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Canadiens Place Gallagher On IR, Roster Moves Coming

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens placed Brendan Gallagher on Injured Reserve, a sign that some roster movement could be on the way.

According to CapFriendly, the Canadiens placed Gallagher on IR on Friday, despite the forward having been declared unavailable for two weeks due to injury.

The Canadiens now have 22 players on their active roster with Mike Hoffman, Jonathan Drouin and Gallagher on IR.

Both Drouin and Hoffman are to be reevaluated on Saturday during the morning skate to see if either is ready to jump into game action.

Both veterans, who have been out of the lineup for weeks now, practiced on Friday with regular contact jerseys and looked close to making a return.

The Strategy

By putting Gallagher on IR on Friday, the Canadiens gave themselves some roster flexibility.

What they do next will depend on the health of Hoffman and Drouin.

If one of Hoffman or Drouin is healthy, then they will be activated and will be added as the 23rd member of the Canadiens’ roster.

If both players are deemed to be healthy, then the Canadiens have a little bit of a conundrum on their hands with 24 healthy bodies, as someone will have to be sent down to Laval.

The most logical player to send down would be Rem Pitlick, as he is on emergency recall at the moment with the Canadiens and doesn’t require waivers, but then who will play centre on the fourth line?

If both forwards return to the lineup and Pitlick is reassigned to Laval, then the Canadiens will likely be forced to break up their top line and slide Kirby Dach back into the centre role, as Sean Monahan is injured.

The Backup Plan

But the assignment of Gallagher to IR also provides the Canadiens with a backup plan, should neither of their veteran forwards be ready to jump into game action tonight.

By having the open roster slot, the Canadiens could recall, under the basis of an emergency recall, a Laval Rocket player in order to play in Saturday’s game.

A player most deserving of such a recall would be scoring forward Anthony Richard, who currently leads the AHL in goal-scoring with 15 goals.

His addition to the fourth line would bring some much-needed speed and tenacity to a line that has failed to make a difference for the Canadiens over the last two months of hockey.

He can play centre, but is primarily used as a left wing, making him a useful player for Head Coach Martin St-Louis.

Calling up Richard would also be the least disruptive move for the lineup as we speak, as it would ensure Juraj Slafkovsky stays in the top six and the top-3 lines remain untouched.

The Montreal Canadiens are on the clock, or rather Assistant General Manager John Sedgwick is, and a decision is expected to be made before 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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