The Montreal Canadiens will be making some changes to their lineup this evening, but it sounds like some of them may be dictated by the cap rather than by general manager Marc Bergevin's desires.
The Canadiens called up veteran forward Corey Perry on Saturday in a move designed to replace another veteran forward in Joel Armia who has been sidelined with an injury. The move in and of itself is all well and good but with Perry and Armia now both on the Canadiens roster it has left them in a rather precarious situation. According to cap tracking website Cap Friendly the Canadiens are now working with just $45,494 in salary cap space, which effectively means the Canadiens have no room to make any other moves at the moment.
There's nothing odd about the addition of Perry but where things may get a little weird is with forward Paul Byron who is a gametime decision this evening ahead of a matchup against the Vancouver Canucks. Although you would expect the Canadiens to replace Byron with forward Michael Frolik, the Canadiens will be unable to make that move and therefore it will be Victor Mete getting the call to replace him. To be clear here the Canadiens would no doubt prefer to have both Frolik and Perry in the lineup, but they have yet to accrue the necessary cap space to allow them to make such a move.
Where things get really interesting however is that Mete's role in the lineup this evening may not be exclusively a defensive one. Although the 22 year old Ontario native is indeed a defenseman, it sounds like he may be used at forward tonight should Byron be unable to answer the bell. Canadiens head coach Claude Julien confirmed to reporters that Mete could in fact see a few shifts with the forward group, so it will be very interesting to see where the defenseman could potentially slot in. Although I suspect that will be somewhere on the 4th line, Julien indicated that the Canadiens do have some experience with Mete in this situation already so we will have to wait and see.
For those of you wondering where Perry will be in the lineup this evening, Claude Julien confirmed on Saturday that he would be slotting right in for the injured Armia alongside Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Tyler Toffoli.