The Senators’ top four on defense has rarely been healthy at the same time this season, mainly due to Thomas Chabot and Artem Zub struggling to stay healthy. Zub has missed the last three games with a lower-body injury, and although he appears ready to return tomorrow against the Coyotes, it could be one step forward and as much as three steps back, notes Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch. Chabot, Jake Sanderson, and center Joshua Norris all underwent MRIs for undisclosed (upper-body in Norris’ case) ailments yesterday, per interim head coach Jacques Martin, putting their statuses for the Arizona game in doubt.
Aside from the on-ice impact derailing their recent momentum, it’ll be quite the roster puzzle to make corresponding recalls. Zub is the only extra skater on the Ottawa roster, and despite that, they have no cap space for any standard recalls unless they determine one of their three newly injured players will miss at least 10 games and 24 days, in which case they can be placed on LTIR. For a $0 emergency recall, Ottawa would have to play short a player for one game, meaning they could be limited to just 16 skaters tomorrow. They could then recall two players whose cap hits are $850K or less for Saturday’s road game in Philadelphia.
Other things to keep an eye on this morning with the deadline approaching:
- The Wild hope to have newly signed prospect Marat Khusnutdinov with the team by the end of next week, GM Bill Guerin told Joe Smith of The Athletic on Wednesday. After inking his two-year, entry-level deal yesterday, the 21-year-old Russian center will now begin the work visa and immigration process. Guerin confirmed that Minnesota would start him in the NHL upon his arrival and forego an initial assignment to AHL Iowa and anticipates him stepping into a center role down the stretch. The 2020 second-round pick had six goals, 14 assists, 20 points, and a -14 rating in 55 games with the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg and HK Sochi this season.
- Sticking with Minnesota, their game on the road in Nashville tonight will likely go a long way toward informing trade deadline strategies and playoff outcomes for both teams. The Predators now have a five-point gap between them and ninth-place Calgary for the final playoff spot in the West, while the Wild are looking to swing two points in their favor to draw within four of the postseason cutoff with a game in hand. Minnesota’s 8-2-1 run since the All-Star break has them squarely back in the playoff conversation after falling out of it entirely a couple of months ago, but a similarly scorching stretch from Nashville has helped them tighten their grip on a playoff berth for the 16th time in the last 20 seasons.