Just over a month after the Montreal Canadiens were forced to reckon with the fact that Kirby Dach wouldn't play another game this year, the team is bracing for another long injury absence.

“Forward Alex Newhook will be out for approximately 10 to 12 weeks due to a high ankle sprain,” the team announced on Saturday.

It's an awful blow for a team that is already shorthanded, and struggling with offensive talent as it is. Newhook had been one of the club's best players in 2023-24, tied for fourth in scoring with seven goals and 13 points in 23 games.

Newhook was seeing time playing on both the top line with Nick Suzuki, as well as at his natural center position with sniper Cole Caufield on the second line. He was thriving with his new team in 2023, and the injury couldn't have come at a worse time for the Stanley Cup champion.

Newhook injured in win over Blue Jackets

The injury itself occurred in the third period of the Canadiens' 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night. The 22-year-old lost an edge and slid feet-first into the net. He was helped off the ice by the training staff, and didn't look like he was able to place any weight at all on his left leg.

If the timeline holds up, Newhook won't be an option for this team until well into 2024, and it's unlikely to think the team will still be competitive for a playoff berth by then.

As it stands, the Habs are starting to fade away into insignificance in the Atlantic Division. Montreal is 10-11-2, good enough for seventh place in the division and third-to-last in the Eastern Conference.

Alex Newhook was acquired by the team in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche over the summer. Montreal gave up a haul for the youngster, sending a first and second-round pick back to Denver, along with a prospect.

The St. Johns, Newfoundland native was selected 16th overall by the Avalanche in the 2019 NHL Draft. He won the Stanley Cup with the team at the conclusion of the 2022 postseason.

With Newhook shut down, it's likely that coach Martin St. Louis will load up the top line with Suzuki, Caufield and Sean Monahan going forward.