The Pittsburgh Penguins could find themselves down a defenseman for a while after Justin Schultz went down Saturday with what looks to be a gruesome leg injury (video link here). According to the Penguins, he needed to be helped off the ice after falling awkwardly in slow motion and either injuring his ankle or knee, after getting tangled up with Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec.
While more information won’t be known until Sunday at least, the idea of losing Schultz, one of the top defenseman isn’t a good sign. The 28-year-old already had four assists in three games played this season. Assuming he’s out for any length of time, the team could look to insert Juuso Riikola into the rotation. The Finnish free-agent, who signed with the team this summer, has impressed the Penguins throughout training camp and earned a spot as an extra defenseman, but has played in just one game so far this season.
- Vancouver Canucks fans have to be worried after rookie Elias Pettersson took a massive hit from Florida Panthers’ Mike Matheson and then was thrown down on top of that (video link here). The 19-year-old rookie immediately left the game with a trainer, according to TSN’s Brennan Klak. Pettersson had already put up a power play goal in the game and led all rookies with five goals and eight points this season. No word on the severity of the injury.
- NBC Sports Joe Haggerty writes that Detroit Red Wings defenseman Joe Hicketts will likely struggle all season as the diminutive blueliner at works his way through his rookie campaign with his physical brand of hockey. While the 5-foot-8 defenseman played an impressive 23:39 against the Boston Bruins Saturday and had five hits, he finished with a minus-3 and showed that he’ll struggle against top competition and skaters such as the Bruins depth that he faced Saturday.
- Rick Carpinello of The Athletic (subscription required) profiles the play of the New York Rangers’ Brett Howden, who seems to be showing the team that he’s more than just a grinder. The 20-year-old has been impressive since training camp and his play forced the Rangers to send 2017 first-rounder Lias Andersson to the AHL. The Rangers acquired Howden, a 2016 first-round pick, from Tampa Bay in the Ryan McDonagh deal last season, but has already posted two goals in the Rangers’ first five games.