The Red Wings can’t catch a break on the injury front. Justin Abdelkader is the seventh roster regular to hit the shelf due to injury, and he won’t be able to return for close to a month due to an MCL sprain.
The Red Wings have had to deal with injuries for the entirety of the season thus far, but the recent spate of injuries has left Detroit without a number of roster regulars and it’s not about to get any better.
Already without Jimmy Howard, Darren Helm, Alexey Marchenko, Brendan Smith, Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Bertuzzi — not to mention Johan Franzen and Joe Vitale, both of whom find themselves on long-term injured reserve — the Red Wings will not be without Justin Abdelkader for the next 2-4 weeks thanks to an MCL sprain.
The injury was one of the those bizarre knocks that seems to come on a nothing play. With the Panthers looking to exit the zone midway through the first period of Thursday’s game, Abdelkader went to throw a check on Florida’s Vincent Trocheck. Abdelkader bounced off the hit, went into the boards and was in obvious pain, flexing his right leg on the way to the bench:
This marks the second time this season that Abdelkader has been forced out of action due to a lower-body injury, the first causing him to miss two games right in the middle of October, little more than a week after the season had begun.
Abdelkader being out of the lineup is going to cause some serious shuffling for the Red Wings, too. He has spent much of the season taking up second-line minutes, and his ice time has been at or above his season average in recent games due to Detroit’s recent injury trouble. Not only that, but with Abdelkader out, the Red Wings will head into Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins with only 12 healthy forwards.
One possibility would see Drew Miller, who has been a healthy scratch in seven of the past 11 outings, get back into the lineup on a regular basis with Abdelkader out and a number of other injuries up front. The other option, however, could be calling up one of the wingers currently putting up solid numbers in the AHL. Both Mitch Callahan, who has six goals and 14 points in 19 games, and Martin Frk would fit that bill. Frk would be an especially interesting call up given his bouncing around the league to start the campaign.
Frk, a Red Wing to start the campaign, was demoted ahead of the year but had to clear waivers before heading to the AHL. He was subsequently scooped up by the Carolina Hurricanes, struggled to stay in the lineup over eight games and ended up on waivers again by the start of November, at which point Detroit reclaimed him and stuck him in the minors. He has seven goals and 11 points in 12 games.
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