Alex Galchenyuk will miss the next six weeks with a broken hand. The Montreal Canadiens winger suffered the injury during the Habs game against the Florida Panthers last night.
Galchenyuk is currently fourth on the Canadiens roster in points. His offense will be sorely missed considering the dearth of production from the Canadiens forwards this season. Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec are the only two Canadiens who are currently on pace to finish the season with 20 goals, resulting in the Habs being in the lower third of goals per game in the NHL.
Six weeks from now leads into the middle of the Olympic break, so it stands to reason that Galchenyuk will return to the Habs lineup on February 26th against the Detroit Red Wings. This means the Canadiens will be without their under-used yet highly skilled forward for fifteen games.
With Ryan White also injured, and George Parros ineffective even if he does return tomorrow night, the Habs will either have to call a forward up from Hamilton, or dress seven defensemen. There are several options on the farm team, such as Louis Leblanc, Gabriel Dumont, Michael Blunden or Christian Thomas.
Galchenyuk’s injury will leave a severe void in the Canadiens lineup. Say the Habs go with a top 6 of Pacioretty-Desharnais-Gallagher, and Briere-Plekanec-Gionta (which is what I expect them to do.) That leaves Eller to center a third line with Rene Bourque who has been terrible this year, and probably Brandon Prust. This might be a decent defensive line, but the Habs need someone to step up and score some goals, and that line is not the answer.
Montreal currently holds down a playoff spot as the second seed in the Atlantic Division. The team has been carried by Carey Price thus far, and he will have to be even better now with a scorer out if the Canadiens are going to hold on to their current standing.