Alexei Emelin (Francois Lacasse/Getty Images)
Alexei Emelin could be out for at least six weeks, according to a report. Emelin was part of trade rumors surrounding the Canadiens and losing him will hurt as Montreal pushes towards the playoffs.
If the GM Marc Bergevin wants to improve at the trade deadline, he’s going to have to do so without dealing defenseman Alexei Emelin, who will reportedly be out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.
In Wednesday’s game against the Ottawa Senators, Emelin was injured during the first shift of the evening following a hit from Senators winger Mark Stone. Emelin slid into the boards awkwardly and remained on the ice for nearly 40 seconds before being helped to the dressing room.
According to Eric Engels, a Canadiens correspondent for Sirius XM and the NHL Network, Emelin could be sidelined up to six weeks. Engels Tweeted that Emelin will not require surgery, but the injury to his right shoulder does have him in a sling.
Emelin has been a fixture of trade rumors for the past week, and has been considered the player that the Canadiens are most likely to move at the trade deadline if Bergevin is looking to bolster his roster for a playoff run.
The 6-foot-2, 224-pound blueliner could have drawn some serious interest from around the league, as his deal is quite salary cap friendly at with three years at $4.1 million per season remaining following this season. In 55 games this season, Emelin has two goals and 13 points and leads the Canadiens in hits. He’s also averaging just over 19:30 a night on Montreal’s blueline.
Even if he wasn’t to be moved at the deadline, this could now put pressure on Bergevin to deal for a defenseman to fill in for Emelin. In the meantime, the Montreal Canadiens have called up Jarred Tinordi from the Hamilton Bulldogs. However, Tinordi has only played nine games with the Canadiens this season and 39 in his career.
With how wide open the Eastern Conference is, it shouldn’t come as any surprise if the Canadiens go out and acquire a blueliner to fill the hole left by Emelin’s injury if he’s not ready to return in time for the playoffs. With Carey Price having one of the best seasons of his career and Montreal coming off of an Eastern Conference final appearance last season, the Canadiens have a legitimate shot at contending for their first Stanley Cup in more than 20 years.