Mathieu Joseph has made an immediate impression on the Senators who acquired him before the trade deadline in a swap that sent Nick Paul to Tampa Bay. After being in a limited role with the Lightning, the 25-year-old has had a chance to play a bigger role in Ottawa and has made the most of it, notching 12 points in 11 games. However, his season may have come to an early end as head coach D.J. Smith told TSN’s Claire Hanna (Twitter link) that his injury is a little worse than they expected and will keep him out longer than anticipated. While Smith stated that the injury isn’t serious, with only two weeks left in the season, it’s possible that Joseph has played his final game of 2021-22. A restricted free agent this summer with arbitration eligibility, Joseph appears to be in line to land considerably more than his $813K qualifying offer.
Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference:
- The Maple Leafs won’t engage in contract discussions with winger Ilya Mikheyev until after the season, notes Sportsnet’s Luke Fox. The pending UFA is having a career year despite missing 29 games due to a thumb injury as he has 17 goals and nine assists in 45 games, including four shorthanded tallies. That has the 27-year-old in a good position to potentially double his current $1.645MM AAV on the open market this summer.
- Blue Jackets center Sean Kuraly will return to the lineup after missing the last two games due to a stint in COVID protocol, relays Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch (Twitter link). He’ll take the place of Brendan Gaunce in the lineup. Kuraly has set new career bests in goals (12) and points (28) in 72 games this season in his first year with Columbus.