Marc Bergevin started the trade deadline day by pulling the trigger on what seems to be a minor deal. The Canadiens sent Michael Chaput (who was playing in Laval) to join Alex Galchenyuk in Arizona and received in return forward Jordan Weal.
Weal is a 26 year-old who was selected in the 3rd round (70th overall) in 2010 by the Los Angeles Kings. The North Vancouver, BC native was a prolific goals’ scorer for the Regina Pats in the WHL and was a 20+ goals’ scorer in the AHL, but has never scored more than eight (8) goals in a season in the NHL.
Standing at 5-foot 10-inches and 180 pounds, he’s not the most intimidating physically but he is a relentless worker. He is tenacious and a hard worker, just like Claude Julien likes them.
Further, while he’s mostly a centre, Weal can play all three forward positions. At centre, he has won 55.8% of his faceoffs between Philadelphia and Arizona. He is a right-handed shot, giving an option to Julien and the Canadiens as Domi, Danault, Kotkaniemi and Thompson are all left-handed.
He will have some familiarity in the Canadiens’ dressing room as he will join former Flyers’ teammate Dale Weise in Montreal.
Pre-season is upon us and the Montreal Canadiens got things going against the New Jersey Devils last night, in a game that won’t be remembered passed then next game… except for Habs’ prospect and league’s third overall pick at the last NHL Draft, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who got a feel for what it’s like to score goals at the Bell Centre. And judging from his smile, it’s something he quite enjoyed and could get used to.
After the Devils, who were then leading 1-0 in the third period, got a goal called back – which should have counted by the way – the Canadiens took over the game with three goals in just over a minute and that was enough to bring hope to fans in dire need of something positive after a very disappointing season last year. Antti Niemi and Charlie Lindgren split the duty in net while Charles Hudon, Victor Mete – on a nice feed by Michael Chaput – and Kotkaniemi found the back of the net for the Habs. Unfortunately for the Canadiens however, rugged winger Nicolas Deslauriers left the game and was taken to hospital for precautionary measures after taking a solid right in a fight that he eventually won.
A few players stood out from the crowd in this game:
Charles Hudon was all over the puck and had a few solid scoring chances before eventually scoring from a tough angle.
The pairing of Victor Mete and Noah Juulsen was solid, picking up where they left off last season. Mete could have scored another goal but was robbed in the slot earlier in the game.
Michael Chaput is proving to be a very versatile player by winning puck battles, killing penalties and setting up Mete on a beautiful feed, all of that while playing a physical game.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi is gaining in confidence. Prior to scoring his goal, he set up Hudon with a nifty backhand pass. While far from dominant (yet), he was also solid in his zone and showed flashes of what he can do.
It will now be time for group B to show what they can do when the Canadiens take on the Florida Panthers on Thursday night also at the Bell Centre. Game starts at 7:30 PM and it is televised on RDS and TSN2. Go Habs Go!