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Canadiens send defenceman Cale Fleury down to AHL's Laval Rocket

Canadiens send defenceman Cale Fleury down to AHL's Laval Rocket

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1. Cale Fleury

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In 41 games this season, Fleury had one goal, no assists and was minus-4 while averaging 14:21 of ice time. The 21-year-old ranked fourth on the Canadiens in hits with 102, trailing Jeff Petry (133), Ben Chiarot (114) and Artturi Lehkonen (105).

Fleury was made a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game Thursday night in Buffalo when the Canadiens beat the Sabres 3-1. Nineteen-year-old centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi was also a healthy scratch in Buffalo.

When coach Claude Julien was asked about Fleury’s situation after practice Wednesday in Brossard, he said: “It’s a numbers game, but also he’s a young player. He’s a big hitter, but there’s a lot of parts of his game he’s struggled with lately. So, you know, sometimes taking a step back’s not a bad thing. We go game-by-game with a guy like him.”

The Canadiens selected Fleury in the third round (87th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft. Last season, the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder played 60 games with the Rocket, posting 9-14-23 totals and was minus-16. The Rocket plays the Belleville Senators at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Laval’s Place Bell. The two teams will meet again at 7 p.m. Saturday at Place Bell.

The Canadiens had the day off Friday before playing their annual back-to-back Super Bowl weekend matinee games at the Bell Centre against the Florida Panthers on Saturday at 2p.m.

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