“He’s a guy that carries himself with a lot of class,” veteran defenseman says about 22-year-old teammate. “He leads by example.”

Article content

General manager Kent Hughes has already said the Canadiens will have a new captain next season.

advertisement 2

Article content

The question is who will it be?

Defenseman Chris Wideman believes 22-year-old Nick Suzuki is ready for the job if the Canadiens decide to give him the “C”.

“There’s nothing that I’ve seen from him that doesn’t say captain,” Wideman said about Suzuki after Friday’s morning skating at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard. “He’s a guy that carries himself with a lot of class. He leads by example. He’s been our best player every night, basically. He’s a guy that you know you can count on. I’ve really enjoyed getting to play with him and getting to know him and excited to see where he takes his career from him. ”

The Canadiens didn’t really have a captain this season since Shea Weber never played a game because of injuries and it looks like his career is likely over. Weber was hardly ever around the team, but he did show up at the Bell Center Friday night for a pre-game ceremony honoring longtime equipment manager Pierre Gervais. It was the last game of the season for the Canadiens and the last of Gervais’s career, since he is retiring.

advertisement 3

Article content

Weber was joined at the ice center to honor Gervais along with former captain Bob Gainey, who wore the “C” when the equipment manager first joined the Canadiens for the 1987-88 season.

Weber, who will turn 37 on Aug. 14, spent all season on the long-term injured reserve list. He still has four seasons remaining on his 14-year, US$110-million contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $7,857 million. However, Weber will only earn $3 million next season and $1 million in each of the last three years on his contract from him. Hughes has already said he will try to trade Weber and his contract with him during the off-season. His contract from him would help a team looking to meet the minimum NHL salary cap while saving money since his salary from him is so low compared to the cap hit.

advertisement 4

Article content

Suzuki is the only member of the Canadiens to play in all 82 games this season. Heading into Friday night’s game, I led the Canadiens in scoring with 21-39-60 totals. Cole Caufield ranked second, 20 points behind Suzuki with 20-20-40 totals.

advertisement 5

Article content

Whether he’s named captain or not, Suzuki has a long future ahead with the Canadiens. His new eight-year, US$63-million contract kicks in next season with an annual salary-cap hit of $7.875 million. Suzuki had an $863,333 salary-cap hit this season in the final year of his NHL entry-level contract.

Wideman’s future is uncertain heading into the off-season. The 32-year-old can become an unrestricted free agent after playing on a one-year, US$750,000 contract this season. Heading into Friday night’s game, Wideman had 4-22-26 totals in 63 games and was minus-27.

If Wideman doesn’t re-sign with the Canadiens, he hopes to land a job with another NHL team after playing last season in the KHL, where he was named the league’s top defenseman after posting 9-32-41 totals in 59 games with the Nizhny Novogorod Torpedo.

advertisement 6

Article content

Advertisement 7

Article content

“I think when I signed a contract in the summer and if you would have told me you’re going to play in the first game and the last game (with the Canadiens) I would have called bul—-,” Wideman said. “But I’m super-thankful for the opportunity. I would love to be back and I hope that can happen. But if not, I hope there’s a team or two out there that think I could contribute because I believe that I can and I think that I’ve shown that I’m able to do that. … On a personal level, getting the opportunity to come here and play was something I didn’t think would ever be possible. I’m sure grateful for the opportunity and it’s been a great experience.

“I would love to come back,” Wideman added. “I don’t think I’ve been shy about that. Organization is unbelievable, city has been amazing. My wife and I have really enjoyed our time here. But the group of guys, the young guys in particular that I’ve been able to become close with, it’s just having a lot of fun. I may not be a part of this team when they win a Stanley Cup, but it will be really fun to celebrate what these guys do and I’ll be able to watch and root them on. I think that there’s really good things coming for this team and I’d love to be a part of it moving forward.”

[email protected]


advertisement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user follows comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your e-mail settings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.