Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty has taken another step towards returning to the lineup as Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News and Observer reports (Twitter link) that the veteran is no longer in a no-contact jersey. Pacioretty has been out for the entire year so far after undergoing offseason surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon and while he’s still likely to be out a little while longer for conditioning purposes, he’ll be a key addition to Carolina’s lineup for the second half of the season. He had 19 goals and 18 assists in 39 games with Vegas last year but was moved in the offseason as a cap-saving move. Carolina shouldn’t have any issues activating Pacioretty from LTIR when he’s given the green light to return.
More from the Metropolitan:
- Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins remains in COVID protocol, relays Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch (Twitter link). With Joonas Korpisalo returning just before the holiday break, Columbus didn’t need to recall a goalie but as Merzlikins has missed a full week now, the team could move him to IR in the short-term to open up a roster spot. Meanwhile, Hedger adds in a separate tweet that winger Patrik Laine has also been placed in COVID protocol. Head coach Brad Larsen wasn’t sure when Laine first was placed there and for the time being, he’s listed as questionable for their game against the Islanders on Thursday. Laine has nine goals and seven assists in 20 games this season.
- The Capitals announced that they’ve recalled defenseman Lucas Johansen from AHL Hershey. The 25-year-old has played in two games for Washington this season plus 13 more in the minors where he has a goal and an assist. To make room for Johansen on the active roster, blueliner John Carlson was placed on injured reserve.
- Islanders wingers Kyle Palmieri and Cal Clutterbuck are skating on their own as they continue to work their way back from upper-body injuries sustained back on the 16th, notes Newsday’s Andrew Gross (Twitter link). Palmieri has been somewhat quiet offensively this season with just nine points in 21 games while Clutterbuck has five points and 98 hits in 26 contests. Both players are listed as day-to-day.