The Anaheim Ducks will be without one of their top defensemen for the next six weeks. Josh Manson has been ruled out with an oblique muscle injury suffered on Monday against the Minnesota Wild and has been placed on injured reserve.
Manson, 29, was forced from the game on Monday after just six minutes of ice time but has long been one of the most important players on the ice for Anaheim. Combined with Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, and Kevin Shattenkirk, he formed an exceptional top-four that was expected to carry most of the defensive responsibility. In his absence, Jani Hakanpaa has been pushed up the depth chart, logging 19 minutes in each of the last two games. Though Hakanpaa has certainly held his own so far, the 28-year-old has just nine games under his belt at the NHL level, a lack of experience that will certainly be tested over the next six weeks.
Anaheim is already without Brendan Guhle, who was given his own six-week recovery timeline in early January after spraining his MCL. Suddenly, the Ducks defensive depth is quickly disappearing with only seven names between the NHL roster and taxi squad. For a team that was already in tough against a West Division that includes several top teams, losing part of the team’s biggest strength will be a challenge.