Posts Tagged ‘Montreal Canadiens’

Shane Wright wants to be the first overall pick taken by the Montreal Canadiens in next month’s NHL draft. He also knows it’s not his call.

“I have my own opinion on where I believe I should go, but at the end of the day, it’s out of my control now. What my opinion is, what I say, what I think, it doesn’t matter now. It’s in the hands of Montreal and their management,” Wright said in a meeting with media before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday. “Obviously, I’d like to be the first overall pick. But at the end of the day, it’s not my decision.”

The Canadiens hold the first overall pick, having won last month’s draft lottery. Whoever goes first overall, it’ll be an extraordinary moment in Montreal, as the draft is scheduled on July 7 at Bell Centre — the first time since 1985 that the host city also holds the top pick.

Wright has been considered the top prospect in this draft class for several years. He was granted exceptional player status for the 2019-20 Ontario Hockey League season as a 15-year-old, becoming just the sixth player allowed early entry into the league. Among the others were NHL stars Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers and John Tavares of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

But as the draft draws closer, there has been some doubt about Wright going first overall. He isn’t considered to be a franchise-level talent the way McDavid or Auston Matthews were. There are other intriguing players at the top of the draft, such as Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovsky and center Logan Cooley of the U.S. National Development Program.

What was once a sure thing is a little less so for Wright, with the New Jersey Devils at No. 2 and the Arizona Coyotes at No. 3.

“I’ll embrace whatever market I get drafted into. It’s the NHL. I’m happy with whatever situation I end up in, whatever team drafts me,” Wright said.

One thing Wright said he isn’t doing: reading the many mock drafts being published leading up to draft.

“I don’t put too much thought into those. They don’t really … It’s hard saying they don’t matter, because people spend a lot of time on them and there’s a lot of thought process that go into those. But personally, for me, I feel like they don’t matter too much to what I’m doing,” he said.

Prospect Matthew Savoie has played against Wright since the two were 12 years old. While Wright plays it cool, Savoie said going first overall matters to him.

“I think he really wants to be the top pick,” he said. “There’s been a lot of talk, a lot of speculation. But he’s a great player all around. He works hard, plays the right way. Whichever way Montreal goes, it’ll be a good pick.”

The Montreal Canadiens traded captain Shea Weber to the Vegas Golden Knights for forward Evgenii Dadonov, the team announced Thursday.

Weber missed the entire 2021-22 campaign due to ankle, foot, knee, and thumb injuries. His playing career is widely considered to be over, but he’s under contract until 2026 at a cap hit of $7.857 million. The Golden Knights will stash Weber on long-term injured reserve to increase salary cap flexibility.

“First of all, I would like to thank Shea for all that he has done for and represented to the Montreal Canadiens,” general manager Kent Hughes said.

“Not only was Shea an exceptional hockey player who played through significant injuries in an attempt to bring the Stanley Cup back to Montreal, he was also a great leader whose leadership will have a positive impact on our team well beyond his time with us.”

The Nashville Predators sent Weber to Montreal before the 2016-17 season in a blockbuster trade for P.K. Subban. He racked up 146 points in 275 games for the Habs while averaging over 24 minutes per night.

“Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined playing for, let alone being named captain of, the Montreal Canadiens,” Weber wrote in a statement released Friday. “Pulling on that legendary jersey every night was one of the greatest honors of my career, and it’s something I appreciated every chance I got.”

The hard-nosed blue-liner was one of the top defenders of his generation at his peak. Weber was a three-time Norris Trophy finalist and won two Olympic gold medals for Team Canada.

Dadonov is under contract for the upcoming season at a $5 million cap hit. The Golden Knights tried to deal him to the Anaheim Ducks at the trade deadline, but the NHL voided to trade due to complications with the player’s no-trade clause.

The Canadiens are Dadonov’s fourth team since returning to the NHL in 2017-18. The 33-year-old put up 43 points in 78 games for Vegas this season.

The Montreal Canadiens have signed pending unrestricted free-agent defenseman Chris Wideman to a two-year contract.

The pact is worth the league minimum of $750,000 per season, according to Sportsnet’s Eric Engels.

Wideman tallied four goals and 23 assists in 64 games last season, tying Jeff Petry for the lead among Habs defensemen with 27 points.

The 32-year-old shoots right and stands at 5-foot-10, 183 pounds.

Ottawa drafted Wideman in the fourth round in 2009, and he played the first four years of his career with the Senators, Edmonton Oilers, and Florida Panthers. He spent 2019-20 in the AHL and 2020-21 in the KHL before signing a one-year deal with Montreal last offseason.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price was named the recipient of the 2022 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy on Friday.

The award is given annually to the player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.” It’s voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Price underwent knee surgery in July after playing a key role in the Canadiens’ stunning run to the Stanley Cup Final and was unable to make his 2021-22 season debut until April 15.

He voluntarily took part in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program in October and detailed his struggles with mental health and substance use. Price said at the time that he’d prioritize his health for his and his family’s sake.

“There’s obstacles in life that will always challenge you,” he said after winning the Masterton Trophy. “And I think having the ability to overcome those and keep things in perspective and keep moving forward is something that we should all be teaching our children and loved ones.”

He continued, “I gotta thank, most importantly, my family. Because without their support, this would be a lot more difficult. I’m very grateful to have all these people in my life.”

The 34-year-old veteran started five games this campaign. He made his return on home ice in Montreal, where Canadiens fans made sure to show their support.

Price pitched a 39-save performance to help the Canadiens win their last game of the season.

He told reporters Friday that he’s getting prepared as though he’ll play in 2022-23 but is still waiting to evaluate the condition of his knee, according to The Athletic’s Arpon Basu.

Price said in late April that it wouldn’t be sustainable to play a whole season given the state of his knee.

Kevin Hayes of the Philadelphia Flyers and Zdeno Chara of the New York Islanders were the other finalists.

Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom claimed the honor last season after recovering from Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of blood cancer.

The Montreal Canadiens named Martin St. Louis the 32nd head coach in franchise history on Wednesday, dropping the interim tag he was assigned this past winter.

St. Louis signed a three-year deal through the 2024-25 season.

“Martin is a proven leader, a great communicator with a deep understanding of and passion for the game of hockey. His arrival brought a renewed energy to our group, and we look forward to him returning behind the bench to continue guiding our team for the foreseeable future,” general manager Kent Hughes said.

Montreal hired St. Louis for his first NHL coaching gig in February. He guided the Canadiens to a 14-19-4 finish after the club started the season 8-30-7 under Dominique Ducharme.

St. Louis’ arrival also sparked a major turnaround for rookie sniper Cole Caufield, who bagged 22 goals in 37 contests after the coaching change.

The Habs finished last in the league standings despite improvement under St. Louis, and will pick first overall at the draft this offseason.

The Montreal Canadiens won the draft lottery Tuesday and will get the No. 1 selection in the upcoming 2022 NHL Draft hosted in Montreal.

The Canadiens haven’t drafted first overall since the club selected Doug Wickenheiser in 1980.

New Jersey moved up to second overall after entering Tuesday with the fifth-best odds of winning the lottery.

Here are the full results:

PICKTEAM
1Montreal Canadiens
2New Jersey Devils
3Arizona Coyotes
4Seattle Kraken
5Philadelphia Flyers
6Columbus Blue Jackets (via Chicago)
7Ottawa Senators
8Detroit Red Wings
9Buffalo Sabres
10Anaheim Ducks
11San Jose Sharks
12Columbus Blue Jackets
13New York Islanders
14Winnipeg Jets
15Vancouver Canucks
16Buffalo Sabres (via Vegas)

Shane Wright has for years been the consensus No. 1 pick for the 2022 draft. He was granted exceptional-player status in the OHL as a 15-year-old for the 2019-20 season. Wright posted 94 points in 63 games with the Kingston Frontenacs during the 2021-22 campaign.

This will be the Devils’ fourth pick in the top five of the draft since 2017. The club selected Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes first overall and Luke Hughes fourth overall over that period.

Forwards Logan Cooley and Juraj Slafkovsky are projected to round out the top three picks of this year’s draft.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is unsure of his status for next season due to his ongoing knee ailment.

“My honest opinion is no. I don’t believe that the current state would be sustainable for a whole season,” Price said when asked if he thinks he can start 55-60 games next season. “In that regard, I got a lot of question marks, and fortunately for me, I’ve got a lot of time over the summer to prepare, so we’ll see.”

Price was sidelined for the majority of the 2021-22 campaign following knee surgery last offseason. He spent several months rehabbing his knee after entering the NHL’s player assistance program at the start of the season.

The 34-year-old said Saturday he’s still dealing with a lot of swelling in his knee. He’s planning on getting a second opinion on it during the offseason, and a second surgery isn’t off the table.

Price admitted the thought that Friday’s game might be his last in the NHL crept into his mind.

“The whole day, it was just an exceptional day for myself. I had a great sleep, it was just an A+ day,” Price said. “So if it is it, then that would be a great way to do it.”

Still, Price said he isn’t prepared to back down from doing his all to get back into game shape and get ready for next season.

“Like I said a little bit earlier, this is definitely tough,” Price said. “But I’ve always been a fighter and I’ve always been a clawer and I’m not giving up, I’m going to continue to do my best to prepare for next season.”

Price posted a .878 save percentage and a 1-4-0 record in five games this season.

Montreal Canadiens icon Guy Lafleur died at the age of 70, his family announced Friday.

The cause of death was not immediately made known. On Tuesday, the Canadiens acknowledged reports of his health, asking for fans to respect the privacy of LaFleur and his family.

Nicknamed “The Flower,” he helped lead the Canadiens to five Stanley Cups in the 1970s, including four consecutive championships from 1976-79. He also won three straight Art Ross Trophies during that span.

LaFleur is the franchise’s all-time assists and points leader with 728 and 1,246, respectively. He also ranks second in career goals for Montreal behind Maurice Richard.

The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted LaFleur in 1988.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are heading back to the postseason.

The club clinched a playoff berth for the sixth straight year with a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens at home Saturday night. Toronto is second in the Atlantic Division with a 47-19-6 record.

Auston Matthews scored two goals in the contest, with his initial tally making him the first player since Mario Lemieux in 1996 to score 50 goals in 50 games. John Tavares also added one marker.

The fans at Scotiabank Arena broke out into “MVP” chants for Matthews midway through the game. The 24-year-old is up to 58 goals and 41 assists in 67 contests.

“You just get kind of get chills, chills in your bones,” Matthews said of hearing the crowd, according to The Leafs Nation’s David Alter.

The Maple Leafs became the fifth team in the NHL to clinch a playoff spot, joining the Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, and New York Rangers.

Toronto hasn’t won a postseason series since 2004. The team has played in the playoffs six times since.

Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes gave interim head coach Martin St. Louis a significant vote of confidence Tuesday.

“I’d like to see him part of the Montreal Canadiens organization for the long term and remove the interim tag, if that’s the question you’re asking,” Hughes told TSN from this week’s GM meetings.

“In terms of the success or the impact that he’s had, I expected him to have an impact, no question about it. Probably not as significant as he has in such a short period of time. But I said at the beginning, I’m not one to bet against Marty St. Louis, and those that have, have generally lost. He’s a pretty special guy, and he’s proven to be a pretty special coach.”

St. Louis replaced Dominique Ducharme behind the bench on Feb. 9, marking his first NHL coaching gig. Since the Hall of Fame player took over, the Canadiens are 10-7-4 after a dreadful 8-30-7 start with Ducharme at the helm.

A notable turnaround in production for Montreal’s young core forwards followed the coaching change: Cole Caufield has registered 25 points in 21 games, while Nick Suzuki has 22.

The Canadiens were recently eliminated from playoff contention and sit 31st overall in the league standings with 47 points.