The Canucks are set to welcome one of their highest-paid forwards back in the lineup tonight. Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province reports that winger Loui Eriksson is expected to be activated off LTIR and suit up against San Jose after missing the last 12 games with a lower-body injury. He’s expected to play alongside the Sedin twins. Eriksson’s first season with Vancouver in 2016-17 was a disappointment as he posted his lowest point total since his rookie year back in 2006-07 and he was off to a slow start before being injured this season as he had just one assist in three games (plus one shift in a fourth contest before suffering the injury). That’s not the type of production the team was expecting when they handed him a contract that carries a $6MM cap charge through 2021-22.
More early news and notes from around the league:
- Sabres winger Benoit Pouliot will not be suspended for an incident that occurred late in Friday’s game on Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle, the Department of Player Safety announced (Twitter link). He had a hearing with the league earlier today but after reviewing the angles of the hit, it was determined that his hit on Yandle did not involve the head being the principal point of contact.
- The Flames could be getting defenseman Travis Hamonic back in their lineup in the near future. Postmedia’s Kristin Odland notes that the blueliner skated on Friday and is slated to participate in a full practice with the team tomorrow. Hamonic has been out of the lineup since suffering a lower-body injury against the Penguins on November 2nd and ranks third on the team in average ice time per game. Calgary is also expected to have goaltender Mike Smith available for their next game on Monday despite struggling with his glove hand at times on Thursday night.
- Red Wings winger Justin Abdelkader has a fractured cheek, MLive’s Ansar Khan reports (Twitter link). He’s expected to see a specialist on Monday. Head coach Jeff Blashill notes that the injury shouldn’t keep the 30-year-old out of the lineup for long. Abdelkader is off to a decent start this season with nine points (2-7-9) in 17 games while averaging just shy of 17 minutes per game in ice time.