The general manager of the Canadian, Kent Hughes, wants to see his team progress this season

Kent Hughes has no specific objective for the next campaign, but the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens hopes to see his troop progress, and, who knows, why not surprise a little.

Hughes met with members of the media Wednesday at the Bell Centre, hours before the Habs’ 2022-23 season opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Canadian will count on five rookies in his training to start the season, including four in defense: Kaiden Guhle, Arber Xhekaj, Jordan Harris and Johnathan Kovasevic.

“Their play at some point got us there, but there are also the circumstances with the injuries,” Hughes recalled, as veteran defenders Mike Matheson (lower body) and Joel Edmundson (back) are on the sidelines. .

“When it comes to our young people, decisions are always based on their development. We follow this week by week,” added Hughes.

The other rookie starting the season with the Canadiens is forward Juraj Slafkovský, chosen first overall in the last draft. Hughes said he was happy with the 18-year-old Slovak’s progress since development camp in July.

“It adapts to the North American style. He plays more north-south and is more physical, Hughes pointed out. As long as he continues this way, he will be here. But if the time comes when this is no longer the case and we can no longer offer him quality playing time, we will send him to Laval. »

Hughes insisted that the development not only of young players was important, but also that of veterans.

« I want to see growth in the culture of the team, in the way we act together, » Hughes said. I also want to see progression on the ice, as a team and as individuals. I want the players to progress, not just the youngsters. »

“I understand that we are not the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, but we have to find a way to improve. And if we achieve that, it will be a success for us. »

Hughes said Matheson was due for a magnetic resonance imaging scan on Wednesday and the team could then provide more details about his condition. He said Edmundson was progressing well and medical staff were hopeful he could return to action sooner than last year, when he finally played his first game in March.

I understand that we are not the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, but we have to find a way to improve. And if we achieve that, it will be a success for us.

With a healthy group on defense, Hughes said he wouldn’t feel the need to seek reinforcements. In the current context, he admitted that he was evaluating the possibility of adding a veteran to the group.

What future for Drouin?

Jonathan Drouin is one of two extra forwards for the start of the season, along with support player Michael Pezzetta. The 27-year-old Quebecer had wrist surgery last spring and missed a few days during camp due to a virus.

Hughes recalled that a team never goes an entire season without calling on its depth due to injuries. Drouin’s turn will therefore come.

Drouin is also one of four Canadiens forwards who could become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. It could therefore be used as a bargaining chip as the deadline for transactions approaches. Hughes also did not close the door on extending the association between the Habs and Drouin.

“Players who show us that they can continue to contribute positively to the team can have a future with us. But I can’t answer right now. He will be evaluated during the season,” said Hughes.

Sean Monahan, Evgenii Dadonov and Paul Byron are the other veteran forwards out of contract.

Byron’s name has been placed on the long-term injured list with a hip problem. Hughes sounded unoptimistic when asked about the 33-year-old speedy striker’s future, indicating he did not expect a comeback in the short to medium term.

Price in the entourage of the team

Hughes said there was nothing new to report on Carey Price’s medical condition. The 35-year-old goaltender was limited to five games last winter due to a knee injury, and all indications are that his career is over.

Price is expected to meet the media next week, Hughes said.

Then, when asked about the possibility of him looking to get rid of Price’s contract, as he did with Shea Weber’s in the summer, Hughes stressed that he was willing to live with Price’s contract. on the long-term injured list. He admitted that the team would have been in a difficult position if they had to manage the two long-term contracts.

Hughes added that he would give Price the latitude to choose whether he wants to stay in the team’s entourage or not.

To see in video

(function(d, s, id){ var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = ""; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));


Back to top button