The Anaheim Ducks haven’t had much luck when it comes to injuries this season, and today issued updates on a pair of players. Cam Fowler, who hasn’t played since November 12th and needed surgery to correct a complex facial fracture, is scheduled for a mid-January return if he experiences no setbacks. Patrick Eaves, who had been out with back spasms, was apparently suffering them because of a broken rib. He has no timetable for a return.
Eaves, 34, has now played just seven games in the NHL since signing his three-year, $9.45MM contract extension in the summer of 2017. Robbed of almost the entire 2017-18 season after he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, he’s now dealt with several injuries again this year and can’t seem to stay on the ice. The incredible breakout in 2016-17 that ended with 32 goals looks like it won’t be matched anytime soon, as he has just a single tally in those seven games since the start of last season.
That’s a real problem for the Ducks, who can’t find much in the way of consistent scoring. Eaves was brought back to offer a consistent two-way presence to lengthen out the lineup alongside players like Ondrej Kase and Adam Henrique, but has turned into dead money against the cap. Anaheim can and has placed his contract on long-term injured reserve at times to get some relief, but the in-and-out nature of status will keep them from doing much with that added flexibility.
For now, the Ducks will have to hope someone like Daniel Sprong, who was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins this week to provide some offense, can fill in for Eaves on the powerplay and in the top-nine. That’s a substantial gamble from a team that was expecting to compete for the playoffs this season.