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Montreal Canadiens place Sami Niku on waivers

The team is returning to health, means roster space is at a premium.

NHL: JAN 12 Canadiens at Bruins Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens have placed defenceman Sami Niku on waivers.

The defenceman practiced on the team’s fourth pairing at practice on Wednesday with Kale Clague. The team also sent Corey Schueneman down to the Laval Rocket earlier in the day. The 25-year-old was signed before the season ended after he was bought out by the Winnipeg Jets.

He has six assists in 13 NHL games this season. He has dealt with COVID and also injuries this season. If Niku clears waivers, he could be assigned to the Laval Rocket where he was previously the American Hockey League’s top defenceman. It would be a huge boost to the Rocket, who have Schueneman, and Xavier Ouellet returning to the team plus Josh Brook also on the path to return from injury.

He could also be kept on the taxi squad.

Brook was activated from injured reserve and officially sent to the Rocket. Michael McNiven was moved to the taxi squad as Samuel Montembeault returned to practice.

Niku was passed on the depth chart by Clague, who was claimed on waivers a few weeks ago. With forwards Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher approaching a return, eight defenceman on the active roster may no longer be a luxury the Canadiens can afford.