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Canadiens’ Dvorak Injury Exposes his Trade Value 

Christian Dvorak Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens will need to build an addition to their team infirmary as the 12th player this season has been added to the long-term injured list. The club announced on March 15 that forward Christian Dvorak had undergone successful knee surgery in New York and will miss the remainder of the season. He is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for the 2023-24 season.  

For a team decimated by injuries, losing another player has further strained the system, causing a trickle-down effect that has hurt the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate’s hopes at a playoff spot as the Laval Rocket have dropped to sixth in the AHL North Division Standings with 58 points in 59 games, two points back of the Belleville Senators, who have played 60 games. The playoffs aren’t out of reach, but losing six players to the Canadiens has made it more difficult. 

Losing Dvorak will be felt in other ways as well. He provides value to a young team in need of veteran support and defensive play. However, his abscence also demonstrates his trade value in the long term may be more impactful than what he provides on the ice. 

Canadiens’ Situation 

Dvorak is a serviceable middle-six center who is best suited for a third-line role on a playoff team. The 27-year-old winger is in the fourth year of the six-year contract signed with the Arizona Coyotes in 2019. That contract expires in 2025 and pays him $4.45 million per season, with a modified no-trade clause (eight-team no-trade list) that comes into effect on July 1.

Related: Canadiens’ Injury Issues Need to be Solved for Future Seasons 

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Dvorak is one of the veterans who head coach Martin St. Louis relies upon most, especially defensively. With Nick Suzuki playing an average of over 21 minutes per game and relied upon for over 25 minutes in several games since the All-Star break, Dvorak’s role in alleviating Suzuki’s defensive responsibilities was essential, especially now that Suzuki is the only bona fide NHL center on the roster. 

Christian Dvorak, Montreal Canadiens (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

When Dvorak is playing a strong two-way game with a focus on transitional play, he fits in with the the style of play head coach St. Louis is working on building in Montreal. This season, he hasn’t quite lived up to expectations, however, with zero goals and 28 points in 64 games, averaging 16:52 in ice time per game while leading the Canadiens with a 52 percent faceoff success rate,…

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