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Montreal Canadiens In Organizational Predicament Due To Injuries



Montreal Canadiens training camp

The Montreal Canadiens started the season with a lot of depth throughout the organization, but a rash of injuries puts them in a precarious situation.

The average NHL team usually carries 13 or 14 forwards on their 23-man roster, while being able to ice 12 of them, on average, in a given game.

Lately, due to a lack of forwards, the Canadiens have used 11 forwards and seven defencemen in games, simply due to the lack of available roster spots.

It took injuries to Joel Armia, Juraj Slafkovsky and Jake Evans, and placing Sean Monahan on retroactive LTIR, to finally unlock the roster spots and cap space to call up some reinforcements from the Laval Rocket.

But, in doing so, the Canadiens have left themselves, and their AHL affiliate, extremely thin all around.

The Laval Rocket and Montreal Canadiens only have 12 healthy forwards each on their current rosters after the Canadiens recalled Rem Pitlick and Rafaël Harvey-Pinard on an emergency basis.

With Armia, Evans and Slafkovsky possibly out long-term, and Monahan only due back in a week or so, another Canadiens injury would create an organizational ripple that would force the Laval Rocket or Montreal Canadiens to make a move to increase their organizational depth.

Possible Solutions

The Canadiens currently have 46 of their 50 available contract slots occupied, which means they could always acquire a minor-league player if there’s an immediate need.

A swapping of contracts or a trade for future considerations could be a possibility, especially with the Canadiens having some temporary cap relief, thanks to Sean Monahan’s LTIR contribution.

That being said, the Canadiens would likely refrain from doing so to leave them some flexibility to add contracts prior to the NHL Trade Deadline or sign some NCAA-based prospects after this season ends in April, like Sean Farrell or Jayden Struble.

The usual fix, during these times, for an AHL affiliate like the Rocket would be to sign a flurry of Professional Try-Outs from ECHL players looking to get their shot at a higher level. Those players are usually then released by their club after the fact.

Lack Of Quality

The other downside is that, after Anthony Richard and perhaps Alex Belzile, the Laval Rocket become extremely thin in terms of viable forwards that could provide NHL-quality performances; not that this is a problem for the pro-tank Canadiens fans out there.

Mitchell Stephens and Nate Schnarr simply haven’t lived up to their billing with the Rocket this season, while Jan Mysak remains injured.

This rush of injuries at forward will surely test the fortitude of players like Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Kirby Dach down the stretch, but they’ll likely be saved by the All-Star Break.

The Canadiens will be off for ten days between February 1st and 11th, allowing some of the injured bodies to return, to both the Canadiens and Rocket, in time for the NHL Trade Deadline rush.

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What conditions have to be met in order to call up a kid from junior on an “emergency basis”? I know it’s happened in the past, but I don’t know what has to occur for that to happen.

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