Monday: The Montreal Canadiens are about to lose two big parts of their forward group, as head coach Claude Julien told reporters including Eric Engels of Sportsnet that both Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron need surgery. Drouin’s will be on his wrist and is set for later today, while Byron suffered a knee injury and will go under the knife tomorrow. Both players are expected to be out “weeks.”
Losing two of your best offensive weapons is never a good thing, but especially not in a season where the Canadiens look like legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference. The team is sitting at 11-5-4 through the first quarter of the season, just three points behind the Boston Bruins for Atlantic Division lead.
Drouin was also in the midst of his best season so far in Montreal, with 15 points through his first 19 games. Blessed with incredible puck skills and playmaking ability, there have always been questions about his consistency and commitment to taking the puck to the tougher areas. A lot of those questions had been answered this year and his even-strength production had improved as a result.
Byron meanwhile hasn’t had the kind of offensive success he is used to, but is still one of the team’s most important two-way forwards. After scoring 51 even-strength goals over the last three seasons he has just one on the season.