The Montreal Canadiens have been battling injuries for most of the season. The most recent player to add to that long list is Xavier Ouellet who is out with a concussion.
The Montreal Canadiens have been fighting off plenty of injuries this season. They were healthy for the first 19 games of the year and went 11-5-3 in that time. They were flying high among the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Then, the injury bug bit and it hasn’t let go.
It was November 15th when the Habs beat the Washington Capitals with a consistent, convincing, dominant effort. However, they lost Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron to injuries that night and they both just returned recently after missing three months.
They had plenty of company on the injured reserve in that time. Joel Armia, Brendan Gallagher, Victor Mete, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Shea Weber and Matthew Peca all missed time with injuries.
The latest player to be sidelined with an injury is Xavier Ouellet. The depth defender has been called up and is filling in the roster spot that was vacated when Marco Scandella was traded to the St. Louis Blues.
The 26 year old Ouellet was having a fine season for the Laval Rocket, and is their team captain. He had nine goals and 24 points in 39 games before his well earned promotion to the NHL club earlier this month.
He has played seven games for the Habs and has one assist. The native of France has been playing well for the Canadiens in a limited role, recently on the third pairing with fellow call up Christian Folin.
Ouellet was injured in tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals just three minutes into the game and did not return. He was going behind him own net to play the puck and was hammered into the boards by feisty, hard-hitting winger Garnet Hathaway who was flying in on the forecheck.
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Ouellet immediately sort of went stiff as he fell to the ice, and slowly gathered himself back to his feet and remained in the play for several seconds as the Canadiens tried to clear the zone. When he finally got to the bench, Ouellet immediately left and went down the tunnel to the Habs dressing room, not to be seen for the rest of the game.
It was announced following the game that Ouellet suffered a concussion on the play. It’s too bad for Ouellet who will be a restricted free agent this summer and will be looking to earn another NHL look from some team next season. With the Habs struggling, it was a good time for a player like Ouellet to audition for more playing time at the highest level.
With Scandella traded, Cale Fleury demoted to earn more ice time with the Laval Rocket, Mete and now Ouellet injured, the Habs will have to bring someone else up to fill this roster spot. They are slowly running out of options. Otto Leskinen was recently hurt for the Rocket.
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The Canadiens only real options for another left shot defender would be to call up Gustav Olofsson once again or give Karl Alzner a shot to see what he can do. With the playoffs a pipe dream at this point, they may as well call up Alzner and throw him out on the third pairing for a few weeks until someone gets healthy.