When training camp started, Mike Hoffman was a notable absentee. At the time, he was ruled as doubtful to take part in camp while he was undergoing testing on his injury. The results of those tests have been revealed and Hoffman is expected to miss the next four weeks.
That means that their top free agent acquisition will not be available for the season-opener against Toronto and will likely miss another four or five games after that. Between that and having no training camp to learn and practice Montreal’s system, Hoffman will be a little behind once he’s cleared to play next month.
The timeline for return isn’t long enough to make him eligible to be placed on LTIR although they will be able to place him on regular IR to free up a roster spot. With Paul Byron out for the first couple of months of the season and thus being eligible for LTIR, the Canadiens will be able to afford to carry a full 23-man roster so it’s likely they’ll transfer Hoffman to IR once the regular season gets underway.
As a result, there will be an extra short-term roster spot up for grabs in training camp. Players like Alex Belzile or Lukas Vejdemo could potentially break camp as a 14th forward or if the Habs prefer, they could carry an eighth defenceman which would bode well for someone like newcomer Sami Niku.
Meanwhile, head coach Dominique Ducharme also indicated today that Brendan Gallagher is expected to be at camp on Sunday after missing the first few days for a family matter. He’s expected to suit up in Montreal’s third preseason game in Ottawa on Friday.