After losing 167 games to injury last season, CapFriendly reports that the Montreal Canadiens have officially activated Cole Caufield, Sean Monahan, Juraj Slafkovsky, and Arber Xhekaj from the injured reserve today. All four returning players are favorable for the Canadiens, each providing value in their own way, but Montreal has some serious work to do in cutting down its roster at the end of training camp. With Caufield, Monahan, and Slafkovsky officially back in the mix, the Canadiens have approximately 17 forwards ready for NHL minutes, give or take a few. There is still plenty of time for General Manager Kent Hughes to make a move or two to thin out the roster, but Montreal realistically will have to use the waiver wire at the beginning of the season to make the necessary room. Caufield, being the most significant return for the Canadiens, is poised for another stellar season, especially in the goal-scoring department. Finishing 26th in total scoring during the 2022-23 NHL season, none of the blame should be put on Caufield. Last year, only playing in 46 total games before shoulder surgery ended his season early, scored 26 goals, a 46-goal pace over a full season. Other injury notes:
- The Winnipeg Jets will have to wait a bit longer to get one of its best players and one of its best prospects back on the ice for training camp. In a report from Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Free Press, head coach of the Jets, Rick Bowness states that forward Nikolaj Ehlers will miss this weekend’s on-ice sessions due to neck spasms, and recently signed 2023 first-round pick, Colby Barlow, would skate in limited action due to an undisclosed illness. Bowness relays that neither player is expected to miss significant time.
- Amongst the longer-term injury news from the day, the Anaheim Ducks have announced via a press release that prospect Konnor Smith will miss between two-four weeks due to a fractured hand, an injury he sustained during the Rookie Faceoff tournament. Smith was the Ducks’ fourth-round pick of the 2023 NHL Draft, recently playing for the Peterborough Petes of the OHL, scoring three goals and 12 assists in 65 games last year.