In this week’s Montreal Canadiens News & Rumors rundown, we’ll break down trade rumours, roster updates, including Sami Niku, Marc Bergevin, Jonathan Drouin and much more.
The Canadiens will be allowed to host masked and fully vaccinated full capacity crowds at the Bell Centre, per the Quebec government.
Quebec’s provincial Health Minister Christian Dube stated:
“We want Quebecers who are adequately vaccinated to be able to find a bit of normalcy”Christian Dube (COVID-1, Global.ca, 9: Quebec eases capacity restrictions for sports, cultural venues with assigned seating, Kalina Laframboise, 30 Sep 2021)
Geoff Molson’s Groupe CH, the organization that owns the Montreal Canadiens, have pledged to uphold all sanitary measures in place to curb the spread of the virus.
This is great news for Montreal hockey fans as they have gone over 18 months without a capacity crowd at the Bell Center. The sight of empty seats during the Canadiens longest Stanley Cup Playoff run in 28 years was difficult to see for the fans of hockey’s most storied franchise.
Sami Niku Concussed
The Canadiens have announced that defenceman Sami Niku will be out indefinitely with a concussion. Niku was hit by Ottawa Senators center Josh Norris in pre-season action on Oct. 1 in Ottawa. The hit can be seen here:
Norris hit Niku squarely in the back, in plain view of the official, but there was no call on the play. While Niku did turn to play the puck, Norris made no attempt to slow or change direction. While the outcome is an injury, the play itself should have been a minor penalty for boarding.
But hey at least it wasn’t one of those crosschecks the league is cracking down on right now right?
Canadiens Make A Waiver Claim
The Montreal Canadiens claimed Samuel Montembealt from the Florida Panthers. The 6-foot-3, 207 pound native of Becancour, Quebec had a record of 8-4-1 in his 13 games with the Syracuse Crunch last season
Montembeault is earning the NHL minimum of $750 000 on a one-year contract. His arrival to his home province may signal to fans that Canadiens management expects Carey Price to need more time to recover from off-season knee surgery before rejoining the lineup. This will make the newly acquired goaltender Jake Allen’s backup for the beginning of the season. It also points to management wanting to ensure Cayden Primeau gets as many starts as possible this season in the American Hockey League (AHL). Primeau is expected to be the Habs’ future starter, and it is important that he gets into games to develop and grow. Sitting on the bench as a backup in Montreal will not provide him that opportunity.
Bergevin Rumored Extension
According to Pierre Lebrun, there has been an offer for an extension sent to Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin.
Currently, there is no word on if Bergevin will sign, or if he plans to remain with the Canadiens past this season. He has repeatedly pledged that he will honor his contract, however, the longer the situation goes without clarification from Bergevin or the Canadiens, the more it will cause speculation to spread and become the main story line in the most rabid hockey market on the planet.
Drouin Awarded Jean Beliveau Trophy
Jonathan Drouin has been awarded the 2020-2021 Jean Béliveau Trophy. This award is given to the Canadiens’ player who best exemplifies leadership qualities in the community. The trophy is accompanied by a $25,000 donation from the Montreal Canadiens Children’ Foundation to a charity of the player’s choice.
Despite Drouin’s difficult season, in which he stepped away from hockey to find the mental health support he needed, he never stopped working on his own charitable works. He has been an ambassador with the Fondation du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) since 2017 and has pledged $500,000 to the hospital over a 10-year period.
As the NHL offseason wears on, keep an eye on The Hockey Writers and our new THW Podcast Network for the latest Canadiens news, notes and rumors.
Blain is a regular contributor as a THW Writer. For over 7 years he has been a part time journalist and podcaster covering the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens and its affiliates. He has made appearances on various television and radio stations as well as podcasts to discuss the Canadiens, and the NHL. Blain has taken the lessons on integrity, ethics, values and honesty that he has learned as a 28 year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces and applied them to his work as a journalist to guide him in informing his readers and his goal of being a trusted source of information and entertainment.