The Joel’s Of Denial

By JD Lagrange – For those who missed it, even with the cover image… Michael Douglas? Kathleen Turner? Danny DeVito? Romancing The Stone’s sequel? The Jewel of the Nile? Okay, enough about Hollywood and movies from 1980’s. But the Montreal Canadiens have not one, but two Joel’s about ready to return.

Assistant captain Joel Edmundson and veteran right winger Joel Armia both skated with the team during Saturday’s morning skate. Both were wearing a non-contact jersey but it looks like they are both hinging closer to a return to play. The return of the two Joel’s will undoubtedly deny a spot for others in the line-up.

At forward

The return of the two veterans also means that the Canadiens’ brass will have to make a couple of tough decisions in order to make room on the roster for both players. This means that one forward and one defenseman will be sent down to Laval in the coming days.

At forward, Juraj Slafkovsky missed the morning skate and the team announced that he is day to day with an upper-body injury. Depending on the timing of Armia’s medical clearance and eventual return, this could potentially delay the decision at the forward position.

In addition to Armia, the Canadiens currently have 10 wingers with the team.

  • Josh Anderson
  • Cole Caufield
  • Evgenii Dadonov
  • Jonathan Drouin
  • Brendan Gallagher
  • Mike Hoffman
  • Sean Monahan (center, but playing wing with Caufield and Suzuki)
  • Michael Pezzetta
  • Rem Pitlick
  • Juraj Slafkovsky

Pezzetta has yet to see any game action so far this season while Pitlick, who was a healthy scratch the last three games, will be taking Slafkovsky’s spot on the fourth line against the Dallas Stars on Saturday night. Both players will have to be placed on waivers if the team chooses to send them to Laval. Slafkovsky obviously doesn’t have to clear waivers to be sent down.

On defense

The Canadiens’ young guys have done extremely well so far this season and the decision will be a tough one too. Here are the seven defensemen on the roster right now, not including Edmundson and Mike Matheson, who will be out a few more weeks.

  • Kaiden Guhle
  • Jordan Harris
  • Johnathan Kovacevic
  • David Savard
  • Corey Schueneman
  • Chris Wideman
  • Arber Xhekaj

Schueneman has already cleared waivers on October 9th and he can be sent down within 30 days from that date. He is the logical choice to be sent back down but it raises the question as to whom the coaching staff will sit in the press box. You do not want a young player to be sitting for too long, a mistake the previous management made with a couple of prospects in the past.

So when the Joel’s return, the dilemma will get real… pending other injuries of course. It could get even more complicated when Matheson is ready to return but let’s not get too far ahead.

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