The Habs made a roster swap on Thursday in advance of their game against Pittsburgh, recalling Cole Caufield from AHL Laval. To make room on the roster, Alex Belzile was sent to the Rocket.
Caufield struggled out of the gate with the Canadiens this season, recording just one assist in ten games which ultimately resulted in his demotion to Laval at the beginning of the month. In six games with the Rocket, his production improved with two goals and three assists but his defensive game was an issue which makes this move a bit of a surprise.
It also emphasizes the desperation on Montreal’s part as two weeks with the Rocket isn’t enough for Caufield to work on the various things he was sent to work on; no, it he wasn’t sent down just to get a couple of goals. With the Habs only carrying 12 healthy forwards for the time being (there are eight defencemen and three goalies on the active roster), Caufield should be in the lineup tonight against the Penguins.
As for Belzile, the 30-year-old leaves after his longest career NHL stint, one that lasted eight games. He was held off the scoresheet in those contests while averaging just 7:46 per game. Worth noting is that since he hadn’t played in ten games, he was able to be sent back without having to go through waivers. He’ll rejoin a Laval team that just pulled off quite the comeback on Wednesday, coming back from a 5-1 deficit in Toronto to beat the Marlies 6-5 in a shootout.