Montembeault to Start vs Leafs | HABS HEADLINES

Samuel Montembeault (screenshot)

ROCKET SPORTS MEDIA | MONTREAL, QC. — This is your one-stop destination every week day for your Canadiens news capsule. Here are your Habs Headlines!

Montembeault Arrives

Newly acquired goaltender Samuel Montembeault joined the Canadiens for practice on Monday morning. Montembeault was claimed off waivers on Saturday.

“He’s a young goalie that we’ve always liked. We like the potential. He’s only 24. With the situation in net right now, we might as well. I don’t think it’s a risk,” said Dominique  Ducharme. “It’s a nice situation for him and for us because we can take a good look.”

“I was happy when I heard the news, I wasn’t expecting it,” said Montembeault.

The 24-year-old goaltender will start against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night in Toronto at Scotiabank Arena.

A Player Off the Injury List

Canadiens forward Cole Caufield returned to practice on Monday after missing a week with a shoulder injury. Caufield caught an edge and fell awkwardly during warmup prior to the annual Red-White intra-squad scrimmage on September 26th.

Carey Price did not return to the ice on Monday as scheduled as he is suffering from a non-COVID illness. Dominique Ducharme said, “If he misses the first game, we don’t believe it’s going to drag too long. We’ll see.”

Newly-acquired forward Mike Hoffman is expected to start skating this week.

Defenceman Joel Edmundson is not yet ready to join practice.

“It’s taking longer than we thought,” said Ducharme. “It’s kind of a little bit stable. It’s not getting much better and it’s not worse, so they’re looking further to find out if there’s a reason for that. We’ll see more and know more in the next few days.”

Here is the Canadiens current injury list:

Sami Niku (concussion) – indefinite
Cedric Paquette (groin) – day-to-day
Joel Edmundson (undisclosed) – day-to-day
Mattias Norlinder (undisclosed) – day-to-day
Carey Price (knee surgery) – mid-October
Mike Hoffman (lower-body) – mid-October
Paul Byron (hip surgery) – end of December
Shea Weber (multiple injuries) – out for the season

Forwards / Defence / Goaltenders at Practice

On Monday morning,  practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard. These were the forward lines, defence pairings and goaltenders:

Tyler Toffoli – Nick Suzuki – Cole Caufield
Jonathan Drouin – Christian Dvorak – Josh Anderson
Joel Armia – Jake Evans – Brendan Gallagher
Artturi Lehkonen – Mathieu Perreault – Alex Belzile
Rafael Harvey-Pinard – Ryan Poehling – Jesse Ylonen
Michael Pezzetta – – Gabriel Bourque

Alexander Romanov – Jeff Petry
Kaiden Guhle – David Savard
Ben Chiarot – Chris Wideman
Brett Kulak – Gianni Fairbrother

Jake Allen – Cayden Primeau – Samuel Montembeault

Xhekaj Contract

The Montreal Canadiens have signed defenceman Arber Xhekaj to a three-year, two-way contract on Monday.

Xhekaj will earn $750,000 in 2021-22 and 2022-23, and $775,000 in 2023-24 if he plays in the NHL. He will be paid $70,000 if he plays in the AHL. The 20-year-old will receive signing bonuses of $80,000 (2021-22), $70,000 (2022-23) and $60,000 (2023-24).

Xhekaj has been loaned to the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers as an overage player after being invited to the Canadiens rookie camp and promoted to the main training camp.

The Hamilton, Ontario native wasn’t drafted into the OHL signing with the Rangers as a free agent. Xhekaj was also overlooked in the NHL Entry Draft.

“It has been crazy,” Xhekaj told the Kitchener-Waterloo Record. “Everything has happened so fast. I haven’t really had time to soak it in and take in what happened. I can’t even put it into words.”

A Snipe From Mete

At the end of the Ottawa Senators season in May, defenceman Victor Mete said, “It’s a new lease on life, getting claimed by Ottawa. It’s been great here. I was able to go out and play my game knowing if I made a mistake, I wasn’t going to (get) pulled.”

At the time, Mete had played in a Senators jersey for one month having been claimed by Ottawa on April 12th from the Montreal Canadiens.

On Monday, when Mete met with the media ahead of the Senators – Maple Leafs game, he repeated the backhanded criticism of the Canadiens saying, “It was huge especially last year to grow my confidence back and just to know that if something does happen, nothing is going to happen really and I came in with that mindset this year, ‘just go out and play your game’ and you know that you have the confidence from the coaches to go out there and play. I was happy with the way I ended last year and I just brought that into this year.”

Rocket Camp Opens

Laval Rocket training camp opened on Monday with the following forward lines, defence pairings and goaltenders. The 29-players will prepare for two preseason games in Belleville against the Belleville Senators and the Toronto Marlies on October 8th and 9th at the CAA Arena.

Laval’s regular season schedule will begin on October 15th against the Senators at Place Bell.

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