The Montreal Canadiens, as well as any other National Hockey League team, are allowed to have as many players as they want on their roster after the trade deadline.
Prior to March 21, teams had to carry a maximum of 23 players on their active roster. After that time has passed, teams must still meet the cap, but can carry more than 23 players if they wish.
The Canadiens are one of many teams to have done this in recent weeks. Although that doesn’t really make much sense.
The Canadiens had nine healthy defensemen on active roster over the past few weeks. That means three defenders sat like healthy scratches each night. One of them was William Lagesson who was acquired on deadline day and only played on the game. He is a pending UFA who was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers in the trade of Brett Kulak to balance wages and contract numbers.
Other players who sat a lot are Kale Clague and Corey Schueneman. That makes a lot less sense than sitting Lagesson down every night since he’ll be leaving the organization in the offseason anyway.
Schueneman played a big role for the Laval Rocket at the start of the season. He scored ten points in 27 games for the Rocket before being called up. The 26-year-old defender is a smooth-skating defender with an attacking spirit who helps kickstart the attack regularly.
The 26-year-old is a bit of a late bloomer who didn’t finish his college hockey career until he was 23. He has proven this season that he is a very effective player at the AHL level and that he also held his victory well in his 24 games in the NHL.
Although a bit older than most prospects, Schueneman has played just 135 professional games in his career and seems to be improving every week. He won’t improve in the press box, so the Canadiens made the right decision earlier today by sending him to the Laval Rocket.
The Rocket have five games remaining in their regular season and are virtually guaranteed to make the playoffs for the first time in their history. Canadian AHL teams haven’t had much playoff success over the past decade, but this year is a chance to make a serious run for the Calder Cup.
Schueneman’s return to a blue line that also features Xavier Ouellet, Sami Niku and Louis Belpedio gives the Rocket a formidable top four.
It also gives Schueneman a chance to continue to develop and perhaps prepare him for the Canadiens’ opening night roster next season.
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