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Congestion on the Canadiens’ blue line is imminent
At the moment, the Canadiens have seven defensemen in their active line-up. They are Mike Matheson, Gustav Lindstrom, Justin Barron, Jayden Struble, Kaiden Guhle, Mattias Norlinder and Johnathan Kovacevic.

For the past few games, Norlinder has been the extra. He and Struble have been called upon to take the place of Arber Xhekaj and Jordan Harris, who are currently on the injured list.

And let’s just say that Struble and Norlinder know they’re living on borrowed time – especially Norlinder, who hasn’t yet had a chance to play in the NHL this season, despite his fine training camp.

Why do they know this? Because, eventually, the reinforcements will be back.

In fact, when you look at the whole picture, it’s easy to come to the following conclusion: a few injured players are about to return, which will put pressure on the guys in place.

First, it’s worth mentioning that Arber Xhekaj, expected to return to action this week, skated this morning, as reported by Renaud Lavoie. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll play tonight, but he could be back soon. How about Saturday? Who knows.

We also have to talk about David Savard. After all, as reported in an old Renaud Lavoie column, Savard should be back in the first few days of December.

He’s been skating for a few days now… and again this morning, he skated with the others.

What this means is that, if all goes well, two defensemen should be back in the game soon. And that’s without counting Jordan Harris, who is also on the injured list and whose absence is indeterminate.

Chris Wideman, he- ah pis laissez faire.

Because the Habs have three goalies and 13 forwards, they must only have seven defensemen. Norlinder and Struble, though undeserving, are candidates to return to Laval if Xhekaj and Savard return soon.

Among the healthy guys, Kaiden Guhle and Justin Barron aren’t eligible for the waivers… but don’t hold your breath: they’re in town to stay. Also note that Gustav Lindstrom is about to have to go through the waivers again to potentially go to Laval, if that’s what the CH wants.

The problem will be bigger if Harris, Xhekaj and Savard return before someone else gets hurt… but we’re not there yet.

But when it comes to congestion, the main thing to consider is that the Habs are logically only dressing six defensemen per game.

If Savard is there, you might think that bringing him along with Mike Matheson could help the club’s cause. Especially as Guhle and Barron, at the moment, form an excellent top-4 duo that doesn’t deserve to be dismantled.

This would mean that Lindstrom, Kovacevic and Xhekaj would have to fight for the right to play a few minutes a game instead of going into the stands. This would surely push Norlinder and Struble back to Laval.

And that’s where congestion would also have an effect. After all, there are four guys there who can be contractually recalled: Brady Keeper, Nicolas Beaudin, William Trudeau and Logan Mailloux, who have been virtually guaranteed NHL playing time this season. They’re fighting it out with Struble and Norlinder.

Do you want some in-house battling? It’s about to become an issue… unless some of the guys get injured again.


– Does Josh Anderson deserve to skip his turn? The question is increasingly being asked.

– This is a big deal in MLB.

– Still.

– What do you think?

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