Although the Sabres have the longest active playoff drought in the NHL and one that seems likelier and likelier to extend through 2023-24, their lack of team progress has not stopped individual Sabres from taking major steps forward in their career. $9MM AAV forward Jeff Skinner is coming off of a career year in which he scored 82 points, and currently has 33 points in 38 games. He’s among Buffalo’s most reliable offensive generators, which makes it all the more distressing that he’s suffered an upper-body injury, according to The Athletic’s Matthew Fairburn.
Fairburn reports that “the Sabres are waiting for the results” of the imaging Skinner underwent this morning in order to determine a timetable for his recovery. Any significant Skinner absence could be a potential killing blow to the Sabres’ long-shot playoff hopes. He’s skated on the team’s first line alongside Alex Tuch and Tage Thompson, and although three-time 20-goal scorer Victor Olofsson would see more regular time in the lineup in Skinner’s absence, the Sabres don’t have any players who appear capable of replicating Skinner’s playmaking abilities.
Other injury notes from across the NHL:
- Carolina Hurricanes team reporter Walt Ruff has provided updates from head coach Rod Brind’Amour, who says that forward Martin Nečas’ upper-body injury “isn’t too serious,” though it may keep him out of the lineup tomorrow. Necas last played in Carolina’s December 2nd win against the New York Rangers, before getting injured. After scoring 28 goals and 71 points last season Necas is scoring at a 20-goal, 56-point pace this season.
- The Washington Post’s Bailey Johnson reports that both Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson were on the ice ahead of team practice this morning. Wilson was wearing a “fishbowl” helmet to protect his broken nose. Both players skated in the team’s most recent game Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings, but there was some fear that neither would be available tomorrow against Seattle due to injury. They’re still not confirmed to be ready to play, but today’s reporting does point in a positive direction in that regard.