Health is a rare commodity for the Montreal Canadiens this season.
Particularly since the team announced sniper Cole Caufield’s year is done due to a shoulder injury that season-ending surgery.
Caufield joins Kaiden Guhle, Brendan Gallagher, Joel Armia, Jake Evans, Juraj Slafkovsky, Sean Monahan, Carey Price, and Paul Byron on the injured list, yet another significant blow to a team that has a dearth of warm bodies.
But with several players already receiving a promotion to the AHL, the available re-call options are in short supply.
The best player remaining with the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate is clearly Anthony Richard, the high-flying forward who seemingly has a never-ending supply of energy.
However, by promoting Richard for the second time this season, there’s also a risk the team may lose yet another player.
Richard is quickly approaching the 10-games played mark, which means the Canadiens would have to place him on waivers to re-assign him to the AHL once players like Drouin, Monahan and Gallagher return to action sometime by mid-February.
It’s also worth noting the Rocket have found their rhythm lately, and could theoretically make a push for a playoff spot. A Richard re-call would leave them without their only remaining consistent source of offence.
As for Peter Abbandonato and Xavier Simoneau, as it stands, neither player is signed to an NHL contract. A promotion would require using up one of the four remaining contract slots.
— Rocket de Laval (@RocketLaval) January 21, 2023
On the other hand, Repentigny native Joel Teasdale, who has 10 goals in 27 games this season, is in possession of an NHL contract. With an impressive seven shots on net, Teasdale also earned a hat trick in Friday night’s game against the Hershey Bears, leaving him as one of the few AHL options that are in the midst of a scoring uptick, relatively speaking.
— American Hockey League (@TheAHL) January 21, 2023
After Teasdale, the players signed to an NHL deal are few and far between.
There are only three healthy players available: Nate Scharr (14 GP, 1 G, 2 A), Mitchell Stephens (35 GP, 5 G, 8 A), and Lucas Condotta (39 GP, 11 G, 3 A).
Out of the three, Condotta’s up-tempo, physical brand of hockey is probably the best suited for promotion.
There are other options, options that aren’t currently playing professional hockey.
The Canadiens could look to the CHL for reinforcements on an emergency basis, which means Joshua Roy, Filip Mesar, Riley Kidney, and Owen Beck could possibly take advantage of the unfortunate situation in the Canadiens infirmary to make their NHL debuts.
The team could also look to the waiver wire, but anyway you cut it, the team has to re-evaluate their current health protocols to ensure a situation such as the one they’re dealing with at the moment is avoided in the future.