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The last Habs vs Leafs game was quite an entertaining affair, for Canadiens fans anyways, but tonight’s match-up will definitely be less exciting. Firstly, this is an exhibition game and secondly, with this being the first game of camp what will see on the ice should be nowhere near to an NHL roster.
The Canadiens have already announced their line-up and the lines and pairings look as follows:
73 - Tyler Toffoli 14 - Nick Suzuki 22 - Cole Caufield
62 - Artturi Lehkonen 25 - Ryan Poehling 45 - Laurent Dauphin
85 - Mathieu Perreault 13 - Cédric Paquette 60 - Alex Belzile
81 - Brandon Baddock 86 - Jean-Christophe Beaudin 42 - Lukas Vejdemo
27 - Alexander Romanov 26 - Jeff Petry
77 - Brett Kulak 36 - Gianni Fairbrother
61 - Xavier Ouellet 63 - Arber Xhekaj
The Leafs don’t appear to have announced their roster yet, but at least in the Habs camp, less than half of the players should be in the NHL this season. It will be interesting to see if the Toffoli-Suzuki-Caufield line can rekindle its magic from the playoffs and how Ryan Poehling will handle himself. Also featured will be 2 of the Habs’ offseason acquisition: Mathieu Perreault and Cedric Paquette, if all goes according to plan, they should be depth forwards this season. On the blue line, we’ll see if Fairbrother will be able to bring the same physical game he brought at rookie camp.
Yesterday, Marc “you can never have too many defenseman” Bergevin signed Sami Niku to a one-year 2-way deal. The Jets released him earlier this week and the Habs GM thought it was worth giving him a shot. A 7th round pick back in 2015 and in 54 NHL games he’s gathered 2 goals, 8 assists and 22 penalty minutes. Niku will earn $750,000 if he plays in the NHL and $425,000 in the AHL although he has a guaranteed salary of $475,000 even if he spends the whole season in the American League. Judging by what we’ve seen from Guhle, Fairbrother and Norlinder so far, they’ll need some more time to develop and having Niku on hand could be useful should injuries occur during the season.
Tonight’s game is at 7:00 PM and will be broadcasted on RDS and Sportsnet one. Hopefully, the players looking to make their marks will give us a good show, enjoy Habs fans!