The Ottawa Senators are expected to be without their top defensive option once again, as Darren Dreger of TSN tweets Artem Zub could miss two to three weeks after taking a puck to the face. The defenseman is going through additional medical testing to get a more precise timeline.
Zub, 27, was already limited by injury this season and has played in just 14 games so far. The team is 7-7 with him in the lineup, compared to a 3-6-1 record without. With so much chaos surrounding the team this season, the Russian defenseman has been one of the most consistent options for head coach D.J. Smith, offering a steadying influence among a young group.
The team had just started to turn things around, winning four of their last five, several of which were in dramatic fashion. Ottawa’s big offseason expectations have been dashed in the early going but with some inconsistent performances throughout the Eastern Conference, the playoffs aren’t completely out of the picture just yet. At the very least, this can be an important development season for some of the team’s younger players.
In order for that to happen though, they’ll need to have some structure and some chance to win every night. Zub is a significant part of that, even without flashy point totals or dynamic puck skills.