Updated with Pat Hickey’s story from Tuesday’s Montreal Gazette.
The Montreal Canadiens made their final cuts on Monday morning, trimming their roster to 23 players in preparation for the season opener on Wednesday in Carolina.
Rookie goaltender Carey Price will start the season in Montreal as Cristobal Huet’s backup. Jaroslav Halak, who was excellent during his stint with the Canadiens at the end of last season, has been sent to Hamilton.
“We see our roster as having 25 or 26 players, and we have the ability to move players back and forth between Montreal and Hamilton,” GM Bob Gainey said. “Carey will start the season here, but we don’t want either of our young goaltenders to be inactive for an extended period. If he goes two or three weeks without playing, we’ll send him down.”
Also gone is towering defenceman Ryan O’Byrne, who appears to be a victim of the numbers game on a crowded blue line. Maxim Lapierre, who quickly became a fan favourite after his call up last season, will have to go back to Hamilton and start all over again after a poor performance during training camp.
That means forwards Kyle Chipchura and Mikhail Grabovski, as well as defenceman Josh Gorges will suit up for the Canadies this season.
This is from the Canadiens official release:
In two preseason games, Jaroslav Halak played 89 minutes, posted a 1-0 record and a 3.37 goals against average. For their part, Ryan O’Byrne participated in four preseason games, recording 15 penalty minutes, while Maxim Lapierre appeared in five games, amassing six shots on goal and four penalty minutes.