The Vancouver Canucks will not have free agent addition Antoine Roussel in the lineup when the regular season begins. Roussel has been sidelined since the start of training camp due to a concussion, but the hope was that without preseason action, he would have the time and rest to be ready for the real thing. However, in speaking to head coach Travis Green, Ben Kuzma of the Province has confirmed that Roussel will not be ready for the start of the season. Green gave no timeline for his return, only stating that a comeback in time for opening night had been ruled out. Green did add that young goaltender Thatcher Demko has also been dealing with concussion symptoms. He has entered the league’s concussion protocol and there is no word on when he will be ready to play or whether he will begin the season on the injured reserve or in the AHL. Kuzma writes that Demko collided with the Calgary Flames’ Mikael Backlund during last Saturday’s preseason match, but his condition deteriorated to the point of being diagnosed ahead of the Canucks’ next game on Monday night. Considering bottom-six forward Roussel and current third-string goalie Demko have been the only training camp casualties in Vancouver, the team has had relatively good luck. They hope it stays that was as the team needs a healthy and positive start to the season given their struggles over the past few years.
- Another player missing to star the 2018-19 season in Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson. Watson was suspended for the first 27 games of the campaign for his role in a domestic abuse incident this off-season. Watson pled no contest to the assault charges an the NHL felt that a third of the season was fitting supplemental punishment. However, Watson did appeal his suspension and that hearing with a neutral arbitrator took place yesterday, according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun. LeBrun suggests that, unlike in salary arbitration, this decision could take up to a couple weeks. If Watson is successful in his appeal, an unlikely outcome, the arbitrator will choose a new, shortened length that he sees fit. If not, Watson will be eligible to return to the Predators on December 3rd.
- Quinn Olson, the younger brother of Anaheim Ducks prospect Kyle Olson, has made a decision on where he wants to start his next season. The younger Olson will pass up the major junior route that his brother, a forward for the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, took and will instead opt to go the college route. Olson has committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth, the NCAA’s reigning champion, reports College Hockey Inc. The undersized but effective 17-year-old forward is playing this season for the Okotoks Oilers of the junior-A Alberta Junior Hockey League and could possibly play one more season with the team, but if he continues to score at a point-per-game pace, as he has for much of the last season plus, the Bulldogs will probably try to bring him in next year instead. Olson is a draft-eligible prospect for the upcoming 2019 NHL Draft and is likely to join his brother in an NHL pipeline shortly.