The Montreal Canadiens have moved three forwards to injured reserve, giving the designation to Joel Armia, Jake Evans, and Juraj Slafkovsky. All three will be out indefinitely, while additional testing is performed. In their place, Rafael Harvey-Pinard and Rem Pitlick have been recalled.
Sean Monahan has also been moved to long-term injured reserve as he continues to rehab, though the team does not he is “progressing well.”
Armia is dealing with an upper-body injury, potentially one suffered on a hit from Jacob Trouba on Sunday. The Finnish forward played over 18 minutes in the game, but now is obviously dealing with something that will keep him sidelined. Armia has just seven points so far on the season and has been a healthy scratch several times, as he struggles to reach the heights that he was playing at a few years ago.
Slafkovsky also played in that game, but saw just over nine minutes of ice time. The top prospect is dealing with a lower-body issue. It hasn’t been quite the season many expected of the big Slovak, as Slafkovsky has just four goals in 39 games. He has shown flashes of high-level scoring ability but is too often overmatched by the speed of the NHL. Several times this season he has been caught with his head down by a heavy check, something he will have to adapt to moving forward.
Evans, meanwhile, may be dealing with the worst injury of the bunch. It at least looked that way when he crumpled at center ice on Saturday, piled on after a faceoff scrum. The 26-year-old forward was playing the best hockey of his season but is now dealing with a lower-body injury that kept him out of Sunday’s game.
If you are a proponent of the “tank,” then losing three regular forwards might be time for celebration. But the Canadiens are also trying to build a culture under head coach Martin St. Louis, and losing Slafkovsky in particular doesn’t help that move forward. The team’s depth will be seriously tested, though Harvey-Pinard and Pitlick are capable replacements.