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Adam Engstrom will be in the NHL for the long haul, says former Habs defenseman
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
The most obvious observation that can be made about the current situation with the Montreal Canadiens is that there are clearly too many defensemen who could be playing in the NHL next season.

A mix of veterans, youngsters almost established in the NHL and up-and-coming prospects is creating congestion on defense for the Habs.

Clearly, important decisions will have to be made for the 2024-2025 season.

At the moment, without a transaction, the Habs have 11 defensemen who could play in the NHL with the Habs next season.

Mike Matheson, David Savard, Kaiden Guhle, Arber Xhekaj, Jordan Harris, Johnathan Kovacevic, Justin Barron, Jayden Struble, Lane Hutson, Logan Mailloux and David Reinbacher represent these 11 defensemen.

Only seven or eight will remain in the NHL, and it’s important to note that Jordan Harris, Justin Barron and Johnathan Kovacevic will all be eligible for waivers next season.

They will therefore have to be made available to the 31 other NHL teams if they are cut from the team with the aim of sending them to the AHL.

The worst part of all this is that we can add another name who should be joining the Habs organization as early as next season.

That name is Adam Engstrom.

The 20-year-old Swedish defenseman has been playing some excellent hockey in the Swedish Premier League (SHL) for the past two seasons.

He has established himself as a reliable two-way defenseman with one of the SHL’s top teams, Rögle BK.

His good performances have earned him good comments from his teammates, including one who confidently asserts in an interview with Patrik Bexell of Eyes On The Prize that Adam Engstrom will be playing in the NHL for a long time to come.

Indeed, that’s what Brandon Davidson, a former Montreal Canadiens defenseman who currently plays with Engstrom at Rögle, said.

Davidson, who played 23 career games with the Habs in the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons, sincerely believes his fellow defensive pair will play for many years to come in the NHL.

“He’s a terrific player, and I believe he’ll be playing in the NHL for a very long time.” – Brandon Davidson

These are fine words from someone who has had a front-row seat to watch the Montreal Canadiens prospect develop.

Davidson explains that Engstrom has greatly improved his 200-foot game, something he needed to work on, and that he now has all the tools he needs to become an excellent NHL defenseman.

The Swedish defenseman is playing some very important hockey right now in the SHL, as Rögle is in the playoff final after surprising everyone by sweeping his first three opponents.

The first game of the final series is currently underway.

Engstrom’s unexpectedly long playoff run prevented him from finishing the season in North America with the Tricolore.

This seemed to be the plan of the Habs’ management, but Engstrom’s playoff run was greatly prolonged, and he is now expected to sign his NHL entry-level contract for next season only.

It will be very interesting to see if the 20-year-old defenseman can make his mark at training camp, when he’s clearly behind the likes of Hutson, Mailloux and Reinbacher, who already have some pro experience in North America.

There’s a lot of congestion on the blue line, so it’ll be up to Engstrom to find a way to make his mark.

Engstrom could certainly be a nice surprise next season, even if he is left-handed.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on him.

To find out more, here’s Patrik Bexell’s excellent interview with Brandon Davidson.

In a gust

– Don’t miss today: the first two games of the 2024 series.

– Up next for the Islanders ahead of today’s game.

– Progress for the Caps.

– The Bruins have the support of the Boston women’s team.

– Interesting.

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