The Montreal Canadiens continue to plod their way through a disastrous season and now will have to do it without the help of a prized offseason acquisition. Christian Dvorak is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury and will be evaluated daily. Dvorak has already missed three games since exiting last week’s match against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The team has also announced that Brendan Gallagher and Sami Niku have exited the COVID protocol, but will not practice with the main group yet as they build their conditioning back up. They are expected to rejoin the team later in the week.
Dvorak, acquired from the Arizona Coyotes after the Carolina Hurricanes signed Jesperi Kotkaniemi to an offer sheet, had 12 points in 27 games before going down to injury. The 25-year-old center was playing more than 18 minutes a night, but still scoring at a pace right around his career average. That could be considered a disappointment, given the fact that he told Montreal media he had “more to prove offensively” after leaving the desert. Should this injury force him out for a good chunk of the season, it seems unlikely that he’ll break his career-high of 18 goals or 38 points, both set in the 2019-20 season.
Perhaps more importantly though is that Dvorak was brought in to solidify the center ice position after Phillip Danault’s departure, a position that will once again be in question with him out. That could probably be said about every spot on the ice with the long list of absences Montreal is dealing with, which also includes key players like Tyler Toffoli, Josh Anderson, Joel Edmundson, and Carey Price.
It’s a lost season for the Canadiens, who are now 6-21-3 on the season and ahead of only the Coyotes league-wide. A silver lining? The Carolina Hurricanes are in a solid playoff position, meaning the first-round pick Montreal owes Arizona for Dvorak won’t be their own.