San Jose Sharks defenseman Radim Simek could miss the team’s season opener at home on October 12 against the Vegas Golden Knights, per Curtis Pashelka of the Bay Area News Group. Simek has been dealing with a lower-body injury for the past few days and did not skate today as planned.
Pashelka notes Simek starting the season on injured reserve is a “real possibility,” meaning the 31-year-old defender would miss at least seven days from the retroactive placement, which likely would not impact Simek’s ability to return after the start of the season given he sustained the injury four days ago already. His lack of availability is a huge blow to a paper-thin Sharks defense, as he’s quietly been one of their most effective defenders over the past few seasons. He’s a strong two-way force at even strength and quite adept on the penalty kill, where his absence is felt the most. Simek played in just 44 games last season due to injuries, recording three points and averaging just 14:37 per game – arguably under-utilized by head coach David Quinn. If unavailable for opening night, someone like Nikolai Knyzhov, Jacob MacDonald, or the young Henry Thrun could draw into the lineup.
Elsewhere in the Western Conference this Monday evening:
- After cutting him from their training camp roster yesterday, the Winnipeg Jets are bringing 2022 first-round pick Brad Lambert up to the active roster for tonight’s preseason tilt against the Calgary Flames, per a team announcement. Lambert will likely be returned to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose after the game, where he’s projected to play the full season after splitting it between there and WHL Seattle last season, where he exploded for 38 points in 26 regular-season games and 26 points in 17 playoff contests. Lambert had two goals and an assist in 14 games in his first taste of pro hockey within the Jets organization with Manitoba last season.
- The Athletic’s Allan Mitchell posits Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland is well set up to make a blockbuster deal this season, likely his last as a general manager in the NHL as he enters the final season of his contract with Edmonton. Mitchell cites that pressure for Holland to bring a Stanley Cup to Edmonton, plus the Oilers’ wide range of young players in the organization that aren’t yet NHL regulars, as grounds for giving up significant assets in a deal. In terms of potential targets, Mitchell mentions Winnipeg Jets star netminder Connor Hellebuyck to quash any uncertainty in the crease, Carolina Hurricanes defender Brett Pesce for additional depth on the right side and an all-world top-four with Evan Bouchard, Mattias Ekholm and Darnell Nurse, and Philadelphia Flyers winger Travis Konecny as potential targets. All would require significant salary dumps going the other way to make a deal work, with the Oilers limited to carrying just one extra skater to be cap-compliant to start the season.