Noah Juulsen suffered a broken foot on Monday night, and will be out for six weeks. It’s a disappointing outcome for the young Montreal Canadiens defenseman, who just this month was the topic of conversation between GM Marc Bergevin and TSN’s Bob McKenzie. Bergevin at that point said that Juulsen was “very close” to being NHL ready, and would be given a chance to compete at training camp. Unfortunately, this will end that chance.
Juulsen was a first-round pick of the Canadiens in 2015, and made his professional debut last season with the St. John’s IceCaps during the AHL playoffs. While it would have been extremely tough for him to jump right from junior hockey to the NHL this year, he does have an impressive skillset and the ability to make fans jump out of their seats with his open-ice hits. He’ll not certainly start the year with the Laval Rocket (Montreal’s new AHL affiliate) after rehabbing from this injury.
The Canadiens, who dealt away Mikhail Sergachev and Nathan Beaulieu this offseason, will need Juulsen to become a legitimate NHL player in short order. Though Shea Weber, Jeff Petry and Karl Alzner are locked in long term, they’ll need some entry-level players to start filling out the ranks as Carey Price’s big extension comes into play. Jakub Jerabek, another newcomer signed to an ELC, will be an unrestricted free agent after just one season with the club, and could earn a bigger contract right away. Juulsen’s deal, which includes relatively few performance bonuses, could be very important to the team.