The Los Angeles Kings were expecting to have a lot of healthy players returning to the fold this season, most especially Jeff Carter, who went down after six games last season when he was cut with a skate across his left leg, cutting tendons and requiring surgery. The 33-year-old finally returned for a 21-games stint at the end of the season and performed well.
However, Josh Cooper of The Athletic (subscription required) writes that Carter admitted Friday that he’s still not 100 percent and still needs more time to get his ankle back in shape. Coach John Stevens said that it’s not likely Carter’s ankle will ever return to normal.
“I think he really made good progress in terms of getting back to a state of normalcy with his leg. I don’t think it’s ever going to be like it was, but I think he put a lot of work in this summer,” Stevens said. “I think he made big strides in getting closer back to where he was – a little more explosive out of the hole. He didn’t have as much irritation around the joint that he had before. I think he’s a lot further ahead now than he was when he came back last year and played.”
After returning for 21 regular season games, Carter later admitted that his ankle wasn’t truly ready and needed more rehab. Although he scored 12 goals in that span, he struggled with his ankle and was held scoreless in the four-game playoff series against the Golden Knights. Carter’s success is critical for the team’s playoff run as Carter was coming off a 32-goal season the previous year and the team hopes he can duplicate that this year, which might be more difficult for Carter now.
- After four surgeries this summer, there were a lot of questions whether Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan would truly be healthy at the start of the season. However, the Calgary Sun’s Wes Gilbertson writes that Monahan looked good to go as Monahan potted a goal in their preseason opener Saturday morning against Boston. Despite struggling through a season with numerous nagging injuries, including issues with his wrist, Monahan still managed to post 31 goals last season. Now with a healthy wrist, among other things, he looks ready to improve on that. “I liked his game. I really liked it,” said teammate Mark Giordano. “He had a deadly shot with a half a wrist. So now that he’s fully healed, his hips are good, his groins are good, his wrist is good … I’m excited.”
- While there was never any rumors surrounding Erik Karlsson and the Edmonton Oilers, many fans around the league were quite outraged when they saw Karlsson headed to division-foe San Jose instead. Considering their desperate need for a dominant defenseman and the fact that the Sharks didn’t give up any significant roster players in the trade, the Oilers were never in any negotiations, because Karlsson had no interest in going there, according to the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples. “You know, he’d be nice to have here,” said Chiarelli. “We weren’t on his list. It was really a non-starter from the beginning. But they got one puck over there, they got a lot of good defenceman. So we’ll see what happens there. But that’s a heckuva ‘d’ over there now.”
- Las Vegas Sun’s Jesse Granger reports that Vegas Golden Knights’ bruiser Ryan Reaves suffered a skate to the face Friday near his left eye, requiring 20 stitches. The injury was very close to his left eye, making him a lucky man. The 31-year-old winger was signed to a two-year deal this offseason at $2.78MM AAV despite only posting four goals and 10 points between Pittsburgh and Vegas last season. Reaves, however, blended well into Vegas’ locker room and provided an impact on the team’s energy line. He was already back on the ice Saturday.