Earlier today, we covered reports from New York Rangers training camp stating that top-line center Mika Zibanejad left the ice with an apparent injury. The Athletic’s Arthur Staple has now relayed word from the Rangers on Zibanejad’s status: he’s suffered an upper-body injury, and is considered out on a day-to-day basis.
This isn’t ideal news for the Rangers, as any Zibanejad absence would deal a major blow to the Rangers’ ability to compete in what is likely to be a hotly contested Metropolitan Division. Zibanejad, 30, scored 39 goals and 91 points last season, and has been a true first-line center for the club for the last four years. New head coach Peter Laviolette does have solid center depth behind Zibanejad, with both Vincent Trocheck and Filip Chytil capable of playing on scoring lines, but neither compares to Zibanejad. His health status will definitely be an important storyline to track this preseason.
Some other injury updates from across the NHL:
- Winnipeg Jets star Nikolaj Ehlers has been dealing with neck spasms so far in camp according to Jets head coach Rick Bowness, and his status is something to watch for Jets fans and hockey fans alike. The Jets’ Jamie Thomas reports that Ehlers was on the ice this morning, but won’t be making the trip to Edmonton for tonight’s preseason contest. It’s not known at this moment whether Ehlers’ availability for opening night is at all in question, but given how Ehlers has struggled with injuries the past two seasons one would hope that this current ailment is only a temporary setback.
- New Jersey Devils team reporter Amanda Stein relays word from Devils forward Nathan Bastian, who says that he’s hoping to see some preseason action as he prepares for opening night in October. Bastian spent the offseason recovering from a shoulder injury, and is expected to be ready for the regular season although that has not been officially confirmed. The six-foot-four 25-year-old grinder is an important role player for the Devils, helping cause chaos with their fourth line on a nightly basis. If the Devils want to have Bastian on the ice wreaking havoc when they host New Jersey on October 12, they’ll likely be hoping Bastian’s recovery allows him to see the ice in the preseason.