Canadiens News and Rumours: Allen, Cuts, Slafkovsky & More

The Montreal Canadiens have played four preseason games and are starting to put their team together for the upcoming season. Head coach Martin St. Louis has been playing the prospects for most of the preseason to see where they fit and if they are ready for the NHL. With over a week left until the start of the season, they have more cuts to make and maybe even some moves to free up roster spots before the roster is set and the 2022-23 season begins.

Canadiens Extend Allen

The Canadiens have solidified their goaltending for the next couple of years and extended Jake Allen for the next two seasons. Now in the last year of his current contract making $2.875 million, he will get a raise as his new contract will earn him $7.7 million over the next two seasons, an annual average value of $3.85 million. With the Habs’ star goalie Carey Price dealing with knee issues and his future in doubt, Montreal’s general manager (GM) Kent Hughes felt it necessary to extend Allen as insurance.

Jake Allen Montreal Canadiens
Jake Allen, Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Allen has played for the Canadiens for the past two seasons, supposedly in a backup role, but due to injuries to Price, he has been the primary goalie. Since joining Montreal, he has a record of 20-32-9 with a goals-against average (GAA) of 3.01 and a save percentage (SV%) of .906. He was hampered with various injuries last season but is expected to be healthy this season and will help guide the Canadiens during the first part of their rebuild.

Canadiens Make Cuts as Season Gets Closer

The Canadiens made numerous cuts this week as they dwindle their roster down to who they feel will represent the team this coming season. Notable cuts were Riley Kidney and Joshua Roy, who were sent back to their Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) clubs to prepare for the upcoming junior season. Twenty-three more players were cut from camp and sent to the Laval Rocket training camp of the American Hockey League (AHL).

Related: 3 Early Observations From Canadiens Training Camp

Notable players joining the Rocket are Jan Mysak, Joel Teasdale, William Trudeau and John Parker-Jones. The Canadiens now have 47 players remaining with the team, with six on the injured list. Montreal has a little over a week to whittle the roster down to 23 players, and it won’t be easy with a few prospects outplaying several veterans in the preseason games. If they can’t move any players via trade, they will have to put a player on waivers if one or more of these prospects earn a spot on the roster; candidates include Jesse Ylonen, Juraj Slafkovsky, Filip Mesar, Kaiden Ghule, Jordan Harris, Justin Barron and Owen Beck.

Hughes Speaks About Slafkovsky’s Play

Canadiens GM Hughes had some interesting comments about first overall pick Slafkovsky who the Habs chose over Shane Wright in this year’s draft in July. He is a giant winger who helped lead Slovakia to their first Olympic medal this past winter. When drafted, Hughes mentioned that they weren’t looking for the star player right now but the one who would be a star for them for years to come. So far in the preseason, Slafkovsky hasn’t looked out of place but hasn’t stolen the show either, while the Canadien’s other first-round pick this summer, Mesar, has looked very good along with second-round selection Beck.

Juraj Slafkovsky Montreal Canadiens 2022 Draft
Juraj Slafkovsky, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Hughes said in a recent interview that Slafkovsky has been underwhelming in his two preseason games but looked great in the rookie tournament games that he played before the preseason. Hughes wants to do what’s best for Slafkovsky, whether he’s playing in the NHL or not. He reiterated that he wasn’t looking for the best 18-year-old but the best future NHL player in the draft. He says they will make the best decision for Slafkovsky’s development and don’t care if it’s the popular decision. The last forward drafted first overall not to make the immediate jump to the NHL was Mats Sundin in 1989; and that move worked out pretty well for his career.

Injury Update

Nick Suzuki is skating in a full-contact jersey after missing the first week and a half of training camp with a lower-body injury (LBI). The newly minted captain was expected to miss two weeks and is on pace to return for the start of the season.

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Josh Anderson is recovering from a spider bite; the bite was on his finger and got infected, which caused his whole hand to swell up. The team placed him on antibiotics, and after three days, the swelling went down. Anderson is fully recovered from the incident, but he doesn’t have any Spiderman powers…that he knows of.

Josh Anderson Montreal Canadiens
Josh Anderson, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Price will miss the entire season with his knee injury; Hughes had a media conference with Price and said that without surgery, he wouldn’t be able to play this season. Price elected not to have it and will not play for the Canadiens this year.

Sean Monahan is recovering from hip surgery he had in April and will get a game or two in the preseason to see how his hip reacts during a game. This is a far cry from the rumours that he would miss the season’s first three weeks. Monahan could start the season on opening day if his hip holds up.

Joel Edmundson is out with a similar back injury that he had to start the season last year but is recovering nicely and is still listed as out indefinitely.

Paul Byron is also dealing with a hip injury; although there has been no recent news on his injury, it is expected that he will be out long-term and not return until Christmas.

The Canadiens have four preseason games left, one against the Toronto Maple Leafs and three against the Ottawa Senators. They are still looking for their first preseason win, but wins and losses at this point are irrelevant; the more important thing is seeing who gels with who and what players should be on the opening day roster. It should be a busy week and a half for the Canadiens as they get set for the Oct. 12 season opener at home against the Maple Leafs.

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