The Montreal Canadiens are getting hit by the injury bug of late, putting three more players on Injury Reserve; resulting in some cap gymnastics.
The Canadiens’ recent stint in the Big Apple this weekend proved to be very costly, as they lost the services of Jake Evans, Joel Armia and Juraj Slafkovsky in the process.
Jake Evans was injured on a harmless faceoff draw that saw Brock Nelson fall on Evans’ leg after the draw. The Canadiens centre required the help of his teammates to get off the ice, and needed assistance to get down the tunnel.
Armia and Slafkovsky were both seemingly injured in the game against the New York Rangers. Armia took some heavy punishment against the Rangers, especially at the hands of bruising defenceman Jacob Trouba, while Juraj Slafkovsky also got roughed up in the defensive zone; resulting in the rookie having to leave the game early.
With the Canadiens having just under $700,00 in salary cap space, they were unable, at that moment, to make any call-ups with their three forwards going on IR; as you do not gain cap space when you place a player on Injured Reserve.
That predicament necessitated another move before being able to call up reinforcements.
Having been out of action since the start of December, Sean Monahan was theoretically eligible for retroactive Long-Term Injury Reserve (LTIR) since late December.
However, not requiring any additional cap space at the time, the Montreal Canadiens simply left Monahan on IR until he eventually returned from his injury. With his current rehab tabled to come to its conclusion by month’s end and the Canadiens requiring immediate cap relief, Monahan was placed on retroactive LTIR, thereby offering the Canadiens $6.375M in extra LTIR relief space.
This isn’t an admission that the Canadiens centre will be out any longer than he’s expected to be, as the Canadiens confirmed he’s continuing his rehab as we speak.
All it does is offer the Canadiens a window of time and some cap space in order to get them some much-needed reinforcements.
With the LTIR being retroactive, the Canadiens could take Monahan off at any time, and will likely be able to do so once Mike Matheson and Jake Allen return to play sometime this week.
After all these roster moves and some cap gymnastics, the Montreal Canadiens recalled Rem Pitlick and Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, the Laval Rocket’s two hottest forwards (along with Anthony Richard) for help.
Rem Pitlick has exploded in the AHL as of late, posting four goals and 11 assists for 15 points in just eight games. He’s able to play both centre and wing, offering the Canadiens some flexibility down the middle in case they wish to return Kirby Dach to the top line.
As for Harvey-Pinard, the hard-working winger has seemingly found his scoring touch again. After a very slow start to the season, Harvey-Pinard now has 15 goals and ten assists for 25 points in 37 games.
The energetic winger is the perfect replacement in the bottom six for the Canadiens, as he plays with a relentless motor and is always in the middle of the action. He could provide a much-needed jump in energy to the fourth line.
The Canadiens announced they would provide an update later in the week as to the health of their injured players, where we will learn more about the extent of each player’s injury and their timetable to return.