The Vancouver Canucks may have themselves a goaltending issue after the team placed goaltender Anders Nilsson on injured reserve Sunday, according to Rick Dhaliwal of Sportsnet. While there was no apparent injury during a game, Dhaliwal reports that Nilsson is dealing with a hand injury and had no idea how long he will be out.
It’s a big blow to a young team that has been playing beyond expectations this season as they hold a 6-6-0 record so far this year. Nilsson has been the standout goaltender in net as he has fared better than Jacob Markstrom as the 28-year-old seems to be bouncing back from a rough first year in Vancouver after signing a two-year deal during the summer of 2017. Nilsson has a 2.67 GAA and a .912 save percentage in six games this year, solid numbers for a team that many had picked to be among the bottom teams in the league this year.
While Vancouver has a top-flight prospect goaltender in Thatcher Demko sitting in Utica of the AHL, Demko has been doing just that as he has yet to make his debut this season as he is still suffering from concussion symptoms that he suffered in a Sept. 22 preseason game when he collided with Calgary’s Mikael Backlund. Dhaliwal reported Thursday that Demko has seen a specialist and is doing better, but remains at least a week away before taking the next step in his recovery.
Instead the team recalled Richard Bachman from Utica, who will serve as backup. Unfortunately, the 31-year-old veteran has struggled in Utica so far this year. In five games, he’s posted a 4.23 GAA and a .865 save percentage, suggesting the team may be in trouble if Nilsson is out for any extended time.