The Tampa Bay Lightning are without all-world netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy as the preseason schedule begins. Head coach Jon Cooper informed reporters today, including Diandra Loux of The Hockey News, that the 2021 Conn Smythe winner is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.
“He’s wrestling with some things right now, physically,” Cooper said. “It’s early in training camp, so we don’t need to rush anything along with him. When he’s ready to go, he’ll be out there.” Vasilevskiy missing any time would certainly throw a wrench into Tampa Bay’s season, although it thankfully appears that won’t be the case. With salary cap constraints in full force, the team has quite thin goaltending depth and is opting to go with unproven Jonas Johansson as Vasilevskiy’s full-time backup, meaning his workload is in line to be as high as ever. Vasilevskiy didn’t miss any time last season due to injury, but he certainly didn’t look himself in the team’s first-round playoff loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was the worst playoff performance of his career save for 2019’s upset loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, posting a .875 save percentage and conceding 5.4 goals above average over the course of six games.
Elsewhere in injury notes from around the league with preseason games underway this afternoon:
- Detroit Red Wings depth forward Matt Luff left today’s intrasquad scrimmage with a right arm injury after crashing into the boards, reports The Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan. The 26-year-old right wing didn’t crack Detroit’s roster out of camp last season but was recalled after a few weeks, getting into a handful of games before sustaining a wrist injury that sidelined him for 32 games. The undrafted free agent has largely been a fringe player throughout the course of his career, often splitting time between the majors and the minors, and this season is expected to be no different. He was extremely productive in the AHL with Grand Rapids last season when healthy, recording eight goals, 17 assists and 25 points in 28 games. Set to be a restricted free agent this summer, Detroit did not issue him a qualifying offer but re-signed him before free agency opened on July 1 anyway to a league-minimum two-way deal carrying a $450K guarantee.
- Minnesota Wild defense prospect Daemon Hunt left today’s clash against the Colorado Avalanche and has not returned with a prospective upper-body injury. As The Athletic’s Peter Baugh notes, Hunt hit the ice after an accidental collision behind the net with Avalanche forward Tanner Kero. The 65th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, Hunt is a promising two-way defense prospect entering his second pro season with AHL Iowa. The 21-year-old recorded two goals, nine assists, 11 points, and a +2 rating in 59 contests with Iowa last season after captaining the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors from 2020 to 2022.
- Washington Capitals head coach told reporters, including Monumental Sports Network’s Matt Weyrich, that he’s “concerned” about the status of defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk. The veteran right-shot defender left today’s preseason game against the Buffalo Sabres and did not return after a shot from Sabres forward Jordan Greenway struck him in the right wrist area. Van Riemsdyk will undergo further testing tomorrow to determine the severity of the injury and a potential recovery timeline. The 32-year-old is entering the first season of a three-year, $9MM extension he signed last March and is expected to start the season on the team’s third pairing alongside offseason trade acquisition Joel Edmundson.