Despite being lauded for his trade deadline moves, Montreal Canadiens general manager finds that his team is struggling, much because of the team’s sudden roster inflexibility. The team has already used up all but one of their post-deadline recalls, bringing up Xavier Ouellet, Alexander Romanov and Paul Byron immediately after making the trades to acquire Jon Merrill and Erik Gustafsson as well as putting defenseman Victor Mete on waivers (and losing him to Ottawa). Most of these moves were made to accommodate the loss of Mete and the pending additions of Merrill and Gustafsson, both who have to quarantine for seven days before being able to join the team.
Now, with just one recall remaining and quite a few games left to go this season, head coach Dominique Ducharme doesn’t have many options to make roster moves, according to The Athletic’s Arpon Basu (subscription required). One significant issue the team could address is the sudden poor play of Eric Staal. Despite scoring the game-winning goal in his debut, Staal has struggled in the seven games he’s played since, scoring no points with just seven shots and boasting a minus-eight plus/minus. However, the team doesn’t have the ability to replace him in the lineup for a game or two with energy-man Jake Evans, who currently is sitting on the taxi squad since they are not ready to use their final recall.
That leaves the team with multiple roster issues for the next few weeks until the team is ready to spend their final recall.
- Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornby writes that Toronto Maple Leafs’ newly acquired Nick Foligno and Ben Hutton will have their seven-day quarantine expire in a couple of days. However, it remains unknown whether either player would join the team for their five-game road trip that starts today due to their quarantine as well as the recent COVID-19 breakout that forced the postponement of three Toronto Marlies’ games. Of course, getting both Foligno and Hutton into the Toronto lineup so both can pick up their system is crucial.
- The Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins writes that the Edmonton Oilers have another internal candidate they should consider when it comes to boosting their offense: Ryan McLeod. The 2018 second-round pick has had a great season in the AHL so far with 14 goals and 28 points in 28 games. At $834K and the ability to play center, he could be a valuable chip for the team as the playoffs approach.