Montreal GM Marc Bergevin has built himself a pretty deep blueline over the last few seasons, and now he gets to see how truly deep it is.
With Sergei Gonchar sidelined and Alexei Emelin leaving Wednesday’s loss to Ottawa with an upper-body injury, the Canadiens have recalled former first-rounder Jarred Tinordi from AHL Hamilton.
Tinordi, 22, was the 22nd overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and has appeared in nine games for the Habs this year, averaging 12:01 TOI per game. His recall may have come sooner, had he not suffered a concussion during this fight versus AHL Utica tough guy Andrey Pedan:
With Emelin out, Montreal was stuck playing five defensemen against the Sens last night: Andrei Markov, P.K. Subban, Tom Gilbert, Greg Pateryn and Nathan Beaulieu. Mike Weaver, who was scratched on Wednesday, will presumably draw into the lineup and Tinordi will sit as the extra.
It’s also worth noting the Habs have veteran d-man Bryan Allen still down in AHL Hamilton, should their injury woes on the blueline continue. Allen, acquired from Anaheim earlier this season, has appeared in five games for Montreal this season.
Tom Gilbert’s been a consistent presence on Montreal’s back end this season — appearing in all 23 games, while averaging 19:23 TOI per — but on Friday, he’ll be in the press box as a healthy scratch when the Habs take on the Sabres in Buffalo.
Gilbert, 31, signed a two-year, $5.6 million deal with the Habs this summer and started brightly, playing over 21 minutes in eight of his first eight games of the year (during which Montreal went 7-1). The veteran blueliner has seen his ice time diminish lately, though — he played a season-low 14:19 against Detroit two weeks ago, and in his next game out he went minus-3 in a 4-0 loss to Pittsburgh, during which he only played 17:11.
In last Sunday’s 5-0 drubbing against the Rangers in New York, Gilbert’s ice time was cut again as he finished with just over 15 minutes.
Not helping Gilbert’s cause is Montreal’s blueline depth. GM Marc Bergevin has recently acquired veterans Sergei Gonchar and Bryan Allen via trade, giving the Habs plenty of different options on defense.
The 40-year-old looks as though he’ll be paired with Tom Gilbert, and practiced alongside fellow Russian d-man Andrei Markov on the power play. It makes sense that head coach Michel Therrien would quickly implement Gonchar with the man advantage; Montreal’s power play is in desperate need of improvement (third-worst in the NHL at 7.1 percent.)
Tonight’s game is also something of a reunion for Gonchar, as he’ll be taking on his former club — the Bruins acquired Gonchar at the 2004 trade deadline, and he went on to appear in 15 regular season and seven playoff games for the B’s.
After acquiring Gonchar, Habs send Tinordi to minors
Tinordi, the club’s first-round pick (22nd overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, has appeared in nine games this season, notching two assists while averaging just over 12 minutes per night.
The 6-foot-6, 227-pounder was sent to Hamilton while another of Montreal’s young blueliners, Nathan Beaulieu, remained with the club; as a result, the Habs will now carry Gonchar, Beaulieu, P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, Alexei Emelin, Mike Weaver and Tom Gilbert as their seven defensemen.