It’s an early-than-expected return for Konecny, who was expected to miss 4-6 weeks when he was placed on IR three weeks ago. The rookie has seven goals and 22 points in 51 games so far this season, while averaging almost 15 minutes per night with solid possession numbers. His 22 points were good for fourteenth in rookie scoring when he was injured back in February. He’s now dropped to twentieth, having been passed by fellow Flyers rookie Ivan Provorov among others.
It’s not yet known who Konecny will line up with in Washington this evening. Forward Jordan Weal was called up to replace Konecny, and though he has just one goal in six games, he’s been lining up on the Flyers’ top line with Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. The Flyers also added center Valtteri Filppula at the trade deadline, so the forward core looks slightly different than the one Konecny left last month.
- Much-maligned sophomore Anthony Duclair played his first NHL game in six weeks last night. He had been sent to the AHL in mid-January to find his scoring touch, which had been missing all season. Duclair scored 20 goals and 44 points in his rookie year, but has just three goals and nine points in 42 games this season. The main culprit appears to be his shooting percentage, which has gone from 19% down to 5.2%. It’s not as if Duclair lit up the AHL either, with just one goal and eight points in 16 games. However, it appears he’s back with the NHL club for the rest of the season. Sarah McLellan of AZ Central quoted Coyotes bench boss Dave Tippett as saying the rest of this season is Duclair’s chance to “re-establish himself as an NHL player.” The Coyotes clearly want to take a closer look at Duclair before making a decision on him this summer when he’s an RFA.
- It will be a tale of two teams heading in completely different directions when the Detroit Red Wings visit the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. The Oilers are comfortably in a playoff spot for the first time in a very long time, and the Red Wings are about to miss the playoffs for the first time since 1989-90. The last time the Oilers finished ahead of the Red Wings was the following year; twelve members of tonight’s Oilers were not yet born. In addition, this will be David Desharnais’ first appearance in blue and orange since being acquired before the trade deadline, and he’ll line up Anton Slepyshev and Zack Kassian.