After missing the first 57 games of the 2021-22 regular season with a back injury, Montreal Canadiens defenceman Joel Edmundson will patrol the Canadiens’ blue line once again Saturday night.
Edmundson skated in a non-contact jersey for the second-straight day Saturday morning and after the game-day skate, Montreal Canadiens interim head coach Martin St. Louis confirmed Edmundson would draw into the lineup against the Seattle Kraken Saturday night. Kale Clague is out after being placed on injured reserve Saturday,
Following practice on Friday, Montreal Canadiens forward Jake Evans told the media how Edmundson’s presence on the team’s recent six-game road trip had brought plenty of energy and better music into the Canadiens dressing room.
“He’s just a great guy,” Evans said of Joel Edmundson. “He’s always very positive. It’s been a tough year for everyone, but especially him not even being able to play with his injury. Just seeing him around the locker room, he’s always bringing that positive presence and he’s becoming a true leader on this team. He’s always helping guys out, trying to get everyone involved in things. I’m really looking forward to having him back whenever he’s cleared.
He’s always got good music,” went on discussing Edmundson’s impact around the team. “He always just brings good vibes, good energy, and a good playlist. Last year when he was healthy and playing he was picking everything (for the music) and Suzy (Nick Suzuki) stepped up (this season). It’s a tough role to fill. Suzy’s done OK, but Eddie for the most part has been the go-to guy. I’ve never really talked to him about it, I just assume every time we’re in the dressing that he’s playing his music.”
Edmundson posted 3-10-13 totals in 55 games last season and a plus-28 for the fifth-best plus/minus in the NHL. St. Louis is looking forward to everything the 6-foot-5, 224-pound rearguard can bring back into the lineup.
“He’s a solid, tough-to-play-against defenseman,” St. Louis said of Edmundson Saturday morning. “I’m looking forward to getting him back into some action.”
As for how many minutes Edmundson can and will play against the Seattle Kraken Saturday, the rookie head coach is leaving that to Montreal Canadiens veteran assistant Luke Richardson, who runs the defence and has been working closely with Edmundson during his rehab.
“I’m sure Luke will take care of that,” St. Louis said. “Again, I really trust Luke in those situations. Luke has been here with Joel, seen Joel work on the bench and in the trenches with him; I’ve not. I’m looking forward to that but I’m fully going to trust what Luke is going to do out there tonight with the defencemen.”