When looking back on previous NHL seasons, each seems to have one or two stories that, even if it wasn’t the most memorable part of that season, dominated the headlines. Last season, that story seemed to be the availability of Jakob Chychrun, which has carried into this season, and the year before was COVID absences and protocols, which carried into last season too. This season’s headlines, besides Chychrun, seem to be dominated by the Vancouver Canucks: their struggles, their work on extensions, and now, the availability of their players in trades.
Earlier this evening on Hockey Night in Canada’s 32 Thoughts segment, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman continued that discussion. Friedman clarified the Canucks’ position, who apparently have just one untouchable player: Elias Pettersson. That one might feel obvious, but immediately begs another question: what about Quinn Hughes? As Friedman reports, while Hughes isn’t an untouchable, it would take “an absolutely mammoth offer” to pry the defenseman away from the Canucks. Despite having just the one untouchable, Friedman adds that the team isn’t interested in a rebuild or complete teardown, but instead is looking to change their mix and breath new life into the team. Finally from Friedman, it appears Vancouver isn’t willing to give Bo Horvat more than the $56MM J.T. Miller was extended for, however Horvat’s career-year has now put him over that number.
- Arizona Coyotes forward Liam O’Brien is out week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered last night against the New York Islanders, the team announced. The forward played just 9:41 last night in the win over the Islanders, lower than his 12:01 average this season. Not shy from fighting, it is notable that O’Brien did have a fight in the third period against Islanders’ defenseman Scott Mayfield, who’s experienced in that regard too.
- Edmonton Oilers defenseman Philip Broberg, who was scratched for today’s loss to the Anaheim Ducks, missed the game with an injury he suffered yesterday, head coach Jay Woodcroft confirmed postgame, via The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman. Given Broberg’s play in 11 games this season, a healthy scratch wouldn’t be confusing, but certainly wasn’t deserved either, so news of an injury does make sense. It also further explains the decision to recall fellow defenseman Markus Niemelainen yesterday. Woodcroft did not elaborate further on the details or severity of Broberg’s injury.
- Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov was forced to leave tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils early with a lower-body injury, the team announced. Barkov appeared to be experiencing some discomfort after taking a faceoff earlier in the game. The center has played the last five games after missing two weeks with a bout of pneumonia. The extent of Barkov’s injury is unclear at this point.
- Philadelphia Flyers forward Zack MacEwen missed this evening’s game against the New York Rangers with an illness, reports The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor. Of course, no forced absence is a good thing, however one would expect an injury to carry a shorter timeframe, which would be preferable to getting MacEwen back into the lineup. MacEwen has just eight points in 28 games this season, but with Philadelphia showing value in grit this year, the forward’s 38 penalty minutes are much appreciated.