The Bruins announced today that defenseman Derek Forbort has been placed on long-term injured reserve with an undisclosed injury. In a corresponding transaction, defense prospect Mason Lohrei was recalled from AHL Providence on an emergency basis.
Forbort played the entirety of Boston’s last game, logging 18:09, one shot on goal and a +1 rating on Sunday against the Blue Jackets. The team did not disclose when Forbort sustained the injury this week, but given there’s no public mention of an incident occurring at practice, Forbort likely sustained the injury during off-ice activity. It’s serious enough to keep him out of action for at least ten games and 24 days, putting his earliest potential return on New Year’s Eve against the Red Wings.
While Forbort has been effective again in a shutdown role this season, the Bruins should be able to shoulder his absence. He’s missed four games already this season with various lower-body ailments, all coming in late October and early November. Boston has once again received spectacular possession play from its top four of Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Carlo, and Matt Grzelcyk, and veteran free agent signing Kevin Shattenkirk has been solid in a third-pairing role as well. Forbort, 31, has logged four assists and a +9 rating in 20 contests.
His absence does give the Bruins another chance to see what Lohrei can do at the NHL level. Recalled in November in the wake of injuries to Forbort and Grzelcyk, Boston’s 2020 second-round pick notched a goal and three assists in his first ten NHL games while averaging 17:34 per game before being returned to the minors later in the month. He usually occupied a top-four role when in the lineup, but with the Bruins’ defense now at full health outside of Forbort, he’ll likely slide into a third-pairing role alongside Shattenkirk. He’s likely to draw into the lineup tonight against the Sabres ahead of Ian Mitchell, who has posted poor possession numbers in a limited role this season and will sit as a healthy scratch most nights.
Forbort is in the final season of a three-year, $9MM deal signed with the Bruins as a free agent in 2021. He carries a three-team no-trade list.