After having a largely healthy 2021-22 campaign, Seattle Kraken forward Joonas Donskoi has been on long-term injured reserve (LITR) for the entire season thus far. Based on reporting released today, not only does it seem likely that Donskoi’s stay on the LTIR list will continue, it also appears that the future of his playing career is cloudy.
Donskoi told Finnish outlet Raahen Seutu that he had suffered the seventh concussion of his playing career, and is dealing with persistent symptoms including vision problems, vertigo, and headaches. Lingering concussion symptoms can be incredibly dangerous for any athlete, let alone one as experienced as Donskoi. Similar issues have prematurely ended the career of many NHLers in the past, and one wonders if Donskoi is unfortunately headed down a similar path. While the Kraken are definitely hoping that Donksoi, who has typically been a slam-dunk bet to score at least 30 points in any season, can return to the ice, it seems getting his personal health right is the absolute top priority.
Some other notes from across the NHL:
- Per the Winnipeg Sun’s Scott Billeck, Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo will be out for the Jets’ next two games with a lower-body injury. DeMelo is an important blueliner for coach Rick Bowness. Not only does the respected defensive defenseman lead the Jets in short-handed ice time per game, but his steady defensive style has provided number-one blueliner Josh Morrissey with the freedom to play a more aggressive offensive game, something that has resulted in career-best production for Morrissey. While his absence for these next two games will not cripple a talented Jets team, it will be something for the team to monitor as they continue their playoff push.
- Veteran Arizona Coyotes forward Nick Bjugstad has had a bit of a career resurgence in the desert, as his 21 points in 49 games this season are the most he’s scored in several years. His strong performance comes at a cheap price, as he’s playing on just a $900k cap hit for the rest of the season. The combination of Bjugstad’s improved play, cheap price tag, and veteran experience has apparently attracted more competitive clubs seeking to reinforce their forward group. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on tonight’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, the Edmonton Oilers are one of the teams with interest in Bjugstad. The Oilers have recently been running seven defensemen in their lineup, so the addition of Bjugstad could slot him in nicely as their fourth-line center providing coach Jay Woodcroft with a more traditional lineup.