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Top-3 Montreal Canadiens Players At Risk Of Losing Their Spot

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Montreal Canadiens forward Jake Evans

With the 2022-23 season in full swing, the Montreal Canadiens have enjoyed their fair share of pleasant surprises throughout the roster.

Samuel Montembeault has exceeded all expectations, Cole Caufield has become one of the league’s best 5v5 goal scorers, Nick Suzuki has evolved into a dominant presence at both ends of the ice, and the four rookie defencemen have navigated the difficult transition to the NHL with aplomb.

However, there have been a few flies in the ointment among the exciting storylines.

Jake Evans

The Canadiens’ fourth-line centre has been given a very difficult assignment. He’s played with the vast majority of the roster, featuring on 14 different line combinations in just 21 games. He’s rarely given offensive zone starts and is the most utilized forward on the penalty kill.

However, he’s also failed to register a single goal this season, earning just two assists since the start of the year.

It’s a harsh evaluation, but the fact remains his underlying numbers are well below replacement and his production is almost non existent.

Evans is signed to a three-year, $1.7 million AAV contract, and at 26 years old there is certainly hope he will regain is form in the future, but his current usage is overwhelming the centre.

A more offensive role would be suitable, but given the current logjam upfront, it’s doubtful Evans will receive a promotion.

Michael Pezzetta

The feisty forward has been rendered somewhat redundant by the sudden emergence of rough-and-tumble defencemen Arber Xhekaj.

Pezzetta, who scored 5 goals and 6 assists in 51 games last season, is yet to see his name on the scoresheet in 8 games with the Canadiens this season.

It’s not that Pezzetta hasn’t earned a spot on the roster, he’s easily one of the hardest working, most dedicated players in the organization, but the middleweight fighter won’t be given a promotion to the top 9, effectively making him a low-producing fourth-line winger with very few, if any, scores to settle.

Joel Armia

Armia is coming off one of his best games of the season, a strong showing against the Chicago Blackhawks. But as has been the case throughout the last few seasons, strong performances have led to very few scoring opportunities for the Finnish forward.

He has also been held scoreless in 10 games for the Montreal Canadiens this season.

He still has one of the most unique skill sets in the league and is a force to be reckoned with when he engages in board battles, but the fact of the matter is he hasn’t cracked the 30-point mark since 2019-20.

 

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