While the Penguins sent winger Jason Zucker back to Pittsburgh today to be evaluated, it appears they’re not particularly optimistic that his absence will be a short one. Matt Vensel of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes that while they’re hopeful his lower-body injury isn’t as bad as they initially feared, they are preparing to be without the 29-year-old for an extended period of time. Zucker is off to a quiet start to the season by his standards with just four goals and three assists in 17 games but his absence will open up a vacancy in their top-six. If he’s going to miss more than 10 games or 24 days, he’ll be eligible to be placed on long-term injured reserve, giving them some short-term cap flexibility to recall a replacement.
Elsewhere around the league:
- The Red Wings have been without winger Tyler Bertuzzi for all of February and it doesn’t sound as if he’ll be back anytime soon. Head coach Jeff Blashill told reporters, including Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link), that he has “no idea” when the 26-year-old will be able to return. Bertuzzi was off to a strong start to his season with five goals and two assists in eight games and with his contract expiring this summer, missing this much time isn’t going to give him the type of platform season he was hoping for.
- The Ducks activated Sonny Milano from IR and recalled him from his AHL conditioning loan, relays Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). The winger suffered an upper-body just a week into the season, limiting him to just two games. He was quietly productive after joining Anaheim last season with five points in nine contests, making him an intriguing addition to a lineup that has struggled mightily offensively in the early going. The team also placed winger Carter Rowney on IR due to a lower-body injury. While the veteran is known more as a bottom-six player, he’s tied for the team lead in assists with six in 19 games.