Canadiens News & Rumours: Edmundson, Richard & More

The Montreal Canadiens enter the NHL’s Christmas roster freeze on a three-game losing streak and hitting the road for seven games. They continue to have a poor power play (PP) and injuries are starting to pile up; the Habs seem to be headed downward.

Montreal Canadiens News and Rumours
Montreal Canadiens News and Rumours (The Hockey Writers)

With the team beginning to drop to the basement of the standings, trade rumours are again swirling around social media. Here are there latest rumours and news coming out of Montreal.

Canadiens Getting Lots of Calls About Edmundson

According to Canadiens general manager (GM) Kent Hughes, he receives calls daily from other teams about many different players and the cost of acquiring them. One of the players that comes up frequently is a defenceman, Joel Edmundson, and the Edmonton Oilers are very interested. Former GM Marc Bergevin acquired him from the Carolina Hurricanes in 2020. He was set to be a free agent, but Bergevin traded a fifth-round draft pick for his rights to ensure the Canadiens could sign him.

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Edmundson quickly became a leader for the Habs and established himself as one of the top defensemen on the team. His work in the 2021 Playoffs helped the Canadiens secure a Stanley Cup Final berth and has been a coveted defenceman for many contending teams since last season. The asking price from Hughes is pretty high, however, as he will be looking to get at least the same return as he got for Ben Chiarot at last year’s trade deadline – a first-round pick. The rumoured asking price for Edmundson from the Oilers is a first-round pick or top prospect Xavier Bourgault, a 20-year-old center currently playing in the American Hockey league (AHL), and a 2022 first-round draft pick. Bourgault has 13 points in 24 games with the Bakersfield Condors.

Rocket’s Richard Gets Called Up to Montreal

Anthony Richard was an offseason signing by Hughes to add depth to the Laval Rocket. They didn’t expect the 25-year-old to have a breakout season in the AHL. In 27 games, he has 31 points and 18 goals, leading the Rocket in scoring and being top five in the AHL; Richard played two NHL games previously with the Nashville Predators without registering a point. He was drafted in the fourth round, 100th overall, with 238 points in 232 games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and has scored 209 points in 389 AHL games.

Richard played for the Canadiens in their 3-2 overtime win against the Arizona Coyotes on Dec. 19. With the Habs having secondary scoring issues, the hope is that he will infuse some scoring into the bottom six and bring some of his scoring touch from the minors to the parent club. He didn’t score a point in his first game but had two shots and three hits in just under 11 minutes of ice time. Not only did Richard play with his childhood team that night but he also celebrated a birthday as well.

Canadiens to Honour Subban

PK Subban played with the Canadiens from 2009-2016 and his exciting and thrilling style of play made him a fan favourite. His philanthropic contributions to the city of Montreal and the Children’s Hospital made him so well-liked that when former GM Bergevin traded him to the Predators for Shea Weber, there was a considerable divide created that angered many Habs fans for years. Subban won the Norris Trophy for best defenseman in the NHL during the strike-shortened 2012-13 season when he scored 38 points in 42 games.

Related: Subban-Weber Trade Revisited

Subban played three seasons with the Predators before being traded to the New Jersey Devils and playing three seasons there before announcing his retirement this offseason. Declining play due to multiple injuries and unhappy with the offers he was receiving in free agency, he decided to hang up his skates and join ESPN as an analyst. He left a lasting impression not only on the team in Montréal but also on the city since he was traded in 2016; the Canadiens have not had a puck-moving defenceman quite like him since. They will honour him at the Bell Center on Jan. 12 before the game against the Predators.

Former Canadiens Goalie Hammond Retires

Andrew Hammond has announced his retirement from the NHL. He was most notably known for his rookie season with the Ottawa Senators, where he had a record of 20-1-2, a goals-against average (GAA) of 1.79 and finished seventh in Vezina Trophy votes for the top goaltender in the league. He didn’t have quite the same results the following season and, by 2018, found himself out of the NHL. Last season, with injuries to Carey Price and Jake Allen, the Canadiens made a trade with the Minnesota Wild to acquire Hammond.

Andrew Hammond New Jersey Devils
Andrew Hammond, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Hammond played four games for the Canadiens with a 3-0 record and a .920 save percentage (SV%) before being traded to the Devils at the trade deadline. He played seven more games in New Jersey going 1-5-1, and his save percentage dropped to .860. In September of this season, he signed with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). Still, he only played two games because of an ankle injury he suffered while with the Canadiens. Hammond stated the damage was severe enough to keep him from playing hockey, and he decided to walk away from the game.

Regarding goaltending, rumours are swirling that the Canadiens are looking for a young goalie prospect to acquire before or at the trade deadline. Sam Montembault is a free agent after next season, Jake Allen just signed for two more seasons, and prospects Fredric Dichow and Jakub Dobes are still a few years away from full-time NHL play. With Cayden Primeau struggling in the AHL, it makes sense that the Habs would try to get a young goaltender who is closer to NHL-ready.

That’s the news and rumours for this week; the Canadiens are currently on a seven-game road trip before returning to Montreal in the new year. All of us here from The Hockey Writers and the Montreal Canadiens writing staff wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

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