Even though Max Pacioretty will be out of action for 12 weeks with a knee injury, it will not require surgery. So that means if he heals precisely according to plan, Pacioretty will be ready to go five days before the Canadiens open their season against the Toronto Maple Leafs. If he’s a quick healer, he might be ready even sooner.
So it’s probably best to save your summer angst for something else. The Canadiens announced their top scorer injured his knee – they didn’t say which one – during an off-ice workout in Florida Thursday and is expected to be out 12 weeks. That would take him to Oct. 2 and the Canadiens don’t open their season until Oct. 7. But the best news is that the injury does not require him to go under the knife.
“Our team doctors are not talking about surgery at this time,” said Canadiens spokesman Dominik Saillant.
That has to be a massive sigh of relief to Canadiens fans and the organization. The Canadiens have enough trouble scoring to start with and the absence of the only forward who can find the back of the net with any level of consistency would have been a killing blow to them. If Pacioretty does get back in time, he might get off to a slow start trying to get his legs back under him, but he’s a veteran who should be able to find his form fairly quickly. We’re not talking about an entry-level guy who would be negatively impacted by missing three valuable months of development time.
So really, there is absolutely no need for the Canadiens to alter their off-season plan in light of what has happened to Pacioretty. There’s no need to fill a hole that doesn’t really exist by going out and doing something absolutely ridiculous, such as, say, signing Alex Semin to a contract. The Canadiens are still in desperate need of offense and have to essentially build a third line. That hasn’t changed, with or without Pacioretty.
But the last thing the Canadiens should do is rush to sign a bad fit to fill a need that should be filled by the time the puck drops for real in October.