With a number of players slated to be absent or game time decisions for Friday’s matchup against the Senators, the Habs turned once again to Hamilton for help patching up their roster. Andreas Engqvist was the first Bulldog to be called to Montreal after finishing the game against the Americans with one goal, one assist and a +3 differential.
“Engqvist has been playing very well in Hamilton and he also had a good camp with us. He has a lot of experience playing internationally, he’s very defensively minded,” noted Habs’ head-coach Jacques Martin, who already knows just what spot the young Swede will fill in his lineup. “I think he’s the ideal guy for replacing Halpern right now.”
Engqvist, a four season veteran of the Swedish Elite League, is well aware of the role he’s expected to play for the Canadiens and is ready to answer the call.
“I really like to contribute on the penalty-kill. It’s an extremely important job. It’s been something I’ve had a lot of experience with over the course of my career so I know what I have to do. I always try to pitch in as much as possible offensively, but I think I’ve fallen into a much more defensive role this season in Hamilton. It’s really my strength,” explained Engqvist after his first practice with the Habs.
“For me, being able to wear the Canadiens logo is an honor. I’ve always dreamed of playing in the NHL and Montreal is the greatest organization in the league,” Engqvist continued. “I’m definitely feeling a little nervous, but I’m mostly excited. I’m really hoping that I can make a good impression. It’s a little different than playing in Europe, but I’m getting used to it more and more with each game I play.”
Having played two seasons in the Swedish Elite League, Lars Eller has faced off against his new teammate on several occasions. He knows what to expect from Engqvist and promised that he’d rather be playing with him than against him any day.
“He’s the kind of player you find yourself not wanting to play against. He’s got an excellent defensive game,” admitted Eller. “You might not notice him all the time on the ice, but that’s only because he’s so good at doing his job.”
Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Justin Fragapane.
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