PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 21: Jonas Gustavsson #50 of the Toronto Maple Leafs braces for a shot by Blair Betts #11 of the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on September 21, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Your Montreal Canadiens have made several small moves this afternoon to shore up the roster heading into tomorrow's season opener.
The series of moves began yesterday when Michael Blunden was put on waivers in order to be sent down to Hamilton.
In continuing cuts, Aaron Palushaj was assigned to the Bulldogs this morning. Palushaj had an underwhelming training camp, but he got much better as the camp went on. Considering he doesn't need to pass through waivers, he's likely the first call up this year in case of injury. He will be the go to guy in Hamilton for offense, along with Brock Trotter.
Jeff Woywitka was also cut, being put on waivers today for the purposes of sending him to the Bulldogs. Woywitka had an up and down camp, looking okay at some points and terrible in others. His defensive work was the weakest part of his game, and a lack of physicality for his size is evident. He seems to be the guy who's mental game is just a step slow for the NHL.
The most important move today was the waiver claim of Blair Betts. A penalty kill specialist and solid faceoff man with size, he allows the organization to send Andreas Engqvist down to Hamilton. Engqvist was seriously unimpressive at camp, but kept around due to an injury to Eller and a lack of options. While Betts fills the need for a 4th line guy to kill penalties and win faceoffs, he doesn't supply the Habs with a right handed faceoff man.
TORONTO – Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced today that forward Blair Betts has been claimed off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers, while forward Andreas Engqvist has been assigned to the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs.
Betts was held pointless in three preseason games with the Flyers, recording 3 shots on goal. In 75 games with the Flyers in 2010-11, the 31-year old centreman registered 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists). One of his goals was tallied on the penalty kill and two were game-winning goals. He added 8 penalty minutes and 51 shots on goal. Since 2001-02, Betts has amassed 78 points (41 goals, 37 assists) in 477 regular season games with the Calgary Flames, New York Rangers and Flyers.
The 6’03’’, 210 lbs forward was the Flames second round pick (33rd overall) in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.
In six preseason games with the Canadiens, Engqvist registered one assist. The 23-year old centreman recorded 3 shots on goal.
The Canadiens will open their regular season on Thursday, October 6 against the Maple Leafs, at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Their first home game will be played on Thursday, October 13 against the Calgary Flames, at the Bell Centre.