Alex Newhook Set For Return To Colorado

Montreal Canadiens v Edmonton Oilers
Montreal Canadiens v Edmonton Oilers / Lawrence Scott/GettyImages

The Montreal Canadiens made two significant trades with the Colorado Avalanche, and the second one holds some weight ahead of tonight's matchup.

Alex Newhook was acquired by Habs general manager Kent Hughes on June 27th, in exchange for a 2023 first and second-round selection. The lone player acquired by the Avalanche was defenseman Gianni Fairbrother. Newhook was out of the lineup with an injury the first time around this season.

So this matchup will hold some weight, regardless, of whether he admits it or not; these types of matchups spark a feeling of wanting to prove the old team wrong for giving up on you. Newhook has had himself a pretty solid season production-wise, despite missing time. He is six points shy of matching his 30-point total from last year, though he has only suited up for 43 games.

Certainly, it will bring back memories and it gives Newhook a little extra motivation to play a great game, although he has been solid of late. Another player will be hosting his former team, Jonathan Drouin. With 46 points through 68 games, Drouin is on pace to match his career-high 53 points, which he hit once with the Canadiens (2018-19) and once with the Tampa Bay Lightning (2016-17).

But back to Newhook, who struggled to play centre with the Avalanche; in a role that saw him wrestling to establish himself as the club's second-line centre. It's peculiar how it came full circle and he is once again playing as the Canadiens second-line pivot. Of course with Kirby Dach returning in October, he will shift to the wing; but he has done a respectable job at centre.

Newhook was quick to recognize how important the Avalanche were for his career. But he is happy with his new team and ready to start the next chapter as a visitor to Denver. For a player still developing there was a tremendous amount of pressure on his shoulders and I believe that the situation in Montreal is a better one for his development.

With two goals in his last game against the Seattle Kraken, Newhook will look to keep his productive ways rolling. And while the Avalanche are full of his former buddies, in any other situation he might be pulling for them. But tonight is a different story, there are no friends until the final whistle blows.

Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar spoke highly about Newhook, his former player. He enthused about Newhook being a player that always helped the team win. Bednar said he has a soft spot for the speedy forward.

Newhook will flank Joel Armia and Rafael Harvey-Pinard, a decent trio given the circumstances. But one that is very telling of why the Habs struggle offensively. Armia has been playing some of the best hockey of his career in his own right, and RHP plays a meat-and-potatoes game that should work well with his linemates.