In this week’s edition of Montreal Canadiens news and rumors, the work on Cole Caufield’s next contract has begun, Habs’ management is discussing the possibility of re-signing Sean Monahan, and the Edmonton Oilers might be interested in Joel Edmundson.
Plus, Brendan Gallagher will be sidelined for two weeks with a lower-body injury, and four Canadiens’ prospects have been named to preliminary rosters ahead of the World Juniors.
Caufield’s Next Contract
In an interview with The Athletic, Montreal’s executive vice president of hockey operations Jeff Gorton confirmed that internal work on Caufield’s new deal has begun and that both sides have agreed to speak soon to get the ball rolling on what promises to be a hot topic of discussion over the coming weeks and months.
If the 21-year-old continues his current pace of offensive production which has him high on a legendary franchise list, it will be interesting to follow the different approaches during negotiations. Will they agree on a shorter team deal like the one Jason Robertson signed with the Dallas Stars during the offseason or a max term eight-year contract similar to Jack Hughes’ with the New Jersey Devils? Both players are represented by Caufield’s agent, Pat Brisson.
Pierre LeBrun reported on a recent edition of TSN’s Insider Trading that Habs’ management is contemplating the possibility of bringing back Monahan next season instead of moving him at the Trade Deadline.
He has been a great fit in Montreal, both on and off the ice, providing exactly the type of veteran leadership that was expected of him. He’s also rejuvenated his career and shown that he has something left in the tank. How much is what the Canadiens need to decide and whether it’s worth their investment because 28-year-old top-six centres don’t come cheap.
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LeBrun still believes that he will ultimately be dealt because players like him are in high demand, but the fact they are even considering offering him a new contract is a twist that not many saw coming and speaks volumes about the impact Monahan has had in a short time.
During the same segment, Darren Dreger indicated that the trade which brought Monahan to Montreal almost didn’t happen because the Calgary Flames initially had a deal in place with the Arizona Coyotes that ultimately fell through.
Oilers Interested in Edmundson?
Speaking of trade chatter, TSN’s Ryan Rishaug had Montreal reporter Arpon Basu of The Athletic on his Oilers podcast a few days ago to talk about Edmonton’s potential interest in Edmundson, who is the type of defenceman general manager Ken Holland is looking to add to his lineup ahead of the playoffs.
The two discussed the parameters of what a possible trade would look like. Basu said that Habs’ general manager Kent Hughes’ ask would start with a 2023 first-round pick or at least a former first-round selection. This prompted Rishaug to bring up top prospect Xavier Bourgault, a player who has been linked to the Canadiens in the past. He also talked about adding Jesse Puljujärvi to the package to make the money work for both sides and he could be a reclamation project for Montreal’s revamped player development staff.
Edmundson would work well in Edmonton, and they do have future assets that would be of interest to the Habs so it’s not out of the question that the two teams could be trade partners at some point down the road.
The Canadiens announced on Monday that Gallagher will be out for at least two weeks with a lower-body injury after he missed the first two games of the current road trip through Western Canada and Seattle. David Savard is also day-to-day with an upper-body injury which he suffered on Saturday night in Edmonton. In their absence, it was the Monahan who wore the assistant captain ‘A’ on his jersey against the Vancouver Canucks. Unfortunately, he left that wild game in the second period with an injury.
They join Jonathan Drouin and Mike Hoffman in the Habs’ expanding infirmary.
Montreal Prospects Headed to WJC Camps
Four Canadiens prospects are very much on the radar for Team Canada and Team USA ahead of the World Juniors next month.
Lane Hutson, who is enjoying a remarkable freshman season with Boston University, has been named to the preliminary roster for the 2023 U.S. National Junior Team. Selected in the second round of this past summer’s draft, the defenseman has already put up six goals and 17 points in 14 games during his first taste of NCAA hockey. Team USA’s training camp will be held from Dec. 12-17 in Plymouth, Michigan.
Meanwhile, Owen Beck, Riley Kidney, and Joshua Roy will take part in Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp in Moncton. Kidney and Roy both represented Canada at the 2022 World Juniors which were held this past summer. This is Beck’s first invite thanks to his impressive campaign with the Mississauga Steelheads in Ontario Hockey League.
It is expected that more Montreal prospects will soon be named to their respective national junior teams for the tournament, which will be played from Dec. 26 – Jan. 5 in Halifax and Moncton.
What’s Next for the Canadiens?
Firstly, congratulations to Canadiens player development consultant Marie-Philip Poulin for her induction into the Boston University Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend.
Lastly, the Habs will wrap up their four-game road trip in Seattle on Tuesday night. Shane Wright, who just completed a conditioning stint in the American Hockey League, will be in the Kraken lineup for his first head-to-head matchup against Juraj Slafkovsky and the team that snubbed him with the first overall pick in July. It promises to be an exciting tilt against one of the NHL’s biggest surprise clubs during the first quarter of the 2022-23 season.
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.