Following Tuesday’s loss to Toronto, the Habs have trimmed their training camp roster by four, sending Gabriel Bourque, Gianni Fairbrother, and Rafael Harvey-Pinard to Laval while placing Michael Pezzetta on waivers.
None of the moves should come as much of a surprise – Bourque was on a minor league deal, Fairbrother and Harvey-Pinard are youngsters who impressed but need more development, and Pezzetta has brought energy in the preseason but likely wouldn’t be able to keep up on Montreal’s fourth line.
The Canadiens still technically have 32 players in training camp (including Shea Weber who is out for the year) but most of their remaining cuts will be dictated by who is and isn’t healthy. Sami Niku, Mattias Norlinder, and Joel Edmundson are all injured on the back end while Cedric Paquette, Mike Hoffman, and Paul Byron (who is likely LTIR-bound to start the season as well) are all injured up front while Carey Price’s availability is still in question. (Paquette and Niku both skated before practice.)
As things stand, the Habs effectively have 24 healthy players, including prospects Kaiden Guhle, Cayden Primeau, Ryan Poehling, Jesse Ylonen, plus AHL veteran Alex Belzile is still on the roster as well. If no one gets cleared to play between now and the start of the season, the only other cut they’d have to make right away is a goalie, likely Primeau since he’s waiver-exempt and Samuel Montembeault isn’t. Accordingly, watch for news on the injury front over the next few days as that will ultimately determine how many more cuts are made before Monday’s season-opening roster deadline.