The Dallas Stars announced they have placed winger Brett Ritchie on injured reserve today retroactive to Oct. 30. He suffered an upper-body injury and while he was listed as day-to-day, the newest update suggests he could miss up to another week with the injury.
The 24-year-old wing has struggled so far this year with just one goal and one assist in 12 games this year. Ritchie ranked fourth on the team last year, potting 16 goals in 78 games. The 2011 second-round pick has just 15 shots on goal in those 12 games and has seen his average ice time drop to 12:03, down from a career average of 13:00.
The move was made as the team suddenly has been hit with a flurry of injuries, with center Radek Faksa and Tyler Pitlick both being listed as doubtful for Monday’s home game against the Winnipeg Jets, while veteran center Martin Hanzal is listed as questionable, according to NHL.com’s Sean Shapiro. Putting Ritchie on IR will allow the team to make a roster move and call up a player from the Texas Stars either later today or tomorrow.
Faksa, who suffered an apparent leg injury in Saturday’s game, also has been showing improvement in his game, picking up a goal and an assist in their win over the Buffalo Sabres. Pitlick is also listed as doubtful with an upper-body injury, but no other clarification, according to Shapiro.
- Shapiro also tweets the team may turn to defenseman Jamie Oleksiak in an emergency and ask him to play the forward position on Monday. Oleksiak has only appeared in eight games so far this season and has been a healthy scratch for the last two.
- Scott Burnside of NHL.com writes that head coach Ken Hitchcock praised the play of Gemel Smith as the team’s most improved player after Saturday’s game. Despite struggling to get on the scoreboard in the first few games that he’s been in, the 23-year-old was instrumental in aiding the team’s four-goal first period Saturday as he picked up his first two assists of the season. His rushes on net helped open up goal scoring opportunities on both Faksa’s and Stephen Johns goals in that period. “He’s a hockey player,” Hitchcock said of Smith. “He acts like a hockey player and plays like a hockey player. You don’t have to tell him twice. He has a feel for the game and does a lot of things that just help you win hockey games. He’s underrated offensively and he’s competitive and really good on the boards. He builds you good minutes every night.”