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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
Friday was cut down day for the Habs as seven players were sent to Hamilton in advance of the afternoon deadline to declare opening day rosters. Returning to the Bulldogs are defencemen Mike Commodore (who still has a PTO with Hamilton), Jarred Tinordi, and Frederic St. Denis (who cleared waivers today), plus forwards Gabriel Dumont, Michael Bournival, Patrick Holland, and Louis Leblanc.
This means that barring any other roster moves today (such as waiver claims or trades), Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, and Michael Blunden will all be on the opening day roster that will be submitted to the NHL at 5 PM EST today. Considering he has been in the top six all training camp, Galchenyuk's inclusion should be no surprise but the other two are interesting. Gallagher, who was the lone Bulldog named to the AHL All-Star Game yesterday, spent most of the camp as a rotating extra on the fourth line while Blunden hasn't even skated with the team yet beyond Thursday's scrimmage game.
The fact that both Gallagher and Blunden were kept suggests that Tomas Plekanec might not be available for Saturday's season opener vs Toronto. (He is, however, skating with the team at practice.) If he is going to play, that would leave the team with two healthy scratches up front; coach Michel Therrien noted early in camp that if any youngsters were going to be kept up, they weren't going to be sitting often. Petteri Nokelainen is still out with a back injury while Aaron Palushaj (shoulder) will begin the season on Season-Opening Injury Reserve and will count in part against Montreal's salary cap until he is healthy. (He will likely be waived when he receives medical clearance to return to Hamilton.) Carey Price (groin) wasn't 100% after the scrimmage but is expected to start against the Maple Leafs.
There continues to be minimal (at best) dialogue between the Habs and Don Meehan, the agent for P.K. Subban regarding a new contract for the defenceman. At this stage, I'd say the odds are zero percent that he will be in the lineup Saturday night even if he signs today as he has yet to skate with the team.
Here is who remains with the club:
|Forwards (16)||Defencemen (7)|
|Colby Armstrong||Francis Bouillon|
|Michael Blunden||Raphael Diaz|
|Rene Bourque||Alexei Emelin|
|Erik Cole||Josh Gorges|
|David Desharnais||Tomas Kaberle|
|Lars Eller||Andrei Markov|
|Alex Galchenyuk||Yannick Weber|
|Aaron Palushaj (SOIR)||Goalies (2)|
|Tomas Plekanec||Peter Budaj|
|Brandon Prust||Carey Price|