A lot has been made this season of the impressive play of the New Jersey’s Jesper Bratt, who has gone from a training camp surprise to a major piece to the team’s success in a couple of months. The 19-year-old winger, who was drafted in the sixth round in 2016, shouldn’t be this successful at this point in his career, but the youngster has really improved in a short amount of time since coming over from Sweden this offseason.
Now with injuries to Kyle Palmieri and Marcus Johansson as well as the training camp injury to Travis Zajac, the team needs Bratt more than ever, who has now moved to the team’s second line, according to The Record’s Andrew Gross. He currently has five goals and six assists in 12 games. His ability to adapt quickly has impressed his teammates and coaches.
“I think he’s really been able to come in and fill a role in your quote-unquote top six but power play, penalty kill,” coach John Hynes said. “That’s a big void, without Kyle, without Johansson, without Travis, not only are those guys huge factors five on five but they all play such a key element on special teams, both power play and penalty kill. Jesper’s come in and done a good job. I think he’s alleviated some of those losses.”
- Columbus Blue Jackets’ Matt Calvert has left the team’s road trip and is returning to Columbus after sustaining a big hit in the third period of Saturday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, according to The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline (subscription required). He is listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury. The injury came when Lightning defender Dan Girardi knocked Calvert off his skates with a shoulder-to-shoulder hit that knocked his helmet off and slammed him into the boards.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins defensive combination of Kris Letang and Olli Matta had to be broken up Saturday in their 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks as the pair struggled together. In fact, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette’s Jason Mackey, Letang struggled immensely in the game and was on the ice for all four goals against. He now has a minus-16 plus/minus rating this season, which is way below average for the 30-year-old veteran. Maatta is at minus-five.
- Columbus Blue Jackets’ Alexander Wennberg’s struggles to put the puck in the net continue as he now has had just two goals in 34 games dating back to last season, according to The Hockey Writers Mark Scheig. Wennberg, who had a promising season last year with 13 goals and 46 assists has just one goal in eight games this season. While the 23-year-old is more of a passer, the team could use more goals from the third-year center.