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As a 38-year-old who sits at No. 6 on the Canadiens defensive depth chart, expectations haven't been set very high for Francis Bouillon in 2013-14. Yet somehow, he has still managed to underachieve.
Bouillon, who has played in all 19 games for the Habs this year, has stumbled to a team-worst minus-9 rating. He also has just two assists on the year and hasn't done much else of anything.
But to be fair to the veteran defender, Michel Therrien hasn't made life easy him.
Bouillon was forced to start the year with a different partner each night, as the coach shuffled Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu in and out of the lineup each game. The fact that both rookies played like, well, rookies, probably didn't help Bouillon's plus-minus rating.
Since Douglas Murray returned to the lineup on October 28, he has been paired with Bouillon. Not much has changed, however, as Murray himself has fallen to a minus-4 and Bouillon hasn't been any better.
It's also quite possible that Bouillon is simply receiving too much ice time at 17:22 per game (compared to Douglas Murray's 13:05). That's a lot of to ask out of someone who is creeping in on 40 years of age.
Bouillon would likely be more effective if he was limited to under 15 minutes of ice a game. That could be done by limiting his penalty-kill ice and replacing him by, say, P.K. Subban.
The bottom line is this: Alexei Emelin returns this weekend and either Francis Bouillon or Douglas Murray will be headed to the press box to make space for him. From a numbers perspective, it certainly looks like it should be Bouillon.