The Montreal Canadiens landed Thomas Vanek at the trade deadline yesterday, and he’ll manage to play for his new team a day later, as the Montreal Gazette reports that he’ll debut against the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday.
The Habs didn’t practice this morning, but the preliminary word is that the 30-year-old will line up with Tomas Plekanec and Alex Galchenyuk. That gives Montreal a nice one-two line punch between Vanek’s trio and the Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Brendan Gallagher combo.
Vanek blended in pretty quickly with the New York Islanders, scoring his first point (an assist) in his second game with the team. Overall, he scored 44 points in 47 games with the Islanders after getting nine points in his last 13 games as a member of the Buffalo Sabres.
He admitted that it’s been a hectic couple days, but also praised his treatment by the Canadiens so far.
“Any time (you get traded) you’re excited to come in and meet the guys,” Vanek said. “It’s a little bit overwhelming, but since the minute I found out I had been traded to Montreal, they’ve treated me first class. We just had a quick meeting this morning and I’m sure coach will let me know (who I’m playing with) later.”
Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.
Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.
When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.
“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”
It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.
While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.
Brad Stuart wasn’t on the ice for the first game of his two-year, $7.2 million contract and it had nothing to do with his health.
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy felt Stuart simply wasn’t one of the six best defensemen in training camp and consequently he wasn’t in the lineup, per the Denver Post.
“Things could change for the next game,” Roy offered. “Like I said (Wednesday), we’re going to use those eight D all year long. (Last night was) just the first game of the season.”
Perhaps, but it’s still a terrible indicator, especially given that Stuart will turn 36 on Nov. 6. Stuart is a veteran of over 1,000 games, but now the question is if he has enough left in the tank to provide Colorado with much value.
The Avalanche also scratched defenseman Brandon Gormley, who was acquired from the Coyotes in exchange for Stefan Elliott. The hope was that both players would benefit from the change in scenery. Gormley was taken with the 13th overall pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, but has only played in 32 career NHL games.