The Montreal Canadiens received some disappointing injury news on Wednesday, most notably to the top pick from the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. A struggling club already dealing with injuries to Brendan Gallagher, Joel Armia, Sean Monahan, Carey Price, Paul Byron, and Kaiden Ghule, both Juraj Slafkovsky and Jake Evans are out of the lineup for a significant amount of time.
Slafkovsky Out 3 Months With Lower-Body Injury
It appears the top pick from this year’s draft will have his rookie season cut significantly short. The Montreal Canadiens announced Juraj Slafkovsky will miss three months with a lower-body injury that doesn’t require surgery. A three-month timeline essentially ends his season after just 39 games as the Slovakia native tallied four goals and 10 points while averaging 12:13 of average ice time.
Slafkovsky’s rookie campaign wasn’t a smooth one as he got off to a slow start before going pointless over what should be his final 15 games of the season. He did, however, see an increased role in his final four games, skating at least 14:37 in the first three before suffering the lower-body injury in a contest against the New York Rangers on Jan. 15.
Evans to Miss 8-10 Weeks
The Habs will be without another young forward for the long term as Jake Evans will miss the next eight-to-10 weeks, also with a lower-body injury.
Evans skated in 43 games for the Canadiens this season, notching two goals and 11 points with an average of 14:22 of ice time in that span. The bottom-six forward broke out with a solid 13 goals and 29 points across 72 games last season but failed to carry that momentum into the 2022-23 campaign.
The initial timeline suggests Evans could return to action in late March, although the far end of the timeline indicates an early-April return. With the Canadiens’ season not concluding until April 13, it’s certainly well within reason that Evans could return to action this season.
Along with the injuries to Slafkovsky and Evans, the Canadiens also announced that both Jonathan Drouin and Joel Armia will be out until the All-Star break while goaltender Jake Allen is out a minimum of one week. All three players are dealing with upper-body ailments.
The Canadiens have to be looking to the sky for answers. The only good news here is that this makes the quest to the bottom, and the chance to land in a lottery spot and potentially draft Connor Bedard a bit more of a reality.
Next: Canadiens’ Caufield, Bruins’ Pastrnak Talking Big Extensions
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