’s numbers have skyrocketed since he’s been paired with Xhekaj. [Canadiens: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Xhekaj]


  • The Canadiens announced they re-signed assistant general manager John Sedgewick to a contract extension. In addition to the contract, Sedgwick was officially named as the general manager of the team’s AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket. As an aside, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to Sedgwick on a few occasions, and there’s no denying he’s one of the most affable characters in the organization. You can never have enough good people on your side, which is why the Habs did not hesitate to keep Sedgwick in the fold.  [Canadiens Ink John Sedgwick To Extension, Named Rocket GM]
  • There were several trades in the NHL yesterday, as teams attempted to get an early start ahead of Friday’s Trade Deadline. The Canadiens did not make any moves, though both David Savard and Jake Allen continue to be listed among the NHL’s likeliest players to be moved. [Daily Faceoff Trade Bait Board]



  • Before we get to the NHL Trade Deadline content, it should be noted that Montreal Canadiens forward Joshua Roy certainly belongs in the NHL. He’s not just surviving, he’s leading the charge offensively and producing fantastic underlying numbers in the process. He was far and away the best player in the lineup against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night. [Montreal Canadiens Forward Joshua Roy Belongs In The NHL]



  • The Habs made a trade on Thursday, sending struggling prospect Jan Mysak to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Jacob Perreault. Both players failed to meet expectations, but there’s no doubt Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes acquired the best player in the trade. [Canadiens Add Interesting Project Via Trade With Ducks]
  • In most years it’s easy to establish whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market at the deadline, but this season it’s a little different. The price tags are shifting wildly, coming down to a case-by-case evaluation.  [Canadiens Head To NHL Trade Deadline Amid Shifting Market]


  • Top prospect Lane Hutson registered his 40th and 41st points of the season on Thursday night when his Boston University Terriers faced the Providence Friars. It was Hutson’s 11th multi-point effort of the campaign.

  • Take a look at some high-quality footage of Le Gros Bill in action way back in the 1950s.




  • The Canadiens did manage to move Allen as time was running out on the 3 pm deadline. The New Jersey Devils, a team that has needed a goaltender all season, finally pulled the trigger on a deal. The Habs used their third retention spot by retaining 50 percent of Allen’s contract and received a conditional third-round pick in exchange. [Evaluating Value Of Canadiens’ Jake Allen Trade, Future Impact]


  • With Allen heading to New Jersey, only six players are left from the Habs’ run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2020-21.

  • The Allen deal also means the Craig Rivet trade tree has grown. Seeing as Nick Suzuki is involved, the tree may reach Hyperion levels.