Maple Leafs defenseman John Klingberg will meet with a doctor in New York this week to determine whether surgery is required to correct his nagging hip injury, GM Brad Treliving informed the media Monday afternoon (via David Alter of Sports Illustrated/The Hockey News).
Klingberg, 31, has missed five out of the last six games with the injury and is currently on long-term injured reserve retroactive to November 11. The soonest he can return to the lineup is December 12 against the Rangers. However, all indications point to a more prolonged absence regardless of the clarity gleaned from his appointment this week. While Klingberg has reportedly been battling various hip issues for multiple seasons, Treliving confirmed Klingberg sustained a specific injury on October 19 versus the Panthers, keeping him out of the lineup. Klingberg did not miss any games immediately after sustaining the injury.
A free-agent signing by the Maple Leafs last summer, Klingberg’s presence in the lineup quickly deteriorated after a strong showing in the team’s season opener against the Canadiens. After notching two points, a +1 rating, and over 24 minutes of ice time in his Toronto debut, his defensive game again lapsed significantly. It caused head coach Sheldon Keefe to reduce his ice time gradually gradually. He has five assists through 14 games this season, and his 0.35 points per game mark is by far the worst of his NHL career. He is averaging under 21 minutes per game for a second straight season after skating over that mark in eight consecutive seasons to begin his career.
Other snapshots from the Atlantic Division:
- Sticking with Toronto, depth forward Bobby McMann and defenseman Simon Benoit took line rushes with the Maple Leafs at practice today, Alter reports. This suggests both players will be recalled from the AHL’s Toronto Marlies before tomorrow’s game against the Panthers. In recent days, McMann and Benoit have repeatedly been ferried between leagues to extend their waiver-exempt period. Both players were placed on waivers before the start of the season, allowing the Maple Leafs to assign each player to the AHL freely until each spends 30 days on the NHL roster or plays ten games. While McMann took reps as a healthy scratch in practice today, Benoit skated on the third pairing alongside Conor Timmins and could re-enter the lineup. The 25-year-old has played six games this season, recording a +2 rating, five shots on goal, and a strong Corsi share of 57.4% at even strength while averaging 13:13 per game.
- Senators goalie Joonas Korpisalo will be an option in goal against the Panthers tonight, Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch relays. After making 37 saves on 41 shots in the Senators’ first Global Series game against the Red Wings on November 16, Korpisalo sat out the second overseas contest against the Wild as well as last Friday’s game against the Islanders with a minor undisclosed ailment which the team described as general soreness. This was an expected development after the Senators returned top goalie prospect Mads Søgaard to the minors yesterday. The 29-year-old is improving after a rocky start to his Senators career, solidifying himself as the team’s number-one option with a 5-4-0 record, .906 SV%, and 1.3 goals saved above average through ten starts.
- Sabres defenseman Mattias Samuelsson will be a game-time decision tonight against the Rangers as he deals with an upper-body injury, head coach Don Granato told reporters this morning (via Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News). The oft-injured blueliner left Saturday’s blowout loss to the Devils after taking a stick to the face and receiving multiple stitches to repair a cut on his lower lip, which is still causing him significant pain. Per Granato, he was held out of the remainder of the contest to clear concussion protocol. If Samuelsson does not play tonight, it will be his second injury-related absence of the season. A lower-body issue cost him three games at the beginning of the month. The 23-year-old is averaging a diminished 19:27 per game this season through 18 games, recording one goal, two assists, a -1 rating, and a middling Corsi share of 47.6% at even strength.