On Sunday, the Montreal Canadiens recalled defenseman Nathan Beaulieu from the AHL for a second time this season after learning that Alexei Emelin will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Beaulieu skated in two games for the Canadiens earlier this season, and had one assist. The loss of Emelin is quite a blow for a Montreal team that has succeeded this season thanks to a steady defense that contributes on both ends of the ice. The Canadiens were already without Raphael Diaz, who hasn’t played since February (concussion). He has returned to the ice but there is no definite timetable for his return to game action. Given the way the Canadiens have played this season, there is no need to rush him back, either.
Emelin has played in all 38 games this season, and has three goals and 12 points. The Canadiens are now incredibly fortunate that they obtained Davis Drewiske at the trade deadline, as he gives the team a player with experience that can step up and start playing more minutes. P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov have led the way all season for a defense that has contributed 24 goals this season. Beaulieu likely slides in to the third pairing with Francis Bouillon.
The Canadiens selected Beaulieu 17th overall in 2011, and he has seven goals and 28 points for the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL this season. Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk have been great additions for the Canadiens as rookies this season, and now Beaulieu will get a chance to make his mark as well.