In this week’s edition of Montreal Canadiens news and rumors, Cole Caufield’s contract extension is a priority for Kent Hughes, the general manager also discussed Jake Allen’s future with the team, and Sean Monahan is expected to see some game action during the preseason.
Plus, Montreal’s top young prospects are impressing early on in training camp, the latest injury updates, the first cuts, and popular former Hab P.K. Subban hangs up his skates.
Caufield’s Extension a Priority
One of the fresh faces of the franchise is going to need a new contract beginning next season and in an interview with the Journal de Montréal, Hughes assured some possibly impatient observers that getting a deal done is at the top of his to-do list.
He indicated that he doesn’t have a preference when it comes to the timing of the extension, that it could happen soon or at the end of the current campaign. What’s important is that it doesn’t become a distraction for him. As for the length of the contract, Hughes said that it would depend on the numbers, expectations, and how the market takes shape.
With captain Nick Suzuki already locked up for the next eight years, a contract that was awarded by the Canadiens’ previous regime it will be interesting to see if Hughes offers Caufield the same term to keep his dynamic duo in Montreal for a long time.
Allen’s Future in Montreal
In the same interview, the GM also addressed the Jake Allen trade rumors that surfaced throughout the summer. He said that management had discussions about the goaltender at the Trade Deadline, at the draft in Montreal, and again when it was announced that Robin Lehner would miss the entire 2022-23 season with the Vegas Golden Knights, but his asking price, which presumably is a first-round pick, was not met.
Both he and Allen confirmed that contract talks have taken place between the two parties. If the return in a potential trade is anything less than a first-rounder, it’s probably not worth it and the Habs would be better served to bring the pending unrestricted free agent back on a new deal to help bridge the gap between Carey Price, who will not play this year, and the team’s next no. 1 netminder.
Monahan Expected to See Preseason Action
After undergoing a second hip surgery in April, Monahan continues to work his way back into game shape and has been skating in Brossard during practices but was kept out of the intrasquad scrimmages for precautionary reasons. Head coach Martin St. Louis mentioned that if he continues to progress, he’ll be inserted into the lineup at some point during the preseason. The 28-year-old centre put up 23 points in 65 games with the Calgary Flames last season.
The Canadiens provided some additional injury updates on Monday. Suzuki, who is rehabbing a lower-body injury, is skating again and is expected to return to practice next week. Meanwhile, Joel Edmundson’s lower back injury is progressing well, and he remains sidelined indefinitely. Josh Anderson is also day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
The Youngsters Are Making a Good Impression
Through the first week of training camp, many of Montreal’s top prospects are standing out in a big way and will look to continue their strong play during the team’s eight preseason games beginning Monday night against the New Jersey Devils.
On defense, Justin Barron, Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris, and Arber Xhekaj are making their cases to start the regular season in the NHL as part of the Canadiens’ top-six. With the injury to Edmundson, opportunity knocks for these four players as well as Corey Schueneman to replace the alternate captain during his absence.
At forward, Juraj Slafkovsky, Filip Mesar, and Owen Beck, the Habs’ first three selections in the 2022 NHL Draft, are all turning heads. Mesar and Beck have been particularly impressive from the start of rookie camp and continue to be given opportunities to shine. All three will make their preseason debut against the Devils. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if Beck is rewarded with an entry-level contract before being returned to his junior team in Mississauga. As for Slafkovsky, Monday will be his first game at the Bell Centre in front of his new fanbase who are excited to see him play.
P.K. Subban, one of the most popular Canadiens players of the past several decades, announced his retirement last week after 13 seasons in the NHL with the Habs, the Nashville Predators, and the Devils.
During his time in Montreal, the defenceman electrified the Bell Centre with his dynamic personality and high-paced style of play. He won a Norris Trophy as a Hab and the fans were fortunate to watch him at his peak, but his biggest impact came off the ice thanks to his major contributions and heavy involvement, which continues today, with the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Subban will undoubtedly have plenty of projects to keep himself busy during his post-playing career.
What’s Next for the Canadiens?
With the Habs’ preseason schedule set to get underway, training camp battles are about to heat up as some of their young prospects face NHL competition for the first time. With the Laval Rocket opening their American Hockey League (AHL) training camp next week and so many players still in Montreal, expect to see additional cuts over the coming days to continue trimming the roster ahead of the Canadiens’ regular season opener on Oct. 12 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
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Melissa has been covering the Montreal Canadiens for The Hockey Writers since March of 2020. She is also THW’s Social Media & Marketing Manager as well as co-host of Chicks & Sticks, a weekly show produced by THW. In 2006, she spearheaded the social media initiatives for Tennis Canada and Rogers Cup and was the primary person responsible for their upkeep for over 10 years. She has written articles for multiple tennis websites and interviewed the likes of Roger Federer and Serena Williams. While her career in sports started in tennis, her first love has always been hockey. She has a journalism degree from Concordia University.