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Attack congestion: Michael Pezzetta to be balloted sooner rather than later?
When Michael Pezzetta set foot in Montreal, the Canadiens needed a player like him. Through difficult times when the team was searching for itself, in the philosophical aftermath of a Stanley Cup Final, Pezz used his plague skills to energize the club and upset the opposition.

With all the injuries this year, #55 played more than 60 games in a Habs uniform. He has been rewarded with a two-year contract starting next year and ending in 2025.

However, it’s legitimate to ask serious questions about his role with the Tricolore next year. Based on Montreal’s current line-up on paper, we can anticipate that he will be the team’s 14th or 15th forward.

And with Arber Xhekaj the new sheriff in Montreal, ready to defend his teammates from the likes of Lucic, Reaves, Tkachuk, Gudas, Bertuzzi and company who form the new core of Atlantic heavyweights, one wonders if his role is still paramount in an increasingly fast and talented group of forwards.

As Farrell, Beck and Roy (and Lias Andersson?) push for an NHL roster spot, could the Habs put Pezzetta up for grabs this season? Does he still fit in with the team’s philosophy, despite the two-year contract he signed? Admittedly, it’s rare to see a player who’s been given a two-year contract be placed in the ballot.

(Credit: YouTube)

However, it can also be argued that being put in the bin doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be claimed. It’s possible that the Habs feel it’s a good risk to take, and that the loss wouldn’t be catastrophic. Let’s face it, the easy option is to send Rafaël Harvey-Pinard to Laval, as he won’t yet be eligible for the ballot. But if he performs as he did last year, it would be a slap in the face for the Quebecer, who could then have amply earned his place.

If he simply doesn’t make the club and starts the season in Laval, that solves one problem… but it means not calling him up afterwards.

In short, the congestion among the Canadiens’ forwards will be quite interesting to follow, and training camp looks promising in this respect. Unfortunately for Pezzetta, a crowd favorite, the Habs’ fine bank of prospects may end up taking away his regular NHL spot.

That’s unless Kent Hughes manages to unload the contracts of players like Mike Hoffman, Christian Dvorak and Josh Anderson. In this case, it’s arguable that Pezzetta’s presence, at $812,000 a year, is more beneficial to the club.

Stay tuned this fall!

On the move

– Settled.

– Carlos Alcaraz defeats Novak Djokovic.

– Nice catch.

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