Habs lines, February 19: Phillip Danault returns

The Canadiens are getting a much needed boost with the return of one of their top centres.

After a disastrous Western Conference road trip that saw Montreal plummet to the bottom three in the NHL standings, the team departed for Philadelphia with two major pieces also making the trip. Both Phillip Danault and Andrew Shaw rejoined their teammates after extended absences - Danault due to a serious concussion after he took a Zdeno Chara slapshot to the head, while Shaw has been out since before the All-Star break recovering from an undisclosed lower body injury.

For the Habs, it appears Phillip Danault might be ready for game action, as he slotted into his usual spot in the lineup at this morning’s practice.

Skating on the “fifth line” behind Nic Deslauriers, Logan Shaw, and Daniel Carr is the trio of Jacob de la Rose, Byron Froese, and Andrew Shaw. This seems to indicate that this group of players is unlikely to be ready for tomorrow’s game against the Flyers, or that Shaw is not fully prepared to handle game duties yet.

If Danault and Shaw are both healthy, the Canadiens will need to clear one more roster space for them after returning Nikita Scherbak to the Laval Rocket. Any of the potential candidates will need to pass through waivers at this point, as the 10 game/30 day threshold has been passed.

On defence, Jakub Jerabek bizarrely continues to be a healthy scratch in favour of Joe Morrow playing top four minutes alongside Jordie Benn. This, however, appears to be Claude Julien’s way forward for the time being, as news about the ongoing recovery of his top defender Shea Weber came out today as well, and it wasn’t overly great.

It has to be said that Weber is almost immeasurably tough to have suffered this injury in the first game of the year, then played on it for a few months before it knocked him out potentially for the season. If losing him this year means Montreal gets him back 100% next year, and lands a top 3 pick in the draft, it may be wise to shut him down for the time being and let him focus on getting healthy.

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