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Canadiens Wrap

Habs Wrap: Kaiden Guhle’s Evolution, Juraj Slafkovsky, Kotkaniemi

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(Editor’s Note: I’d like to apologize for the lack of Montreal Canadiens content in the last two days. I was unfortunately stuck at the hospital for an emergency procedure.  Our coverage will resume immediately. Thank you for your patience.)

MONTREAL — There’s never a dull moment 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

  • ICYMI: The Canadiens made the right decision when they chose not to match the offer sheet to Jesperi Kotkaniemi, but they also proceeded to panic, which led to a gross overpayment for Christian Dvorak, to the tune of a 2022 first-round pick and a 2024 second-round pick. [Canadiens Lessons Learned From The Jesperi Kotkaniemi Saga]
  • Although he may not be the favourite of the public scouting community, many NHL scouts remain intrigued by how good a player Cole Esierman could become down the line, as he seeks to diversify his game at the college level. [2024 NHL Draft Targets: The Intrigue Of Cole Eiserman]
  • There comes a time when every young player in the NHL is at a crossroads. Will they become the player they are expected to be when drafted, or will they fail to meet expectations? Gearing up for his third full season in the NHL, Kaiden Guhle is at the aforementioned crossroads.[How Kaiden Guhle Can Take The Next Step In His Career]
  • Speaking of Guhle, the 22-year-old defenceman jumped into action to defend fellow Canadiens Dylan Cozens, but was perhaps a little too aggressive in his response.

  • Cole Caufield was kept off the board in Team USA’s crushing 10-1 win versus Kazakhstan, but Juraj Slafkovsky managed to generate an assist in Slovakia’s 3-2 shootout loss to Latvia.

Tuesday

  • With the Habs possessing a solid bank of draft picks, a glut of young defencemen and the necessary cap space to finally add to their roster, the expectation is that they’ll be looking to add scoring punch this summer. Take a look at some of the potential trade targets Kent Hughes may explore. [Potential Canadiens Trade Targets Beginning To Emerge]
  • According to McKeen’s, the Habs have one of the top prospect pools in the NHL.

  • Team Finland edged Denmark 3-2 at the 2024 World Hockey Championship. Unfortunately, Habs prospect Oliver Kapanen was kept off the board but is still tied for the tournament lead with six goals in six games. [IIHF Scoring Leaders]
  • Juraj Slafkovsky has earned six points in six games at the 2024 World Championship but is far from satisfied with his and Slovakia’s results.  [Juraj Slafkovsky Discusses Word Championship (Slovak)]
  • Slafkovsky will be back in action on Tuesday as Slovakia faces Sweden. Finland and Kapanen will play Switzerland. Cole Caufield and Team USA will play Latvia. Kaiden Guhle and Team Canada will play the hosts, Czechia. [2024 WC Schedule]
  • Four-time Stanley Cup Winner Yvon Lambert turned 74 on Monday.

Wednesday

  • Montreal Canadiens defenceman Arber Xhekaj is a unique player. But there’s more to his game than just big hits and heavyweight tilts. The 23-year-old has shown he can produce solid underlying numbers in the NHL at a time when most of his teammates have struggled to do so. Xhekaj’s contract expired this season, which means the Habs now have to decide what type of approach they take to contract negotiations. Most defencemen in his position are offered bridge contracts, but a long-term deal is worth considering.   [Canadiens Considerations In Arber Xhekaj Contract Negotiations]
  • Cole Caufield already had two assists before he scored his third goal at the 2024 World Championship.

  • Caufield followed it up with his second goal versus Latvia. Even though he finished the game with four points, he was not named the Player Of The Game for Team USA. POTG honours went to Matt Boldy (1G, 1A). Caufield and the Americans will face the tournament hosts, Czechia, on Thursday at 2:20 pm ET. Former Hab Tomas Plekanec is currently serving as Czechia’s assistant coach.

  • Juraj Slafkovsky has not scored a goal for Slovakia at the World Championship, but he has maintained a rather impressive point-per-game pace. He assisted on Slovakia’s only goal in a 6-1 loss to Sweden on Tuesday. Despite his consistent production, it seems the youngest player in the Canadiens lineup was frustrated with Slovakia’s relatively poor results. Slafkovsky will now face Kaiden Guhle and Team Canada on Thursday at 10:20 am ET.

  • There’s value to icing a defensive group that can play with high-end physicality and mobility, but teams shouldn’t be overly concerned with prioritizing size if we pay attention to the current NHL playoffs.

Thursday

  • Five different Montreal Canadiens prospects have rights that are set to expire this summer. General Manager Kent Hughes has to decide whether he wants to give them another opportunity to prove their worth or move on to greener pastures. [Five Canadiens Prospects Could Have Rights Expire This Summer]
  • It’s an important day at the 2024 World Hockey Championship, as several Habs players will be in action. The first quarterfinal game features Kaiden Guhle facing Juraj Slafkovsky, as Team Canada is set to face Team Slovakia at 10:20 am ET. Slafkovsky has maintained a point-per-game pace in the tournament, with seven assists in seven games, but will face his greatest challenge as he and the other Slovaks take on the heavily favoured Canadians.

 

  • Cole Caufield found his scoring rhythm by earning four points (2 G, 2 A) against Latvia. He’ll look to maintain his production as Team USA faces the host nation, Czechia, at 2:20 pm ET.

  • Prospect Oliver Kapanen has stopped scoring at will after earning six goals in the preliminary games, but his uptick in production is worth keeping in mind going forward. [Daily Faceoff]

 

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Peter

What injury did Guhle have that he did not play today?

Peter

He had an injury from blocking a shot, thank heavens it wasn’t a concussion.

Tyrone

Hope everything is OK now, Marc. Get well soon.

Tyrone

Oof. I’ve had ‘em since 1990. I know exactly what you’re talking about, my friend. Stay hydrated. That’s the trigger for mine. If I get dehydrated, I can pretty much expect one the next day.