He helped bring Jeff Petry’s game to a new level. He was one of the Canadiens’ four Clydesdales in the playoffs, logging major minutes on the Habs’ blue line with Petry, Shea Weber and Ben Chiarot. He’s big. He’s strong. He hits and he defends well. He’s also a leader and a goaltender’s best friend. Joel Edmundson is back skating with the team and he’s getting closer to a return from injury, he who has yet to play this season. And that’s extremely good news for a blue line that’s suffering from his loss and the loss of its captain Weber.
It’s no secret, Edmundson will help stabilize the Canadiens’ defense. Granted, he’s not that elusive right-handed top-4 that the Habs so desperately need, but he should still help Petry and the rest of the defense. Don’t be mistaken, he won’t turn the team’s misfortunes around and carry them on his back to the playoffs. He’s not that type of impact player. But instead of losing 6-0, they might lose 3-0 instead. He will also help a penalty killing unit that’s been absolutely pathetic all season.
Edmundson’s return will make for some difficult decisions at the blue line. Alexander Romanov has been playing quite well for about a week now. He could be the one being bumped down to third pairing duty. And it could force Dominique Ducharme and Luke Richardson to reunite a pairing that wasn’t working well together, unfortunately. Ben Chiarot, arguably the Canadiens’ best defenseman this year, might have to play with struggling newcomer David Savard, an experiment that hasn’t worked well the few times they’ve tried.
Edmundson – Petry
Chiarot – Savard
Romanov – ?
The question mark will be a battle between Kulak, Wideman, Niku and Norlinder. However, the Canadiens will have to make room for Edmundson on the roster so don’t be shocked if they decide to send Norlinder back to Sweden for one more season.
Next on the comeback list of impact players: Mike Hoffman and… Carey Price.