While Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom doesn’t want to rule out the possibility that he’s available for Washington’s season opener, Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press reports that all signs point to the veteran not being available when the regular season gets underway. Backstrom is dealing with a hip injury, the same side that he had surgery on in 2015 and is hopeful to start skating soon. The Caps don’t have the cap space to carry a full 23-man roster so this could put them in a bit of a tight squeeze to start the season. It could, however, create an opening for youngster Connor McMichael to break camp in a top-six role, at least in the short term. Backstrom would need to miss three weeks and ten games to be eligible for LTIR relief.
Other injury news from around the NHL:
- Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov left Friday’s game after the first period due to a lower-body injury but it’s not believed to be a serious one, head coach Gerard Gallant told reporters including Mollie Walker of the New York Post. Kravtsov had four points in 20 games last season after coming over from the KHL and is expected to have a regular role in their lineup in 2021-22.
- Canucks winger Brock Boeser will miss at least a week due to an undisclosed injury, relays Postmedia’s Patrick Johnston. He was a full participant in practice on Wednesday but hasn’t skated since. With still more than a week left until the start of the regular season, Boeser should be ready to go on opening night as long as there aren’t any setbacks along the way.
- Senators defenseman Victor Mete suffered a minor injury in Friday’s victory over Montreal and while he was supposed to play tonight as well, that won’t be the case, notes Ian Mendes of The Athletic (Twitter link). There’s no word regarding the nature of the injury. Meanwhile, Mendes adds in a separate tweet that prospect Parker Kelly is undergoing further evaluation for an upper-body injury that he suffered last night and that they’re hoping for more information on how long he might be out for on Sunday.