In this week’s edition of Montreal Canadiens news and rumors, Carey Price is back on the ice following offseason knee surgery, Kaiden Guhle, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, and Mattias Norlinder are impressing at Habs rookie camp, and the 2022 NHL Entry Draft will be held in Montreal.
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Plus, Nick Suzuki discusses the Jesperi Kotkaniemi offer sheet, Jesse Ylönen is currently out of rookie camp due to lack of vaccination, the Canadiens unveil their Respect and Consent Action Plan, and defenseman Cody Goloubef has signed a professional tryout with the club.
Price Continues Rehab Ahead of Training Camp
Price is back in Brossard rehabbing his surgically repaired knee at the Canadiens’ practice facility. He skated for the first time on Thursday. Initially, the Habs announced that the timeline for a full recovery would be 10-12 weeks which means he should be ready to play in the 2021-22 season opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 13.
The 34-year-old also spoke about his decision to waive his no-move clause to be exposed in the Seattle Expansion Draft this summer.
“At the time, when we decided that was the course to take, we didn’t have much concern about moving. Then all the buzz around the draft makes you question that. But we knew that we wanted to stay in Montreal and whatever was going to happen would happen. We knew if it were to happen and we went to Seattle, we would have been close to our family. But we’re thankful to be back here [and] at the end of the day, we’re going to be a Montreal Canadien for the rest of our career,” said Price.
Prospects Making Their Mark at Rookie Camp
Rookie camp is underway, and all eyes are on two of Montreal’s top defensive prospects, Guhle and Norlinder, who is making his first foray with the Habs.
Related: Canadiens Should Give Norlinder One More SHL Season to Develop
The two were paired together during Saturday night’s prospect game against the Ottawa Senators which ended in a 4-3 loss for the Canadiens. Norlinder scored his first goal and showed some nice offensive flashes while Guhle was steady and imposed himself with some physical play.
Another player who has impressed his coaches and teammates is Harvey-Pinard. Fresh off an impressive rookie campaign with the Laval Rocket, the 2019 seventh-round draft pick has taken on a leadership role at camp.
“It’s his work ethic. It’s tough not to love a player that really gives everything he has on every drill,” praised Houle. “I don’t have to tell him anything. He’s always the first guy in line. He wants to be the first guy to do it. He listens to what the coaches say. It’s very easy to love a guy like that,” explained new Rocket head coach Jean-François Houle.
The Habs’ rookies will play a second game on Monday afternoon against the Senators in Montreal before the main training camp opens on Wednesday.
2022 NHL Entry Draft Coming to Montreal in July
The Canadiens will host the NHL Draft for the 27th time on July 7 and 8, 2022, and the first time since 2009.
Related: Montreal Canadiens 2021-22 Season Preview Section
When previously hosted in Montreal, the draft has been held at various hotels in the city, the League office, and of course the famed Montreal Forum.
Ticket information and other event details will be announced at a later date.
Suzuki Reacts to Carolina Offer Sheet
While making the rounds during NHL media day in Toronto last week, Suzuki spoke about the offer sheet tendered by the Carolina Hurricanes to Kotkaniemi last month and general manager Marc Bergevin’s decision not to match it.
“That’s when you kinda know the NHL is strictly business and things happen. It’s unfortunate that we lose KK, but we’re in a good spot with [Christian] Dvorak. It’s tough because he’s a great friend of mine, obviously. But it is part of the business. I got to learn that pretty quickly when I got traded from Vegas,” said Suzuki.
The 22-year-old is set to become a restricted free agent himself after the 2021-22 season. It will be interesting to see how Bergevin handles that negotiation considering what happened with his other young star.
Ylönen Out Due to Inadequate Vaccination
La Presse is reporting that Ylönen is currently not present at rookie camp because he is completing his quarantine which he started upon arriving in Montreal as the result of not being adequately vaccinated against COVID-19.
The article indicates that he is not vaccinated “for reasons which belong to him”. Should Ylönen start the season with the Rocket, his ability to play in games in the United States could be problematic if the federal quarantine does indeed apply to professional athletes. This means he could miss 30% of Laval’s games.
In his rookie pro campaign in the AHL last year, the 21-year-old put up nine goals and 17 points in 29 games.
Goloubef Signs PTO With Habs
The Canadiens announced on Monday morning that they have signed Goloubef to a PTO. He will take part in training camp beginning Wednesday.
The 31-year-old right-handed defenseman spent all of last season in the AHL with the Belleville Senators. He has 160 games of NHL experience, having last played with the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings in 2019-20. He could provide experience and depth in Laval.
Canadiens Unveil Consent and Action Plan
Groupe CH presented the details and objectives of its Respect and Consent Action Plan last week which will allow them to raise awareness and educate its employees and the public about respect and consent and the serious consequences of sexual cyberviolence.
The plan was put in place in response to the Canadiens’ decision to select Logan Mailloux in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft.
Two key elements of the plan include training for all Canadiens employees and staff on respect and consent and sexual cyberviolence. Initiatives are also underway to hire women in key positions within the Hockey Operations department.
What’s Next for the Canadiens?
It was a short offseason for the Habs, but hockey is back. With training camp opening this week, we’ll finally see how head coach Dominique Ducharme incorporates his new additions, where the returning Jonathan Drouin will lineup, and if prospects like Guhle, Norlinder, Josh Brook, and Ryan Poehling can play their way onto the opening night roster. Not to mention that Montreal’s first game of the preseason against the Maple Leafs is just five days away.