The Montreal Canadiens released their full 23-men roster on time for the season opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs and it left many people with question marks. As anticipated, the Habs used up the cap relief from injured players such as Shea Weber, Carey Price and Paul Byron in order to be cap compliant.
Here are the players who will start the season in Montreal:
Tyler Toffoli – Nick Suzuki – Cole Caufield
Jonathan Drouin – Christian Dvorak – Josh Anderson
Joel Armia – Jake Evans – Brendan Gallagher
Artturi Lehkonen – Matthiew Perreault – Cedric Paquette
Ryan Poehling – Adam Brooks – Alex Belzile
INJ: Mike Hoffman, Paul Byron
Brett Kulak – Jeff Petry
Ben Chiarot – David Savard
Alexander Romanov – Chris Wideman
INJ: Shea Weber, Joel Edmundson, Sami Niku
Player Assistance Program: Carey Price
The biggest surprise is seeing the Canadiens only going with six defensemen to start, considering their early schedule of three games in four nights. Montreal is in Toronto Wednesday, in Buffalo Thursday, have no games on Friday and are back playing their home opener on Saturday against the New York Rangers. Of course they can recall a defenseman during that time span but one has to wonder why they didn’t keep Kaiden Guhle for those games instead of keeping three additional forwards.
Or perhaps Sami Niku, who is skating with the team, is only a day or two away from being fully healthy and they will send one of Ryan Poehling or Alex Belzile down to Laval? We’ll find out soon enough.