Dalton Thrower has apparently re-injured his ankle after attempting to come back to practice with the Vancouver Giants, and it doesn't look good.
I didn't get a chance to take in a Giants' game this season, but I wanted to so as to catch Dalton in action. Failing that, in a couple weeks time Sportsnet is carrying the Giants vs. Kelowna Rockets game, and I was looking forward to that. So this season-ending injury is kind of a bummer.
Now we have to wonder if he's done enough to earn a contract with the Canadiens. After a difficult season last year, the reports this season have been overwhelmingly positive , but then again they would have to be as a former second-rounder playing as an overager. Still, all the off-ice issues and conflict in the dressing or with the coach which were rumoured last season in Saskatoon have completely dissipated, and Don Hay and the coaching staff have had nothing but praise for him, they've raved about his play and his leadership.
The Canadiens don't have a lot of contract slots available to give out, so that it's not a foregone conclusion that the Canadiens will sign Dalton before his rights expire this spring. Conversely, Dalton may decide not to sign of his own accord if he is offered a deal, he might want to re-enter the draft and land somewhere else. Being made to wait for his contract may have ruffled some feathers.
Practically, the Canadiens have a lot of right-handed defensive prospects in Hamilton or in their system, notably Greg Pateryn, Magnus Nygren, Darren Dietz, Morgan Ellis and others further away in the NCAA like Josiah Didier and Colin Sullivan. Is it possible that the potential difficulty in integrating Dalton onto the Bulldogs' blue line next season plays a role in whether he's offered a deal?
My vote is that we do sew him up, if only for the fact that if he ever makes on the Canadiens as a #6-7 defenceman, he'll be much better suited for occasional fringe fourth-line duty than Marc Streit, Yannick Weber or Raphaël Diaz ever were. I know, that's a pretty arcane consideration, but we have to think about things like that. Imagine Dalton in a couple years time playing right wing with Ryan White, with his big shot and nasty temperament, subbing in while another winger heals up. That's a much more appealing prospect than Yannick Weber there.