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Montreal Canadiens Still Need Rem Pitlick Even if Just for Depth

Rem Pitlick Montreal Canadiens

It’s practically a miracle Montreal Canadiens forward Rem Pitlick avoided injury against the Colorado Avalanche on March 13. Going head first into the boards against the Avs, Pitlick seemed destined for the injured list, even if only because just about everyone else on the team has made an appearance.

Montreal Canadiens forward Rem Pitlick – (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

That’s not even an exaggeration, with only one skater, Nick Suzuki, having appeared in all of the team’s games this season (heading into Thursday night action). For his part, Pitlick has played 36 games so far. He started the season with the Canadiens, but was a frequent healthy scratch, getting waived and sent down in early November, 12 games into the schedule, of which he played just seven (going scoreless).

Pitlick Stands Out as Depth Option

The fact he’s since gotten in as much action as he has is of course a testament to the Canadiens’ incredible amount of injuries, as they get set to match if not surpass the man-games lost record they set in 2021-22. However, there’s an argument it’s at least slightly to do with a degree of reliability they feel in him as a depth option. After all, of all the Canadiens to have made appearances with the Laval Rocket in the American Hockey League this season, Pitlick has played the most games with the Habs.

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Granted, Pitlick’s numbers leave something to be desired. However, after he pleasantly surprised last season as a waiver-wire pick-up with 26 points in 46 games as a Hab, the regression we’re seeing now was always part of the plan. With just 11 points this season, Pitlick is hardly producing in the same vein as the hypothetical top-six forward some optimists may have thought the Canadiens had on their hands during his hugely successful 2021-22 rookie season, when it was anything but anticipated as such.

Related: Likeliest Canadiens Candidates to Regress in 2022-23

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Of course, Pitlick’s regression was to be expected, at the very least based on the team’s increased depth up front this season. For some perspective, Pitlick got 17:17 per game last season. He’s at 12:34 in 2022-23, and that’s taking into account the increased ice time he’s received since the start of the calendar year, at times getting looks with Suzuki on the top line. Granted, most of the breaks he’s getting right now are due to the injury situation, but he’s…

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