Connor Zary, one of the players who found immediate success in the AHL last season despite being too young to normally play there, had a good news-bad news kind of day. The good news is that he won’t require surgery on the ankle he injured this week, the bad news is that he did suffer a fracture in it and will be out on a week-to-week basis.
If you wondered how the Flames are going to add more scoring punch in the years to come, the answer may be Zary, the 24th overall pick from 2020. The 19-year-old center had seven points in nine games with the Stockton Heat before the WHL started up again, and then went back to the Kamloops Blazers to record 24 points in just 15 games down the stretch. This time around, Zary won’t be forced back to the junior level when he returns. He’ll turn 20 tomorrow, meaning he is now eligible for the AHL this season and can report right to the Heat after recovering from this injury.
- Speaking of AHL players on the cusp of a roster spot, Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dylan Samberg has lost any chance of breaking camp with the NHL team after suffering a high ankle sprain. The young defenseman will be out six to eight weeks, according to GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, who spoke to reporters including Murat Ates of The Athletic today. Given the newcomers to the Jets blue line Samberg likely still had only an outside shot of landing an NHL spot to start the season, but now he’ll be playing catchup all season to try and get back on the strong development path he has shown thus far. The 22-year-old second-round pick was a star at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and fit right in at the AHL level in 2020-21.
- Michal Kempny is finally pain-free after a brutal two-year stretch of injuries. The Washington Capitals defenseman confirmed to reporters including Samantha Pell of the Washington Post that all three of his recent injuries–a torn hamstring in 2019, torn Achilles in 2020 and MCL sprain in 2021–were to his left leg. Incredibly, that MCL sprain that happened last season came when a member of the Hershey Bears ice crew collided with him during his conditioning stint. Kempny ended up playing just two games during the 2020-21 campaign, both at the AHL level, but is ready to resume his career with a Capitals team that he played so well for during the 2018 Stanley Cup run.