The Detroit Red Wings lost Filip Zadina for two to three weeks, but the team did get a boost of good news as winger Anthony Mantha practiced with the first time since he suffered a mid-body injury on Dec. 21 against Toronto when Jake Muzzin slammed him to the ice, according to NHL.com’s Dana Wakiji. The 25-year-old was wearing an orange no-contact jersey, but it’s step in the right direction for the winger who has appeared in just 29 games this season.
“I’m feeling better,” Mantha said. “Obviously today was the first practice with the team, so it feels good mentally. Physically, I’ve been getting better over the last couple of weeks. I can’t complain.”
Mantha was playing well, posting 12 goals and 24 points in those 29 games and was looking to potentially post career highs, but now will look to help the Red Wings offense, which has struggled for most of the year.
- In his most recent mailbag, the Buffalo News’ Lance Lysowski writes that the Buffalo Sabres might be interested in taking a long look at 24-year-old prospect goaltender Jonas Johansson, who will be a restricted free agent next year and could be a candidate to replace Carter Hutton next season if he fares well, assuming they can move Hutton. Johansson has played well with the Rochester Americans this year, posting a 2.19 GAA and a .925 save percentage in 20 games. The team might also want to avoid keeping Johansson in Rochester next year, which could block the path when top goalie prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen becomes a full-time AHL goalie.
- When the New York Islanders lost defenseman Adam Pelech for the season due to an Achilles’ tendon injury, many thought that rookie Noah Dobson would be the recipient of the extra minutes that the team lost. Instead, Newsday’s Andrew Gross writes that head coach Barry Trotz has relied on his five veteran blueliners and continues to hold Dobson out of key moments in games. Dobson doesn’t play in the third period at all in tight games. The five veterans are forced to take extra shifts in order to replace Dobson, who refers to the situation as five and a half defenders, but doesn’t feel the extra ice time is having a negative effect on the other five defenders.
- Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports that Ottawa Senators forward Nick Paul is skating again and should be able to return at some point this week. The 24-year-old suffered a high ankle sprain on Jan. 7 against the Capitals and deemed to be out for four weeks, which is right on schedule. Paul has six goals and 13 points in 38 games this season.