Rabid Habs

Is It Time For Alexei Emelin To Retire?

Habs' Alexei Emelin

After a nasty shoulder first hit into the boards during February 18th’s game against the Ottawa Senators, it was announced that the Habs’ defenseman Alexei Emelin would be out for approximately six weeks.

With his possible return date being April 1st, that would leave just five games left for Emelin to catch up and get ready for the playoffs. Since Alexei’s absence, the Canadiens’ defense lines have never looked better. Both Jarred Tinordi and newcomer Greg Pateryn, who had both been called up from Hamilton while Sergei Gonchar and Emelin recover, have shown efficient puck-moving and extreme mobility. With the strong pairing of P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov, the Habs’ defense have never looked and played better.

While Emelin can hit everything in sight and drive any opposing team crazy when he’s on his A game, the 6 ft 2 (220 lbs) defenseman as of late has been known for his puck giveaways and his non-existent positioning in front of the net. The 28 year old has a $4.1 million cap hit and three more years left with Montreal, which means a trade would be hard to make. Even though he does every now and then bring unique skill to the Habs, his constant struggle brings up the question: Should Alexei Emelin simply retire as a Hab or should he work on improving himself in order to stay with the Canadiens?

When looking at the pros, Emelin is a physical force and being built like a tank has given him some quite memorable hits to his name. He also has some offensive skills, with his semi-hard shots – collecting two goals and 11 assists so far in the 2014-15 season. However, since his painful knee injury due to trying to take out Milan Lucic against the Boston Bruins on April 6th 2013, his game has been pretty much ‘down in the dumps’. Even though surgery did help repair his torn ligament in his left knee, Emelin has now found himself lost on the ice. Being out of position while trying to make hits with the puck on his stick isn’t pretty to watch on the nights the Canadiens need his offensive force the most. Although he’s a talented player and has shown that he can be a hard working top four guy, it seems that Alexei is still searching for his pre-injury form.

All in all, Alexei Emelin has been unreliable both at home and on the road and even though the Habs have improved their defensive pairings to make their overall game effective, the strong force of both the rookies and the veterans will only last for so long until Emelin’s return. So, should Alexei Emelin stay or go?

The good news is, there is still time for Emelin to work on keeping the pucks away from the net and to shoot intelligently from the point. Despite his struggle to find consistency, Emelin’s road to retirement is most likely a long ways away and he may possibly come back a stronger defenseman. However, if the struggle continues into the playoffs and the 2015-16 season, it will boil down to the point where Alexei Emelin will have to either deal with a trade (most likely to a team who will place him as a healthy scratch or just not give him much ice time) or consider an early retirement. Until then, it’s a much needed lights out for ‘Emelin Boom.’

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @strucxtures.