Although the injuries have not been reported as anything major, fans of the Arizona Coyotes can’t help but feel nervous that two players expected to be major additions to the team’s forward corps this season – trade acquisition Alex Galchenyuk and top prospect Dylan Strome – are currently sidelined with injuries. The Athletic’s Craig Morgan reports that Galchenyuk is currently out with a lower-body injury and has yet to be evaluated and cleared by the medical staff, per head coach Rick Tocchet. Tocchet did not relay when and how the injury occurred and the Coyotes will have to wait for him to be examined to determine the severity and recovery time. Galchenyuk has been a very durable player to this point in his six-year career, but did struggle to return from a knee injury in 2016-17, which ended up costing him 21 games over two stints on the injured reserve. An extended absence to begin his tenure in Arizona would be an unfortunate start for Galchenyuk, who seemed primed to embrace his change of scenery. As for Strome, Morgan writes that he is considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury. One of the knocks on Strome, the third overall pick in 2015, is that he has struggled to fill out his 6’3″ frame. The lanky forward can be pushed around – and thus susceptible to injury – far too often for a player of his stature. Arizona needs Strome to get healthy and toughen up if he wants to be an impact player this season.
- The quantity, not quality, of injuries for the St. Louis Blues is starting to become a concern. With starting goaltender Jake Allen still not ready for game action due to back spasms and Nikita Soshnikov out indefinitely with a concussion, the team also has three key forwards on the sidelines with minor injuries. The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford updated the statuses of David Perron, Tyler Bozak, and Robby Fabbri today. Fabbri’s injury history is well-documented; the undersized winger has had back luck with his knees, missing the final 30 regular season games and all 11 postseason games of the 2016-17 season, only to tear his ACL last preseason and miss the entire 2017-18 season. While Fabbri’s knees seem to be back at full strength, his current injuries could be related to getting back to a game level of skating. Rutherford states that Fabbri did not practice today due to a sore back and hip flexor. Fortunately, these are conditions that the young forward should be able to bounce back from very soon. Meanwhile, veteran free agent additions Perron and Bozak also missed practice today and were pulled from tonight’s preseason roster with matching groin injuries. The experienced forwards, who added significant depth for St. Louis with their signings this summer, have no previous lower-body injury history and should hopefully be back on the ice soon.
- The Capitals have just three players who have yet to suit up for a preseason game so far: defenseman John Carlson, center Lars Eller, and winger Devante Smith-Pelly. While Carlson and Eller had documented lower-body injuries and are simply being eased back into game action, NBC Sports Washington’s J.J. Regan points out that Smith-Pelly’s absence has been more curious. In speaking with new head coach Todd Reirden, Regan discovered that Smith-Pelly’s conditioning has been an issue and he has been working toward getting back in game shape. Reirden states that the physical forward is not dealing with any injuries, but simply not yet at a level where he would benefit from playing. A short and celebratory summer likely has Smith-Pelly slightly out of shape and fatigued, but it is not an issue that seems likely to impact the regular season and certainly not a Jake Dotchin-type scenario.
- Injury-prone Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian is taking it easy this preseason. Beat writer Bill Hoppe says that the veteran blue liner is being eased into camp to ensure that he is fully healthy for the start of the regular season. Bogosian has yet to skate in a preseason game and may not see much exhibition action at all. While Bogosian has a lengthy injury history that features IR stints for knees, ribs, groins, wrists, and more, it was his hip that cost Bogosian all but 18 games last year. He missed the final 39 contests after undergoing hip surgery in January. With the Sabres already fighting the injury bug, it is important that Bogosian be given the time he needs to start the season off on the right foot. Hoppe adds that while Conor Sheary appears ready to re-join the team next week, his former Pittsburgh Penguins teammate, defenseman Matt Hunwick will not. Hunwick will not be ready for the start of the regular season due to a neck injury, making Bogosian’s availability all that more important.