The third week is yet another busy week of NHL injury and activation transactions. Because of the flat cap and oddity of this season, teams have been forced into getting creative with the injured reserve (IR) and long-term injury reserve (LTIR) lists accordingly. It has also made for a big jump in transactional activity!
Of course, this also begs the truly valid question: what would any avid hockey fan do without capfriendly.com? Like seriously, that crew is amazing and continue to make the site more valuable to users – a sincere tip of the cap.
Now on to this week’s injury transactions.
The big news on Sunday was the return of Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn. The Victoria native had been sidelined with a lower body injury but activated in time for the Stars rematch with the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh on Sunday. The big man did not disappoint in his return by adding a goal and assist during a 4-3 shootout loss Sunday afternoon.
The Boston Bruins also welcomed back sniper David Pastrňák and he was able to add an assist on a late, game tying goal (Charlie McAvoy) against the Washington Capitals on Saturday. Boston also activated defenseman John Moore on Saturday after he had been placed on the IR two days earlier. Moore did not dress against Washington.
The Arizona Coyotes activated 31-year-old goaltender Antti Raanta from the IR on Wednesday, but he did not start either game after that point. Former Portland Winterhawk Adin Hill had been backing up Arizona starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper during Raanta’s absence. Hill has not yet been sent back to the Taxi Squad so perhaps Raanta still needs a couple of more maintenance days before he provides Kuemper a rest.
There were also a couple of odd transactions that are another indicator of the increased activity in 2020-21. Firstly, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Philippe Myers was placed on the IR on Tuesday and then re-activated on Saturday. Similarly, and partially noted last week, was the retroactive addition to the IR of Ottawa Senators, Tim Stützle, last Saturday. The young German sensation was then activated from the IR on the 25th – just two days later.
Long Term Injured Reserve Adds
The Vegas Golden Knights placed stalwart defender Brayden McNabb on the LTIR on Wednesday. The injury is undisclosed, but he is a big loss for the Knights as he is normally good for 20 plus minutes of steady, solid play a night.
The Pittsburgh Penguins needed to shelve two defensemen and two forwards to either the IR or LTIR this past week. Most notably, winger Zach Aston-Reese was added to the LTIR with a lower body injury. Additionally, defenseman Juuso Riikola and Evan Rodrigues were added to the IR on Tuesday and then transferred to the LTIR along with Aston-Reese on Thursday. Lastly, the Penguins also needed to place 24-year-old Swedish defenseman Marcus Pettersson. Tough week for Pittsburgh.
After what I considered a solid 2019-20 and playoffs, 23-year-old Anthony Beauvillier only registered an assist through his first five New York Islander games this season. An injury helped explain his slow start and as such he was placed on the IR with a lower body ailment last week. He missed the weekend action and is listed as day-to-day.
Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz has not played a game this season due to an undisclosed lower body injury. He was placed on the IR last Wednesday and there is no clear timeline for his return. Two days later, Avalanche winger Matt Calvert was also put on the IR. It does not sound good for the Manitoban as he is listed as ‘out indefinitely‘ with what is believed to be concussion related complications.
As noted earlier, Philadelphia Flyers defender Philippe Myers had a quick stint on the IR this past week. When he was activated, the Flyers then placed Sean Couturier on the IR. It sounds as though he will need at least a few more weeks before his ribs can take any physical action. The former 8th overall selection from 2011 has transformed himself into a great NHL pivot and leaves a big gap up the middle in Philadelphia.
Lastly, a couple of late Minnesota Wild injury reserve updates to report. Mats Zuccarello has been transferred to the LTIR. The Norwegian winger has yet to play a game this season after needing arm surgery in December. That news would indicate he needs further healing and could mean his return is no longer imminent. Defenseman Matt Dumba was also placed on the IR Sunday after awkwardly fall Saturday night against the Avalanche.
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