Injuries Continue to Pile Up in Montreal

Montreal

Photo: RDS Video – “Six à huit semaines sans Alex Galchenyuk et David Desharnais”

As many know, Alex Galchenyuk of the Montreal Canadiens left for the locker room during the western road trip in the game against the Los Angeles Kings. At the time of the last article by All About The Habs that touched on the topic, he had traveled with the team to St. Louis and would be evaluated in Montreal later in the week. Well, now is later in the week.

The following game, against the St. Louis Blues, David Desharnais made an early exit after coming down awkwardly while throwing his first hit of the 2016-17 season. Similar to the Galchenyuk situation, Desharnais did not return.

In the same game in St. Louis, Montreal’s defenceman Greg Pateryn suffered what would later be determined as an injury. It is important to note that Pateryn went on to play the entire third period with this injury. So definitely take this moment to applaud Pateryn.

Over the last two days, the news has begun to break regarding the seriousness of injuries that have begun to plague the team.

  • Alex Galchenyuk (knee) – Out for the next 6-8 weeks
  • David Desharnais (knee) – Out for the next 6-8 weeks
  • Greg Pateryn (fractured ankle) – Out for the next 8 weeks

If the projected returns are indeed accurate, do not expect to see Galchenyuk or Desharnais until some time between mid-January to early-February. As Pateryn’s expected recovery is more specific, we can expect to see him back in early-February barring a fast recovery or any setbacks.

Assuming we will not see any of the three before the new year – let us take a look at their individual statistics going into 2017. Alex Galchenyuk leads the Canadiens in points as the team’s first line centre with 9 goals and 14 assists for 23 points in 25 games played. David Desharnais, regularly slotted in as the third line centre had 3 goals and 6 assists for 9 points in 25 games played as well. Lastly, the blue line defenceman Greg Pateryn recorded 1 goal and 4 assists for 5 points in 19 games.

What now?

Montreal

Photo: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images North America

So what is next? That is the question looming over Habs land lately. With the slow starts and declining nature of Tomas Plekanec and David Desharnais, there has been a major criticism of the league’s top team for not having a solid number two centre. Now the situation is made even worse as the listed 1st and 3rd centres on the depth chart are out of the lineup. Hard to knock on Plekanec as of late though, who has stepped up and shown incredible effort and skill with a goal and an assist in Montreal’s last game.

The most likely scenario is that everybody is given a greater role. This is obviously the easiest scenario but it is yet to be seen if it is the most effective. Plekanec is the likely heavy favourite for first line centre at this point. Thursday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils will be the first opportunity to shuffle the lines with the absence of both Galchenyuk and Desharnais. Down the middle (in order) is expected to be Tomas Plekanec, Phillip Danault, Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn. Is this sustainable for the top team in the National Hockey League? We are about to see. Andrew Shaw can play down the middle, we can see glimpses of Sven Andrighetto and Alexander Radulov. However, Head Coach Michel Therrien has made it clear that he doesn’t want to rely on Radulov at centre.

Many have suggested a potential trade as well. The Habs reportedly showed some degree of interest in Martin Hanzal of the Arizona Coyotes for example. Hanzal has 9 points in 20 games played this season. In a time of possible desperation, how much will the Habs have to pay for a top 6 centre is the question.

Look to the Minors

Well let’s take a look at who we can call up shall we? One little problem, the centre position is slightly diminished down there as well. Michael McCarron – the most likely candidate, has missed the last few AHL games with the St. John’s IceCaps due to injury. On the bright side, he was cleared to begin practicing with the team again earlier Thursday. The timetable for his return is unknown.

Charles Hudon is another option that fans love. Although, he was re-assigned to the AHL affiliates on Wednesday due to a cracker sternum. However, he is practicing on the ice again.

Martin Reway remains almost certain to miss the entire 2016-17 season with a heart issue.

Although he is a winger, why not talk about one of our top prospects – Nikita Scherbak? While he could likely make some sort of an impact, he is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury according to Stu Cowan over at the Montreal Gazette.

Is there any good news?

beaulieu

Photo: Getty Images via RDS

We love our readers at All About The Habs so we aren’t going to drop a bomb on your nights without giving some good news. On the bright side – between the NHL and AHL there are still plenty of centres available that will just have to take on greater responsibility and step up.

Also, defenceman Nathan Beaulieu is back in the lineup on Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils. Zach Redmond recovered from a foot injury and will make his debut with the Montreal Canadiens the same night. After missing a morning skate due to illness, Phillip Danault was cleared to play.

 

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