Not only did the Montreal Canadiens luck out by even making the NHL’s expanded playoff field, but they already may be winning the injury battle with their play-in opponent, the Pittsburgh Penguins. While the Penguins announced today that forward Nick Bjugstad suffered a setback in his recovery from a herniated disc and required season-ending surgery, the Habs got the opposite news. GM Marc Bergevin revealed today that core forward Jonathan Drouin will be healthy and active for the team’s playoff series. Drouin only saw 27 games this season due to a litany of injuries, so the team will receive a major boost that they did not enjoy for most of the year. In a healthy 2018-19 season with Montreal, Drouin recorded 53 points and in his last playoff experience with the Tampa Bay Lightning, he was a force with 14 points in 17 games. The Canadiens need Drouin to be at his best if they hope to beat the Penguins, but have to be excited at the mere idea that he could be 100% and ready to contribute to their unlikely postseason run.
- Of course, the Habs also have a serious question to face in the availability of Max Domi. Bergevin spoke to media and noted that the team will put health above all else. What that means is that Domi, a diabetic, may not be able to play if team doctors determine it is unsafe for him to do so. Coronavirus in those with diabetes can cause complications, with WebMD estimating that diabetics are 25% more likely to require hospitalization. Domi has had no prior issues with his Type 1 diabetes during his NHL career, but Montreal will not risk his health regardless. They will need their medical staff to ensure that all necessary measures are being met to make to keep Domi and his teammates safe from infection.
- An Atlantic Division rival of the Canadiens is anticipating an exciting addition to their lineup. Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas announced today that 2019 top pick Nick Robertson will join the team for their playoff run. Dubas had previously stated that he was excited for Robertson to fight for a spot next season, but that timeline has moved up with the talented prospect earning his way onto the team’s expanded postseason roster. Robertson, 18, is coming off a season in which he recorded 86 points in 46 games for the OHL’s Peterborough Petes and also starred for Team USA at the World Juniors. Whether or not Robertson actually plays for Toronto in the playoffs, his inclusion on the roster will be an interesting glimpse into the future for the Leafs.