After recalling him back on December 28th on an emergency basis, it appears the Anaheim Ducks have sent forward Justin Kirkland back to the AHL, according to CapFriendly. This had been Kirkland’s second emergency recall in as many weeks, however it did afford him the opportunity to make his NHL debut.
Originally a draft pick of the Nashville Predators back in 2014, Kirkland has had a strong AHL career, breaking out with 48 points in 66 games last season with the Stockton Heat, then Calgary’s AHL affiliate. This season, Kirkland is again off to a hot start with 13 points in 19 games in the AHL. Since making his NHL debut, the 26-year-old has skated in five games with Anaheim, but hadn’t yet tallied a point.
- Injuries have been a challenge for Nick Schmaltz this year, who has missed 16 of his Arizona Coyotes’ 35 games coming into this evening. Fortunately for Schmaltz and the Coyotes, the forward was back in the lineup tonight after missing the team’s New Year’s Eve game in Tampa Bay against the Lightning. The forward has 16 points through those 19 games, continuing on from his breakout performance last season and though his absence isn’t a good thing, keeping it to just one game is surely a positive.
- Just before puck drop tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Chicago Blackhawks announced that former Lightning forward Tyler Johnson would not skate for them, missing the game with a non-COVID illness. Ultimately, defenseman Caleb Jones played in the game, assuming the role of a forward. Now in his second season with Chicago, Johnson continues to deal with injuries, but has been solid when healthy, recording eight points in 14 games.