ROCKET SPORTS MEDIA | LAVAL, QC. — The Canadiens split a home-and-home series against the Senators over the weekend. On Friday, the Habs were down 2-1 after 20 minutes, before allowing four goals in the second period that led to the Senators winning 7-2 in Ottawa.
“In general, it was an average game. There’s no one that really stood out,” Dominique Ducharme said after the contest. “In the third period, we had some good chances on the power play. For our group, I don’t think there was a single guy going out there with their head down. We were looking into making a play, and try to improve on what we’ve done the past couple of games,” added Chris Wideman.
On Saturday, Nick Suzuki scored the eventual game-winning goal 21 seconds into the third period, to give Montreal 2-1 win at the Bell Centre. “Everyone that was in uniform, I liked our engagement, the way we played, and we played our style,” Ducharme said.
— Chris G (@ChrisHabs360) October 3, 2021
Evans Contract Extension
On Sunday, the Canadiens signed Jake Evans to a three-year contract that will pay him $1.7-million annually. In 2020-21, Evans scored three goals and added 10 assists in 47 games. During the playoffs, he collected two points in seven matches.
The 25-year old was drafted in the seventh round, 207th overall at the 2014 draft. He played four seasons with Notre Dame in the NCAA before signing an entry level contract in 2018. The forward dressed for 118 games with the Rocket, and collected 27 goals and 56 assists before he obtained a regular roster spot with the Habs.
At training camp, he’s played on a line with Rafael Harvey-Pinard and Joel Armia on the wings. Once the regular season begins, Evans is expected to have a bottom-six role and a key role on the penalty-kill unit.
“I see him work every day, and he’s a fun guy to watch. You can see that he’s gained a lot of experience during the last year. On the ice, he brings a lot offensively and defensively,” Harvey-Pinard said on Friday.
Goalie Added to the Mix
On Saturday, the Canadiens acquired goaltender Samuel Montembeault via waivers from the Florida Panthers. The goalie is currently signed to a one-year two-way contract that pays him $750,000 in the NHL, $250,000 in the NHL, with a minimum guaranteed salary of $350,000.
“I’m really happy, I really wasn’t expecting it,” Montembeault told La Presse on Saturday. “It was 2:00pm, and I thought that no one claimed me on waivers, and then I received a call from Marc Bergevin. I’m really happy, I’m returning home to play with the team I followed when growing up.”
The Becancour, Quebec native was drafted by the Panthers in the third round of the 2015 draft. Last season, he started 13 matches with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, earning 8-4-1 record, 2.86 goals against average, and .898 save percentage.
With Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight ahead of him in Florida’s depth chart, Montembeault requested a trade over the summer, which never materialized.
It’s not clear how Montembeault’s addition will impact the Canadiens goaltending depth. Carey Price is expected to hit the ice on Monday, and join his teammates for practice later in the week. It’s unlikely that he will be ready for the regular season opener on October 13th.
If that’s the case, the organization’s plan appears to be that Montembeault will be the backup behind Jake Allen, and that Cayden Primeau will be the number one goalie in Laval.
“I don’t make those decisions, but obviously I want to be with the best of the best, but at the end of the day, you just got to work every day, try to get better every day,” Primeau answered when asked if he felt ready for the NHL.
Brendan Gallagher’s Role
Brendan Gallagher had a successful pre-season debut on Saturday against the Senators. In 14:56 of ice time, the forward capitalized on a turnover to score, took three shots on goal, and blocked one shot.
— Chris G (@ChrisHabs360) October 3, 2021
“He’s the ultimate example of a team player,” coach said on Saturday. “He always plays the same way regardless of who he plays with. The goals he scores are usually from plays near the net. I don’t think his production will be impacted no matter who he plays with.”
Gallagher played to the right of Tyler Toffoli and Suzuki, replacing the injured Cole Caufield. The assumption has been that Caufield will return to that line once he’s ready, but Gallagher can be a good match for Toffoli and Suzuki to go into the corners to retrieve the puck.
“He might be a guy that ends up switching lines often. He can challenge the others and keep them honest. You’re forced to work every night because you know if you don’t, I can move you off your line and replace you with Gallagher,” Ducharme added.
“Wherever the coaches slot me that night, I’m going to be a good player. I know it’s a very cliche answer, the way I play the game, it can translate anywhere. Regardless of where I’m playing, I have the same expectations for myself every night,” the forward said.
Drouin Awarded Jean Beliveau Trophy
On Saturday, the Canadiens announced the selection of forward Jonathan Drouin as the recipient of the Jean Béliveau Trophy for the 2020-21 season. The trophy is awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities in the community, and a $25,000 donation is made to a charity of the player’s choice.
“It’s a really big honour, Mr. Beliveau was a class act -in his career with the Canadiens, the way he acted off the ice- having a chance to win an award like that it’s an honour, helping people with needs is something that I take to heart. It’s disadvantaged kids that don’t have a chance to come to games get to spend evenings in my suite. It makes my heart warm to do that, and makes my heart warm to win an award like that,” Drouin said.
Drouin’s parents both worked in a juvenile centre where he spent time playing with children that had needs. The Canadiens forward also credited his former Lightning teammate Ryan Callahan as a role model for his involvement in the community.
Training Camp Cuts
The Canadiens reduced their training camp roster by 29 players since Friday. Brandon Baddock, Laurent Dauphin, Jean-Sebastien Dea, and Michael McNiven were placed on waivers on Sunday. Teams have until 2:00pm Eastern time on Monday to place a claim for those players. Lukas Vejdemo cleared waivers on Saturday and was assigned to Laval.
Jan Mysak was cut after Friday’s match, and will report to the Hamilton Bulldogs in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). The 19-year old was eligible to play in the AHL this season, however the organization elected that the forward spend another season in the OHL.
The Canadiens training camp is down to one group for the final stretch before the regular season. Ducharme’s plan is to increase the intensity, and tweak the changes that were put in place during camp.
Montreal faces Toronto on the road on Tuesday, before Ottawa visits the Bell Centre on Thursday to round out the pre-season schedule.
Rocket Camp Opens
The Rocket’s training camp began on Sunday with 29 players reporting for team meetings, physicals and fitness testing, as well as equipment fitting. The first on-ice session is scheduled for Monday morning at Place Bell on Monday.
The list of 29 players reporting to the first day of training camp includes three goaltenders, 10 defensemen and 16 forwards. Seven players have been invited to camp on tryout basis. Josh Brook and Joel Teasdale will remain on the Canadiens roster, however will continue their recovery period with the Rocket.
The Rocket will play two exhibition games against the Senators on Friday, and the Marlies on Saturday. Both matches will be played at CAA Arena in Belleville.
Lions Unveil Jerseys
The Trois-Rivieres Lions unveiled their team jerseys on Friday. The team logo, the fleur de lys Lion, is featured front and center on the jersey and reinforces the team’s identity and spirit.
“The jersey design is emblematic of the Lions’ strength and determination and we hope to see it as a staple piece around the city and province,” notes Mark Weightman, Lions President and CEO.
Three vertical stripes are featured along the sides of the jersey sleeves and torso as a nod to the city of Trois-Rivières. Red highlights are featured as a reference to the Lions being a part of the Montreal Canadiens development system.
The team will wear blue jerseys at home and switch to white jerseys halfway through the season after the ECHL All-Star Break.
Trois-Rivieres training camp begins on Thursday, and the franchise opens their season on October 21st against the Newfoundland Growlers.
Canadiens Connection podcast
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