Author: Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images
Penguins put Pouliot on injured reserve, expected to be out for ‘a while’
By: Jared Clinton
Oct 21, 2016
Derrick Pouliot has struggled to find solid footing in the NHL, and the 22-year-old hit another bump in the road when he fell injured in his season debut Thursday.
The hope in Pittsburgh was that this would be the season that 2012 first-round pick Derrick Pouliot found his way into a full-time role and made an impact on the Penguins’ blueline. If that’s going to be the case, though, it’s going to have to come after Pouliot returns from injury.
Pouliot got his first crack at the lineup Thursday against the San Jose Sharks, and after playing 12:29 and registering one shot on goal through the first two periods of the contest, Pouliot was forced out of the remainder of the game with an undisclosed injury. Post-game, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said he had no information about the injury to Pouliot, and the outlook doesn’t look good for the young rearguard.
It was announced Friday that Pouliot has been placed on injured reserve, and Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said he expects the 22-year-old to be sidelined for more than just a game or two.
Pouliot falling injured so early in this campaign makes for another bump in the road for the youngster, who has had big expectations surrounding him since being drafted eighth overall by the Penguins in 2012.
It took until the 2014-15 campaign for Pouliot to make his debut in the league, but he has found himself bouncing back and forth between the NHL and AHL for much of the past two seasons. In fact, Pouliot has seen a near equal split of time between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scrantion, the home of the Penguins’ AHL affiliate, but he hasn’t been able to translate his minor league performance to the big club.
In 57 NHL games, Pouliot has just two goals and 14 points and hasn’t been given a role as much more than a third-pairing or seventh defenseman, averaging less than 15:30 of ice time during the 2015-16 season. In the AHL, Pouliot has been much more successful, notching 14 goals and 47 points in 68 games while steadily skating top-four minutes.
With Pouliot sidelined, the Penguins have brought 26-year-old David Warsofsky up from the AHL. Warsofsky skated in 12 games with Pittsburgh in 2015-16, scoring one goal and averaging 17:45.
Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine.
Author: Dave Sanford/Getty Images
THN Roundtable: Which rookie not named Matthews or Laine has been most impressive so far?
By: The Hockey News
Oct 21, 2016
The top two picks from the 2016 draft aren't the only rookies worth talking about. Here are our picks for the most impressive performances from players other than Matthews and Laine.
The 2016-17 NHL season may become known as the Year of the Rookie. It's still very early days, but there are a number of first-year players playing big roles, and impressing in big ways.
A total of 29 teenagers began the season on NHL rosters, and two of them already have scored hat tricks. Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine went No. 1 and 2 in the 2016 draft and so far they've not disappointed. Matthews made headlines by scoring four goals in his first game, and Laine bested Matthews on Wednesday by scoring three goals in a Jets win over the Maple Leafs.
But they're not the only rookies worth talking about. Here are our picks for the most impressive rookie performances so far -- from players other than Matthews and Laine.
Zach Werenski, Blue Jackets
Zach Werenski has carried over the momentum from his dominant AHL playoffs, in which he stepped in for his first pro action right out of the University of Michigan. He played seven regular season games for Lake Erie and was a crucial reason why it won the Calder Cup. Now he seamlessly has transitioned to the NHL with the Jackets, already playing major minutes and toiling on the top power play. He has been an elite prospect since even before the Jackets drafted him eighth overall in 2015, so none of this is a fluke. Werenski is a stud and a legit Calder Trophy candidate. Or, he at least would be in a non Matthews/Laine year. (Matt Larkin)
Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs
He’s ninth in rookie scoring, the third-highest scoring first-year player on his team, and currently sits second-last among freshmen in plus-minus, but Mitch Marner is everything the Toronto Maple Leafs could have hoped he’d be, and more. Auston Matthews scored four goals in Toronto’s first game this season, but there were large swaths of that game when Marner was the best player on the ice. His skill level is breathtaking. There have been shifts where he has controlled the entire ice surface. And when you have that kind of skill, it’s only a matter of time before the numbers start coming. Some players are rushed into the NHL, but not Marner. There would be nothing, absolutely nothing to be gained by sending him back to junior hockey. The kid is where he belongs. (Ken Campbell)
Mike Matheson, Panthers
The acquisitions of Keith Yandle and Jason Demers marked two big steps forward for the Florida Panthers’ blueline, but it’s the development and play of Mike Matheson that has impressed most early in the season. Matheson, 22, spent the entire 2015-16 campaign in the AHL after finishing up three years at Boston College, and the 2012 first-rounder has come a long way in one short pro season.
Averaging more than 20 minutes per game, Matheson looks more than capable of handling a top-four role in Florida, and his offensive instincts have been on display early. His opening-night overtime assist was a thing of beauty and he’s scored in back-to-back games against top Eastern Conference competition. Maybe this could have been seen coming, though, after Matheson was named top defenseman at the 2016 World Championship with a remarkable two-goal, six-point performance in 10 games with Team Canada. (Jared Clinton)
Travis Konecny, Flyers
Travis Konecny was so far off the Calder Trophy-race radar, he wasn't included in Bovada's pre-season odds. But he's looked perfectly capable of sticking in the show after his first four professional games. Konecny jumped straight from junior to the Flyers this season, and is already getting important minutes on the second line with Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek. He's yet to find the back of the net, but he has four assists in his first four games, and is averaging over 15 minutes of ice time per game. And the goals will come. The 2015 first-round pick scored 23 goals in 31 games last season after being traded from Ottawa to Sarnia. If he continues to get put in a position to contribute offensively, there's no reason to believe he won't. (Ian Denomme)
Author: Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images
Blue Jackets’ oft-injured defenseman Ryan Murray suffers upper-body injury
By: Jared Clinton
Oct 21, 2016
Ryan Murray has missed more than 80 games over the past three seasons, and it looks like he could be sidelined once again after suffering an upper-body injury Friday.
The Blue Jackets had high hopes for defenseman Ryan Murray when he was selected second overall in the 2012 draft, and Columbus still believes he can be an integral part of the organization. That’s why the Blue Jackets inked Murray to a two-year, $5.65-million extension in February.
The thing is, it’s hard for Murray to prove his worth when he’s injured. He was forced to miss the second game of the season with a lower-body injury, and now the oft-injured 23-year-old rearguard looks like he may be back on the shelf once again.
Murray was forced to leave Friday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks after he got tangled up with Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook behind the Chicago net. Murray headed to the Blue Jackets’ bench shortly after the collision, and he did not return to the contest with what the team was calling an upper-body injury.
Any injury that forces Murray to miss time — be it short-term or long-term — would be a seriously disappointing turn of events for the young blueliner, as he’s been forced to spend much of his short career on the shelf. The 2015-16 season saw Murray play all 82 games, but he wasn’t so lucky during the first two years of his career.
In 2014-15, Murray missed all but 12 games due to various lower-body injuries. It started with a knee injury in October, continued with an ankle injury in February and his season ended with yet another unspecified lower-body injury. And while the 2013-14 season wasn’t as bad, he still missed 16 games with lower-body ailments.
When Murray has been healthy, he has proven he can be every bit the offensive blueliner the team had hoped he would become when they selected him second overall. In 161 games, he has nine goals and 49 points and he posted a healthy four goals and 25 points while averaging nearly 23 minutes of ice time per game in 2015-16.
As for what Murray’s potential absence could do to the Blue Jackets, it could simply signal a bigger role for Zach Werenski earlier than coach John Tortorella had planned, and Cody Goloubef, who was sent down just recently, could already be heading back to the big club.
If there’s any positive spin, at least it isn’t another lower-body injury this time? Whichever way you slice it, though, the last thing the Blue Jackets wanted to deal with was another injury to a once promising prospect such as Murray.
Stars’ Sharp sidelined after suffering ‘concussion-like symptoms’ following huge hit
By: Jared Clinton
Oct 21, 2016
The Stars don't know exactly when they can expect Sharp’s return, which means yet another player has been added to Dallas’ growing injury list.
The Dallas Stars are going to be without Patrick Sharp, but they don’t know just how long the veteran winger will be on the shelf.
Sharp, 34, was forced to leave Thursday’s game against the Kings during the second period after being walloped along the boards by Los Angeles blueliner Brayden McNabb. Early in the frame, with Dallas on a power play, Sharp took a pass from Devin Shore and stepped over the blueline with Jeff Carter giving chase. In order to sidestep Carter, Sharp moved along the right wing boards where he was met with a solid jolt from McNabb.
No penalty was called on the play, and the replay shows that McNabb caught Sharp about as square on the shoulder as possible.
Regardless of how clean the hit may have been, though, Sharp immediately grabbed his head and was slow to get to his feet. He remained out on the power play for another 20 seconds before leaving the ice, but after heading to the bench, Sharp left the game. The Stars later announced he wouldn’t return due to “concussion-like symptoms,” and Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Sharp’s absence will go beyond Thursday’s game.
“Sharp will be out,” Ruff said, according to Mark Stepneski. “He missed the rest of the game on the hit but I don’t know what the time frame is.”
And even if Sharp is diagnosed with a concussion, that won’t make his timeframe for return any more clear. Unlike other injuries where it’s easier to gauge recovery times, a concussion can sideline a player for a few games or for months at a time.
The good news for Sharp, though, is that he doesn’t have a long history of serious head injures. In October 2010, Sharp, then with the Chicago Blackhawks, was forced out of the lineup with what was at the time called a “slight concussion,” but he returned after missing just one game and hasn’t missed any time with head injuries since.
The timing of the injury is brutal for Dallas, especially after an off-season in which seemingly none of their key top-six players could stay healthy. Already, the Stars are without Jiri Hudler (flu), Ales Hemsky (groin), Cody Eakin (knee), Mattias Janmark (knee) and Jason Dickinson (hip), so losing Sharp — and possibly Patrick Eaves, who also left the contest Thursday after a blocked shot — would be another serious blow to the dynamic Dallas offense.
Through four games this season, Sharp had mustered just one assist but had put 10 shots on goal.