Canadiens expected to shop for a top-four defenceman and send down Sergachev

The Hockey Night in Canada panel go over all the new around the NHL, including the Montreal Canadiens looking for help on the blue line, what the Calgary Flames should do with Matthew Tkachuk and what the NHL is doing with All-Star voting.

Montreal Canadiens rookie defenceman Mikhail Sergachev was not in the lineup again Saturday night, making it the fifth straight game he was made a healthy scratch. With just three games played, he can still suit up for six more before a season is burned off his entry-level contract.

The Habs can either keep him up, or return him to major junior and the Windsor Spitfires.

According to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos on Saturday’s second intermission Headlines segment, it appears as though the Canadiens will send Sergachev back down for more development and ice time.

“He had a terrific training camp, but he’s finding himself on the outside looking in as far as ice time is concerned, but I think it’s a foregone conclusion that he will be sent back to Windsor with a great start and a blue line that looks OK.”

Last week, Sportsnet Canadiens reporter Eric Engels discussed Sergachev’s situation and even suggested that the ninth overall pick from the 2016 NHL Draft could have his nine-game tryout dragged out until December.

In the three games Sergachev has played, he’s been held pointless and has earned no more than 11:48 of ice time and actually received less than nine minutes in a 4-0 win over the Penguins.

When the Habs do send Sergachev to the OHL, Kypreos said it’s expected they’ll try to fill the roster spot via trade and bring in another defenceman to both contribute and ease the burden on Shea Weber and 37-year-old Andrei Markov.

“The other feeling is besides sending him back to junior is they will now be shopping for another defenceman, preferably a guy that can step in and play in the top four.

“They’re really concerned about the ice time still, the weight on the shoulders of Shea Weber who many feel ran out of gas towards the latter part of last season. And also Markov, they’ve gotta back off of Markov’s minutes.”

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