The battles were not many at the camp of the Montreal Canadiens, but head coach Dominique Ducharme still has some decisions to make with general manager Marc Bergevin before submitting to the NHL their squad of 23 players which will begin the season.
The teams have until Monday, at 5 p.m., to formalize their training. The Canadian will shake up his season Wednesday in Toronto, against the Maple Leafs.
The Canadian cut forward Jesse Yl? Nen on Saturday, so that only 24 healthy players remained at the Habs camp on Saturday, including three goaltenders. Ducharme did not want to sell off, but Samuel Montembeault should stay with the big club, while Cayden Primeau will continue his apprenticeship with the Laval Rocket, in the American Hockey League.
“I’ll tell them the plan before confirming it,” Ducharme was content to say.
Montembeault was already speaking like someone who will start the season as an assistant to Jake Allen, pending the return of Carey Price.
“It’s exciting. I’m going to be able to be there for the opener in Montreal (October 16). But for me, that doesn’t change my approach. I have to keep working hard in training to be ready for when. I have the opportunity to play. I want to prove that I can deliver the goods, “said the 24-year-old Quebec goalkeeper.
The situation is a little less clear on the defense side. Kaiden Guhle is still at camp and being 19 years old, he is not eligible for discharge to the American Hockey League. The Canadiens can give him a nine-game try without burning the first year of his rookie contract before sending him back to the Prince Albert Raiders in the Western League (WHL).
“I’m a little surprised,” Guhle said when asked how it felt to be still with the Canadiens as the camp is in its last days. “I wanted to show up here and do my best to stay that long. as possible. I take it one day at a time. ”
For his part, Ducharme recalled that a young person sometimes had an advantage in playing a key role at the junior level than a support role in the NHL.
“Keeping a youngster to be seventh or eighth defenseman, whether he’s on his junior team and having a great time, whether he’s going to the World Junior Championship, whether he’s captain of his team , whatever, “Ducharme insisted.
Finland’s Sami Niku is also fighting for a defensive position. Hired by the Habs during the camp, Niku suffered a concussion during the first period of the only preparatory game in which he participated. Now recovered, Niku hopes he can still make a good impression on the coaches.
“Obviously I would have liked to play more games, more than a period, exclaimed Niku. I have to give my all in training and hope that I am noticed.”
There is also the case of Mattias Norlinder which remains complex. The 21-year-old defender has a deal to return to Frolunda FC if he doesn’t carve out a job with the Canadiens. The problem is that Norlinder has been on the sidelines for ten days already.
The return of some injured players will also force management to make other decisions. Ducharme said forward Cédric Paquette is expected to join his teammates in training on Monday. If he is ready to return to the game, another player will have to be removed.
Ducharme added that Mike Hoffman is expected to reunite with his teammates in training on Monday, October 18. And when it comes to defenseman Joel Edmundson, Ducharme spoke on October 25.
However, a lot can happen by then, but the latest answers regarding the portrait of the Canadiens to start the campaign should be known on Monday.
© 2021 The Canadian Press