While it had been believed that defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph has been a frequent healthy scratch lately, it turns out that isn’t exactly the case. Head coach Mike Sullivan told reporters including Dave Molinari of Pittsburgh Hockey Now that he’d have liked to reinsert the blueliner in their lineup tonight against Carolina but Joseph is dealing with a lower-body injury. It’s an issue that he has been dealing with for a little while which helps explain why he hasn’t played over the last couple of weeks. The 24-year-old has played in five games so far this season, picking up an assist while averaging a little over 13 minutes a night.
More from the Metropolitan:
- Still with the Penguins, Mark Divver of the New England Hockey Journal reports (Twitter link) that Alex Nedeljkovic has been recalled from his LTIR conditioning stint. The 27-year-old is working his way back from a lower-body injury and stopped 17 of 19 shots in a victory on Friday night. Nedeljkovic also scored an empty-netter in that game, making him the first goalie in AHL history to have scored two career goals.
- While Lindy Ruff has done well behind the bench in New Jersey, he nearly didn’t get the opportunity to coach there. Ryan Novozinsky of The Star-Ledger notes that Ruff was not on GM Tom Fitzgerald’s original shortlist of eight candidates to take over the head coach position back in 2020 but one of Fitzgerald’s friends encouraged him to interview Ruff. The Devils set a franchise record for points last season, helping earn him a multi-year contract extension last month.
- The OHL rights to Blue Jackets prospect Luca Del Bel Belluz have been acquired by Saginaw, per a team release. The 20-year-old is in his first professional season with AHL Cleveland and has fared well in his limited action so far, collecting two goals and three assists in six games. Saginaw is hosting the Memorial Cup this year and if Columbus decides that they want Del Bel Belluz to go back and get top-line minutes, they’ll be sending him to a team that’s loading up for what should be a long playoff run.