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The salad that represents the Habs' current defense lacks of dressing

Published September 12, 2021 at 1:26 PM
BY

If you take a good look at the Montreal Canadiens' defense, it's easy to see that there is a hole. Shea Weber will not play the next campaign, due to the numerous injuries he has suffered in the past few years. His career is greatly compromised because of this. His absence will leave a huge hole on defense, despite the addition of David Savard.

If Marc Bergevin doesn't go for immediate help on defense, the top-six should look like this, in my opinion.

Edmundson-Petry
Romanov-Savard
Chiarot-Wideman

Surplus: Kulak, Norlinder, Ouellet


Am I fully satisfied with Montreal's defense? It's good, but there is an obvious hole. It lacks especially in offensive qualities. Petry and Romanov are alone on their planet in this regard. Wideman has an interesting offensive talent, but he probably won't be able to keep up the pace regularly. Romanov has very little NHL experience, so we don't know where he is in his development. Norlinder will be in camp, but he will inevitably return to Sweden for another season. What about Kulak? He doesn't seem to be considered a starter anymore, despite his valuable services in the past.

What are the two solutions that could be offered to the Habs in the short term to fill this void on the right?

Could Erik Gustafsson make a comeback with the Habs?

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The offensive-minded defenseman has shown some nice things offensively during his short time in town. He's not the most reliable defensively, but with limited ice time at five-on-five and by giving him time on the massive attack, he could help the Canadiens' edition. Norlinder, Wideman and Kulak are clearly not reliable bets at the blue line, so perhaps Marc Bergevin could be tempted to bring the Swede back for a season. He may not be a game changer, but he wouldn't hurt the Habs in terms of a rebound.

Sami Vatanen is the other candidate that could prove to be a worthy pick.

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The Finn is often on the injured list, but when he's healthy, he can greatly help his team. The guard has a powerful shot from the point of support that gives opposing goaltenders trouble. He could be a great complement to a Ben Chiarot, who would cover his defensive shortcomings. An invitation to the Habs camp could be a possibility. After all, a professional tryout doesn't commit you to anything.

Marc Bergevin mentioned at the press conference that his team was complete, but last minute additions are never impossible.
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