Canadiens News & Rumors: Price, Toffoli, Chiarot, and More

In this week’s edition of Montreal Canadiens news and rumors, Carey Price is skating with his goalie equipment, Tyler Toffoli is out eight weeks after undergoing hand surgery, and Ben Chiarot is the player most likely to be moved this season according to both Sportsnet and TSN.

Plus, the Habs will be well-represented at the 2022 World Junior Championship later this month, top prospect Shane Wright would love to play in Montreal, and Bob Gainey will help select the team’s next general manager.

Price Skates With Equipment

After hitting the ice for the first time since completing his stint in the NHL’s player assistance program, Carey Price has reached the next phase of his rehab and recovery process. The Habs’ star netminder is now skating in Brossard in full goalie equipment and testing his surgically repaired knee with various movements.

Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Carey Price is getting closer to a return. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The goal remains that Price returns to game action sometime in January and he still has his sights set on representing Canada at the Olympic Games in Beijing in February.  

Toffoli Out Eight Weeks

The Canadiens announced on Saturday that Tyler Toffoli underwent successful hand surgery last week and his recovery period is expected to be eight weeks. The operation was performed at the Montreal General Hospital by Dr. Edward Harvey.

Related: 5 Canadiens Who Probably Won’t Return Next Season

In addition to everything else going on this season, the Habs continue to get bit incredibly hard by the injury bug with Toffoli joining Price, Shea Weber, Joel Edmundson, Jeff Petry, Sami Niku, Paul Byron, Josh Anderson, Brendan Gallagher, Christian Dvorak, and Jake Evans on the sidelines.  

Gainey to Help Select Next General Manager

The committee that will be tasked with finding the next general manager of the Canadiens has been assembled. It will include owner and president Geoff Molson, new executive vice president Jeff Gorton, Habs minority owner Michael Andlauer, and Montreal legend Bob Gainey.

A list of potential candidates will be compiled by each member of the selection committee and interviews will begin in the new year. In his most recent “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman mentioned that Montrealer and player agent Kent Hughes is definitely on the Habs’ radar as a candidate.  Hughes’ current list of clients includes the likes of Patrice Bergeron, Kris Letang, Darnell Nurse, and Anthony Beauvillier.

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The last time the Canadiens held a GM search following the dismissal of Pierre Gauthier, Molson turned to another Habs great in Serge Savard to help him find the right person and Savard recommended Marc Bergevin for the job.

Habs Will Be Well-Represented at World Juniors

Three Canadiens prospects will compete in this year’s World Juniors being held in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta.

Related: Montreal Canadiens CHL Prospects: Midseason Update

Jan Mysak will represent the Czech Republic for a third time in the tournament after serving as team captain last year. Mysak, a second-round pick by the Habs in 2020, has 31 points in 25 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs in the Ontario Hockey League this season. He signed his entry-level contract last year following a two-game stint with the Laval Rocket.

Oliver Kapanen will be making his first World Juniors appearance as a member of Team Finland. The 18-year-old centreman was chosen by the Canadiens in the second round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.

Meanwhile, Kaiden Guhle, Montreal’s first-round selection in 2020, will be an integral part of Team Canada as a second-year player. He’s also the frontrunner to be named captain. Guhle was recently traded by the Prince Albert Raiders to the Edmonton Oil Kings in a blockbuster deal.   

Kaiden Guhle, Montreal Canadiens
Kaiden Guhle Montreal Canadiens (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

For his part, Joshua Roy, who is enjoying a stellar season with the Sherbrooke Phoenix, took part in Canada’s selection camp over the weekend and made a strong impression while playing on the same line as the 2023 projected first overall pick, Connor Bedard. Roy was among the final cuts on Sunday night.

Wright Would Love to Play in Montreal

Speaking of potential first overall picks, Guhle’s Canadian teammate Shane Wright was asked about the possibility of playing for the Canadiens given the strong likelihood they will be a lottery team this year and the star centre would welcome the opportunity.

“That’d be an unbelievable place to play. It’s obviously such a storied franchise, unbelievable city and the fans are some of the best in the league,” Wright said.

Chiarot Tops Trade Bait Boards

With the Trade Deadline inching closer, Sportsnet and TSN have released their latest trade bait boards and Habs defenseman Ben Chiarot sits at the top of both lists.

Ben Chiarot Montreal Canadiens
Ben Chiarot, Montreal Canadiens (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The pending unrestricted free agent has been a hot topic in trade talks for weeks now and the question isn’t whether he will be dealt, but if the Canadiens will manage to get a first-round pick in exchange for him. Given his recent standout postseason performances and rugged style of play, playoff-bound teams will surely be lining up to acquire him.

Jeff Marek of Sportsnet also included Brendan Gallagher and Tyler Toffoli as possible trade candidates.

What’s Next for the Canadiens?

Stuck in a six-game losing streak, the Habs play three times this week, including their final two home contests of 2021 before heading out on their traditional holiday season road trip. Petry is back practicing with the team and is expected to return to the lineup soon.