Canadiens Notebook: William Lagesson hopes for a spot with Habs

The Defenseman acquired from Edmonton Oilers in the Brett Kulak trade will become the second Habs player to wear the number 84.

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William Lagesson doesn’t know if he has a future with the Canadians beyond this season.

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Canadiens GM Kent Hughes acquired the 26-year-old Swedish defenseman from Edmonton Oilers on Monday as part of the Brett Kulak trade. The Canadiens also earned a second-round pick in this year’s NHL Draft and a seventh-round pick in 2024 as part of the deal.

Lagson has scored 0-4-4 in 30 games this season for the Oilers. The 6-foot-2, 207-pounder is in the final season of a $1.45 million two-year contract with a $725,000 salary cap and could become a restricted free agent this summer. Oilers picked Lagison in the fourth round (91 total) of the 2014 NHL Draft and in 57 career games over the past three seasons he has had 0-6-6 totals. He also played 11 games for the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors this season, scoring 0-2-2 aggregates.

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Lagson said he has not spoken to Hughes about his situation beyond this season.

“Maybe we’ll have that discussion after the season, but not now,” said the defender. “He called me after (the trade) and welcomed me into the team. He said he was excited to be here.”

Lagesson averaged only 12:20 ice time with the Oilers and he is hoping to play more for the Canadiens, saying that will allow him to gain confidence and improve his offensive game.

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“I think that would happen if you played a few minutes, but you can’t forget what brought you here to the National Hockey League and I’m a good defender,” Laggison said. “So that should be my main focus.

“I would say I’m playing hard, winning my battles,” he added. “Keep the game fairly simple. Move the puck for a fast and powerful defensive game.”

Lagesson was in Colorado with the Oilers when he found out he was being traded on Monday afternoon. The Oilers played Avalanche Monday night, losing 3-2 in overtime, before traveling to Dallas to play the Superstars on Tuesday night, losing 5-3. Lagesson ended up staying an extra night in Colorado before flying to Montreal, but he was only packed for the two-game road trip.

“I think I’m going to have to go some shopping today,” he said.

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The only Canadiens player Lagesson knows is fellow Swede Lukas Vejdemo, who plays for AHL’s Laval Rocket. They were teammates during the 2017-18 season with Djurgardens IF in the Swedish Hockey League.

Lagson had a fight with Canadian Josh Anderson last season.

“I talked to him a little bit,” Lagson said after training on Wednesday. “He seems to be a really good guy. A good player too.

“They seem to be a really good group of players,” added the defender, defending his new teammates. “I met them for the first time this morning, so I’m excited to get to know them better.”

Louis coach Martin said after training Wednesday that he has not decided whether Laguison will play on Thursday when the Canadians face the Florida Panthers at Bell Center. (7 pm, TSN2, RDS, Radio TSN 690, 98.5 FM).

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Lagesson will wear the No. 84 with the Canadians. The only other Canadian player to wear the No. 84 was Guillaume Latendresse from 2007-2010.

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Barron takes 52nd place

Justin Barron, who was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche on Monday as part of the Artturi Lehkonen trade, was given No. 52 by the Canadians.

The 20-year-old’s favorite number is 20, but this one is currently worn by Chris Weidman.

When Barron was told that he would likely get a number 20 if he offered to buy a Rolex Weidman watch, he laughed and said, “I don’t have that money.”

Craig Rivette (1995-2007), Matthew Darchy (2010-2012) and Bud Holloway (2016) were the only other Canadians to wear the No. 52.

Barron was selected by Avalanche in the first round (25 total) of the 2020 NHL Draft. He played his first two games in the National Hockey League this season, failing to score a point, earning a 5-15-20 total in 43 games with a team Colorado Eagles at AHL.

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“I’ve had nothing but a good experience with Colorado from day one,” Barron said. “They gave me the chance to play this year.

“There is a lot of depth in Colorado this year,” he added. “I was fortunate to play two matches this year. It is a great team here. A really good young core and I hope there will be more opportunity for me to play in the matches. I am really looking forward to playing some matches this year and preparing for next year as well.”

St. Louis said it has not decided whether Barron will play Thursday night.

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Barron had a chat with new teammate Cole Caufield on the ice prior to Wednesday’s training.

The last time they were on the ice together was in the 2021 World Junior Championships final, when US team Caufield beat Canada’s Barron 2-0 to take the gold medal.

“He just asked me what my day was like,” Barron said. “Nothing about the young world. It will probably take a while before he starts chirping about it. Just a friendly chat would welcome me to the team.”

Barron’s defensive partner in the World Junior Championships that year was Kayden Gohley, the Canadians’ first-round pick (16th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft.

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Watch and learn

While with Colorado, Barron got a closer look at center Nathan McKinnon and defender Cal McCarr, two of the best players in the NHL.

“How hard it is to compete in practice,” Barron said when asked what he learned from watching these two players. “In the games, how committed they are. It was great meeting Cal this year, getting to pick his brain up a little bit and watching him every day in practice. With Nate, I was able to stay with him last summer, get to know him a little bit. It was nice to be in Colorado. Also. Another guy from Halifax. They are really two of the best players in the world. It really shows how hard they are competing and how much they want to win and improve.”

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Tough for Young Defenders

St. Louis was asked after practice if it was more difficult to play in the NHL as a defensive man than as a striker.

“I think it’s more difficult to play as a youngster because your mistakes are more exposed,” said the coach. “Just like the goalkeeper. Maybe Goalie was a bit tougher when he was young. I think as a striker the mistakes can be hidden a bit more. As a defensive player they are not and sometimes players can lose some confidence because some mistakes end up in the back of the net.

“As a young man, you are probably not prepared to deal with those consequences, kind of talk, in terms of the disk getting into your network and you are part of the cause. It is a difficult situation for me to come into as a young man.”

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Price misses practice

Goalie Carey Price, who has yet to play a game of the season while recovering from surgery last July to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, missed training on Wednesday due to a non-COVID illness.

Nick Suzuki and Jonathan Drouin also missed training, taking a therapy day instead. Brendan Gallagher, who missed Monday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins due to a non-COVID illness, returned to the team on Wednesday but did not participate in training.

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