Montreal Canadiens: Who Benefits The Most From Tanner Pearson's Injury

Montreal Canadiens v Edmonton Oilers
Montreal Canadiens v Edmonton Oilers / Lawrence Scott/GettyImages

With the news that Tanner Pearson will be out four to six weeks with an upper body injury, it’s next man up time for the Montreal Canadiens.

Prior to his injury, Pearson, a veteran forward who came over from the Vancouver Canucks in an offseason trade, had dressed in all 27 games this season. Playing almost exclusively on the third line, he contributed four goals and four assists while averaging 13:28 of ice time. Pearson also occasionally rotated in for some power play duty on the club’s second unit.

Pearson was a regular on the lineup card who played a real role on this team so his absence should create an opportunity for someone else to come in and fill his skates. Judging by the fact that the Habs opted not to immediately call someone up from Laval, it seems head coach Martin St. Louis is counting on Pearson’s chair at the table to be taken by someone who is already in the building.

From the looks of today’s practice lines, Joel Armia will take over for Pearson on the third line alongside Christian Dvorak and Brendan Gallagher. Despite starting the season in Laval, the veteran Armia should be more than capable of handling additional responsibilities. He has three goals in 12 games with the CH this year.

The injuries to Pearson and Alex Newhook also appear to have solidified Mitchell Stephens’ place in Montreal for the time being. Despite being held without a point in five games, the former Tampa Bay Lightning second round pick has not looked out of place since his call-up and is slated to center the fourth line with Michael Pezzetta and Jesse Ylonen.

We’re all loving how good Juraj Slafkovksy has looked lately on the top line with Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. The limited forward options should keep him there, which can only help to build his already burgeoning confidence.

While everyone that was below Pearson in the pecking order has gotten a bit of a bump up, the player that has benefitted the most by far has been Jake Evans.

Despite scoring just one goal in his first 27 games, St. Louis gave the fifth year man out of Notre Dame a shot to pivot the second line and Evans immediately made his coach look like a genius by notching the Habs lone goal Sunday night against Nashville.

As outlined in a great article by my colleague Tyler Major-Mcnichol, Evans found immediate chemistry with vets Josh Anderson and Sean Monahan. As long as Stephens can hold the fort on the fourth, keeping Evans as the 2C allows the Canadiens to retain better depth throughout their lineup.

With some of their defensemen getting healthy this week, lineup decisions on the blue line have been getting all the attention. However, St. Louis and his coaching staff have also been quietly been shuffling their forward group on the fly. Thus far, they have done an admirable job to ensure that the next man up is in fact the best man up for the job.