Connect with us

Canadiens Wrap

Canadiens Wrap: Draft Lottery Odds, Slafkovsky, Hutson Arrives

Published

on

Montreal Canadiens NHL Draft (STOP USING THIS ALL THE TIME!)

MONTREAL — There’s always something happening when it comes to Montreal Canadiens hockey, 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 Canadiens loop.

Monday

  • With the season winding down it’s almost time to turn our attention to the prize at the end of the rebuilding rainbow. The Montreal Canadiens will have several interesting options at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, including Berkly Catton, Zayne Parekh, and Tij Iginla.[Canadiens 2024 NHL Draft Targets Starting To Emerge]

 

  • Speaking of Iginla, the 2024 top prospect is enjoying an impressive amount of success in the WHL playoffs. The 17-year-old scored eight goals and three assists in just six games against the Wenatchee Wild.

 

  • Head coach Martin St-Louis received some unfortunate news as the team prepared to face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. Both Kaiden Guhle and Arber Xhekaj were unavailable due to upper-body injuries, leaving St-Louis without two of his best defencemen. [Canadiens Game 76: Blueline Injuries Lead To Emergency Recall]

 

Tuesday

  • There are only a handful of games left in the regular season, which places a higher level of importance on every result. It also means it’s time for another edition of the Montreal Canadiens Tank Watch. Overall, the Habs are in a good position down the stretch, but there are several factors at play. [Canadiens Tank Watch: Draft Lottery Odds Becoming Clearer]

 

  • It’s been a very interesting season for prospect Florian Xhekaj. He went from a post-draft afterthought to one of the most productive prospects in the entire system. What’s more, it wasn’t a matter of luck or happenstance. Xhekaj tripled his production while also improving the quality involved in the execution of his plays. Seeing as his Junior team was just eliminated from the OHL playoffs, there’s a possibility that Xhekaj could end up playing a few games for the Laval Rocket while also maintaining his amateur status to ensure he’s still eligible to play in the CHL.   [Habs Contract Options For Prospect Florian Xhekaj]

 

  • One thing we often take for granted is being able to spend time with our families. That’s simply not a reality for many hockey players, which means the time they do get to spend together is special.

 

  • Speaking of prospects, Vinzenz Rohrer has had a very interesting season in the NL (Switzerland). He quickly established himself as a third-line player who could drive a reasonable amount of offence while creating chaos in the offensive zone. Keep in mind that Rohrer is only 19 years old, playing in a professional hockey league at that age is never easy. His team, the Zurich Lions, is now set to play in the finals. They’ll likely face Lausanne, seeing as they currently have a 3-1 series lead over Fribourg in the other NL semifinal.

 

Wednesday

  • The Montreal Canadiens announced they have signed prospect Florian Xhekaj to an entry-level contract which kicks in next season. Xhekaj then signed a professional tryout with the team’s AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket. This means he’s eligible to play for the Rocket if they manage to qualify for the playoffs. [Florian Xhekaj Defied The Odds To Earn His Entry-Level Contract]

 

  • So much of this season watching the Montreal Canadiens has been focusing on the top trio of Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, and Juraj Slafkovsky, or the veterans that are likely to be traded for futures as the Habs continue to rebuild. Any leftover attention has been soaked up by the young defence core, or the emergence of Joshua Roy, and because of that, the spotlight hasn’t been on Alex Newhook as much as it should be. [How High Can Alex Newhook Fly with the Montreal Canadiens]

 

  • Slafkovsky stole the spotlight versus the Philadelphia Flyers thanks to an impressive outing that featured his first three-goal game. The hat trick put the league on notice that the best is yet to come for the youngest player in the lineup. [GOTTA SEE IT: Canadiens Slafkovsky Scores First Hat Trick]

 

 

  • It wasn’t all good news on Tuesday, as the Habs announced Arber Xhekaj would be shut down for the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury that requires surgical intervention. [Canadiens]

Thursday

  • While fans expected the Montreal Canadiens to miss the playoffs, there were still certain expectations when it came to individual growth throughout the lineup. Young players such as Juraj Slafkovsky and Cayden Primeau met the challenge head-on.  [Top 3 Most Improved Montreal Canadiens This Season]

 

  • Of course, not every player defied expectations. There are only a handful of games left in the season, which means time is running out for several players who have had underwhelming seasons. It’s too late to salvage their season, but finishing the season on the right foot is the first step toward redemption. [Top 3 Canadiens Players With Something To Prove In Final Games]

 

 

  • The second round of the OHL playoffs gets underway tonight. Filip Mesar and the Kitchener Rangers will face the London Knights, while Owen Beck and the Saginaw Spirit will host the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Both players enjoyed a great first round, with Beck scoring seven points in the Spirit’s four-game sweep of the Owen Sound Attack, and Mesar reaching 10 points in six games against the Erie Otters.  [CHL Schedule]

Friday

 

  • It was a good news/bad news situation for Hutson, as his Boston University Terriers lost 2-1 to fellow prospect Sam Harris and the Denver Pioneers. On the bright side, it means Hutson is now available to sign an entry-level contract with the Canadiens.  [Top Canadiens Prospect Lane Hutson Can Now Sign Contract]

 

  • Hutson was asked about the contract following the heartbreaking loss, but given he had just lost one of the most important games of his career he was not in a hurry to discuss the situation.

 

  • Prospect Luke Tuch scored the lone goal for Boston University, a great shorthanded effort. He’s also free to sign a contract with the Canadiens, though it remains to be seen whether he’ll sign with the Laval Rocket or the Habs. There’s no doubt his physical brand of hockey would be a great fit with the Rocket.

 

  • While the Terriers failed to advance to the National Championship, the Boston College Eagles cruised to a 4-0 win over Michigan. The one-sided win was due in large part to Canadiens prospect Jacob Fowler’s stoic performance. Michigan outshot Boston College 32-22, but they weren’t able to beat Fowler, who is well on his way to establishing a reputation as a big-game player. Fowler was the Clark Cup MVP last season in the USHL.

 

  • There was also hockey being played in some league called the NHL, as the Habs took on the surging New York Islanders. Cole Caufield managed to score his 25th goal of the season, but the Islanders pushed their winning streak to six games with a 3-2 overtime win. [Canadiens Improve Draft Lottery Odds In Loss To Islanders]

Saturday

  • It’s official, top prospect Lane Hutson has signed his entry-level contract with the Montreal Canadiens. Hutson was recently eliminated from the Frozen Four when the Boston University Terriers lost 2-1 to the Denver Pioneers. His contract kicks in this season, serving as a reward for signing an early deal with the team that drafted him.  [Top Canadiens Prospect Lane Hutson Signs Entry-Level Contract]

 

  • Hutson is expected to join the team in Detroit, ensuring his NHL debut will take place against the Red Wings, as they will face the Canadiens in back-to-back games to close out the 2023-24 season. Head coach Martin St-Louis is likely to ease Hutson into the lineup, as the 20-year-old has had a very busy year. Once Hutson is comfortable, he will have the potential to be a game-changing player for the Habs. Juraj Slafkovksy, in particular, could benefit greatly from Hutson’s presence on the powerplay.  [Canadiens Prospect Hutson’s Impact On The Team And Slafkovsky]

 

  • With just three games left on the docket, the team’s Draft Lottery odds are yet to be settled. Saturday’s game between the Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators will go a long way in deciding where both teams will end up drafting at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft.  [Canadiens Tank Watch: Lottery Odds Decided In Final Games]

 

  • Both Hutson and fellow Canadiens prospect Jacob Fowler were named to the NCAA All-American All-Star team.

  • The Michigan native will wear No.48, at least for now.

 

  • The NHL is preparing to confirm Montreal will be one of the two host cities for the upcoming 4 Nations Faceoff tournament.