Despite suffering an injury on Wednesday night that forced him to be helped off the ice, New York Rangers free agent addition Ryan Reaves may not miss any regular season time. The grinder has not been practicing since the injury occurred, but head coach Gerard Gallant is optimistic that he could return by opening night. “I think it’s going to be close,” Gallant told Collin Stephenson on Newsday. “When we left the game, I said no, but… the last couple of days it’s going in the right direction… I can’t really say, but I think it’s going to be real close.” The Rangers prioritized adding grit and physicality this summer, adding Reaves, Barclay Goodrow, Sammy Blais, and Patrik Nemeth, so they hope to be able to roll out their full complement of toughness for Opening Night.
- Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett missed the team’s preseason match-up on Saturday night as he has been placed in the NHL’s COVID-19 Protocol, the team announced. Depending on the context of Bennett’s absence, the two-way forward could miss more than just one game. The Panthers certainly hope that the physical center is good to go for the start of the season; Bennett was an excellent addition to the Florida roster at the deadline last season, recording 15 points in ten games while averaging a career-high 18:04 time on ice. As the Cats look to compete in the Atlantic Division this year, every game matters and a healthy Bennett is a difference-maker.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins expect to have Jake Guentzel back sooner rather than later from COVID Protocol. Head coach Mike Sullivan told The Athletic’s Rob Rossi that Guentzel is asymptomatic and going through the steps of the protocol. Though he has missed a week of practice, Guentzel will jump right back into the lineup if he is healthy. The 27-year-old has scored at a point-per-game pace over the past three years and will be relied on even more with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin injured.
Interesting timing on the Reaves injury considering the first game of the season is Wednesday in Washington.
Wilson should be counting his lucky stars Reaves is hurt.