Montreal Canadiens Spotlight: Palushaj claimed; Weber a victim of depth

Rich Lam / Getty Images

Rich Lam / Getty Images

By James Stephan (@J_Habs)

On February 5, 2013 the Colorado Avalanche claimed Montreal Canadiens forward Aaron Palushaj. Palushaj had been put on waivers a day earlier after being cleared to play, and it finally looked like the Hamilton Bulldogs were going to get some much needed offensive relief.

Palushaj was acquired by former Habs GM Pierre Gauthier from the Blues in exchange for goal scoring forward Matt D’Agostini. The Michigan native was viewed by many as a promising forward during his 2007 draft year; however since then he’s had some difficulties producing beyond the AHL level.

While Palushaj may not have been the offensive gem the Canadiens hoped for, the struggling Bulldogs could have certainly used his offensive touch as they’ve been gasping for an offensive spark all season.

Rookie GM Marc Bergevin has been hard at work these past few months, from deciding to keep Gallagher and Galchenyuk who have been on a tear in the NHL, to signing restricted free agent P.K. Subban. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if the Habs brass went out to acquire some promising talent that could help the Bulldogs for the immediate future, as well as being a valuable asset for the Canadiens in the long run.

It’s been speculated that Yannick Weber is the odd man out, as he is falling by the wayside due to a strong depth at the blue line. To make matters worse, Jared Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu are just a couple of defenders that are eyeing the seventh defenseman roster spot on the Montreal Canadiens, and while Beaulieu is likely another full year in Hamilton away from making an impact in the NHL, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if Tinordi gets the call in the event that injuries occur.

Rumors had been circulating that the Carolina Hurricanes have some interest in the Swiss defender. Hurricane’s head coach Kirk Muller has a history with the young defender, and could be legitimately interested in his services.  With the loss of Palushaj to waivers, it is not unrealistic to think the Montreal Canadiens may make a move to acquire an offensive forward in an attempt to bolster their forward depth, as well as giving Weber a new home where he’d play a more important role. Currently no names have been rumored aside from Weber, but one would imagine that the Swiss native would like to play sooner rather than later.

The Detroit Red Wings have been absolutely battered on the blue line, with Hall of Fame defender Lidstrom retiring plus a series of injuries, and they are rumored to be actively looking for a defender. When Diaz, Zetterberg, and Brunner were lighting up the Swiss league during the lockout, the Red Wings had kept an eye open, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if they did the same with Yannick Weber. While Weber is by no means a top pairing blue liner, he does bring a wealth of NHL experience for a 24-year-old, and possesses enough offensive acumen to play the point on the power play, which are not easy qualities to find for someone under 30.

Montreal fans are eager get their first glimpse of how Bergevin executes transactions as pro scouting has been an Achilles heel for the historic franchise. Many are hoping that’s a thing of the past.

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