The Montreal Canadiens started with 0ver 70 players, an incredibly high number that only dwindled significantly in the final week of their training camp.
After several rounds of cuts, which included sending 2023 first-round pick David Reinbacher back to Switzerland to play with EHC Kloten, not to mention assigning veteran Joel Armia to the AHL, the team has trimmed the roster size down to 27 players.
And Then There Were 27
Forwards (15, 1 injury)
Josh Anderson, Cole Caufield, Kirby Dach, Jake Evans, Brendan Gallagher, Rafael Harvey-Pinard, Sean Monahan, Alex Newhook, Tanner Pearson, Michael Pezzetta, Juraj Slafkovsky, Nick Suzuki, Jesse Ylonen, Emil Heineman, Christian Dvorak (injured)
The Defence (9, 1 injury)
Kaiden Guhle, David Savard, Johnathan Kovacevic, Arber Xhekaj, Jordan Harris, Mike Matheson, Justin Barron, Mattias Norlinder, Chris Wideman (injured)
The Goaltenders (3)
Jake Allen, Samuel Montembeault, Cayden Primeau
Montreal Canadiens Brass Tacks
There’s a possibility that they simply sent Armia to the minors in anticipation of a trade, or to be compliant for the opening-day roster as they try to figure out other ways to move players. The Canadiens could also end up recalling him once they put a player on the long-term injured reserve.
But for now, we will work under the assumption that the Canadiens simply placed Armia in the AHL to create a roster space and alleviate some of the salary cap concerns.
Once we move Wideman and Dvorak from the equation, the Canadiens still have 25 players at camp. That’s two more than the allowed 23-man roster, which must be submitted by 5 PM e.t. on Monday.
If the Canadiens decide to keep Primeau in the NHL, they will need to cut one player on defence, as well as one forward.
Among forwards, it probably comes down to Jesse Ylonen, Emil Heineman, and Michael Pezzetta for the last spot if we’re discussing who deserves to be there.
But it’s also worth noting that Heineman does not require waivers to be assigned to the Rocket, which may end up being the deciding factor for Kent Hughes and Co. unless there’s another move in the pipeline that would open up a roster spot.
As for the defencemen, the final spot is likely to come down to either Justin Barron or Mattias Norlinder. Neither player requires waivers, and both are in key stages of their development. They need ice time, and playing as the seventh defenceman isn’t the best way to go about it, but such is life in the NHL.
Are you happy with the current 2023-24 Montreal Canadiens projected lineup? Do you think they should have made different decisions? Is there someone heading to the AHL who deserves an opportunity to play in the NHL in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below!