The Montreal Canadiens have called up Karl Alzner from the Laval Rocket. The veteran will fill in on an injury plagued blue line after playing well for the Rocket.
The Montreal Canadiens have announced tonight that they called up Karl Alzner from the Laval Rocket. The veteran defender has been playing steady minutes for the American Hockey League team, while earning a big pay cheque from the National Hockey League team.
Alzner signed with the Canadiens on July 1, 2017. He inked a five-year contract with an annual cap hit of $4.625 million. Though he is in just the third year of that five year deal, Alzner has played almost as many AHL games (86) as NHL games (91) since signing with the Canadiens organization.
In 52 games with the Rocket this season, Alzner has one goal and 12 points. He does play a solid shutdown game for the team and plays a huge mentorship role, being partnered regularly with Josh Brook and showing some of the younger prospects how to be a professional. He can slaps still take care of business on a penalty kill.
Always known as a defensive, defenseman the 31 year old defenseman was expected to be a second pairing guy for the Habs for the previous three seasons. He was supposed to step into a top four role alongside Jeff Petry and play the defensive, shutdown role allowing Petry to run more freely in the offensive zone. That plan didn’t quite work out.
Alzner played all 82 games with the Canadiens in 2017-18 after signing here but was a healthy scratch in the following season’s opener. This ended a lengthy ironman streak that dated back to Alzner’s earliest days in the league with the Washington Capitals. Alzner was eventually placed on waivers and after passing through he was sent to Laval.
With the Canadiens, and Laval for that matter, battling lots of injuries right now, Alzner gets the call back to the NHL for the first time in over a year. The Canadiens are missing Victor Mete who was injured blocking a shot earlier this week. His replacement in the lineup, Xavier Ouellet was injured on a big hit from Garnet Hathway when the Habs were playing the Capitals on Thursday night.
They needed to recall someone, and with Otto Leskinen also injured, it was either Alzner or Gustav Olofsson. Olofsson had a short stint with the Habs earlier in the season, and this time it is Alzner’s turn.
By all accounts, Alzner is a terrific person and a really great pro. There is nothing wrong with having a veteran guy like him around to help lead the next crop of prospects who are at the AHL level.
Alzner asp fully deserved this call up due to his solid play with the Rocket lately. He plays a great defensive game, kills penalties, blocks shots and does a lot of little things that not everyone is willing to do. He should get into the lineup tomorrow night as the Habs face the Ottawa Senators.
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Hopefully Alzner plays well enough to stick around for a few weeks and play several more games. He has been a great leader for the Rocket and has earned another handful of games with the Canadiens.