Not only will the Pittsburgh Penguins be without Jeff Petry for at least several weeks after placing him on long-term injured reserve yesterday, but now Jason Zucker is out too. Head coach Mike Sullivan explained today that Zucker is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury and will not travel with the club when they travel to Florida for tomorrow’s game against the Panthers.
Petry will be out “longer-term” according to Sullivan, though a clear timeline has not been given at this point. Neither player is expected to require surgery.
It is unfortunate news for Zucker, who was having a nice bounce-back season after two injury-riddled campaigns. He had just totaled just 18 and 17 points the last two years, numbers he had already surpassed this year with 20 points in his first 27 games. The versatile winger was playing regular minutes and had two assists in Monday’s game, including on the game-winning tally from Evgeni Malkin in the dying seconds.
For a player that has taken a lot of heat since he arrived in Pittsburgh, it looked like the 30-year-old was getting back to the player that scored 33 goals and 64 points for the Minnesota Wild in 2017-18. Unfortunately, the rebirth of that player will have to wait at least a few games as he deals with the lower-body injury.
Not only was this his best performance as a Penguin but Zucker is also a pending free agent, and a big year could set him up for a substantial payday. He’ll be 31 when the market opens next summer, coming off a five-year, $27.5MM deal he signed with Minnesota in 2018.