As is often the case in the early going of the season, most of the biggest news from the past seven days came on the injury front although it wasn’t all bad news in that regard.
Done For The Year: The Blue Jackets have had a lot of tough luck when it comes to injuries over the first month of the season and they got their worst news yet as Zach Werenski is out for the season after suffering a separated shoulder and a torn labrum against Philadelphia. The 25-year-old has been the number one defender for Columbus for the last several years and he had gotten off to a decent start to his campaign with three goals and five assists in his first 13 games and was logging over 25 minutes a night before suffering the injury (which dragged his ATOI below the 24-minute mark). On top of that, his playing partner Nick Blankenburg fractured his ankle in the same game and will be out for six to eight weeks himself.
Avoiding Surgery: A few weeks ago, it looked like the Senators were going to be without their top center, Josh Norris, potentially for the rest of the season as he was expected to undergo shoulder surgery. Instead, after consulting with five doctors and two specialists, that’s no longer the plan as he won’t go under the knife and instead will just rehab for the time being with a reassessment scheduled for January. Potentially getting the 23-year-old back at some point in the second half of the season would be huge for an Ottawa team that has struggled out of the gate as they find themselves at the bottom of the Atlantic Division.
Kane To LTIR: It was a scary sight in Tampa Bay where Edmonton was playing on Tuesday as winger Evander Kane suffered a skate laceration to the wrist after winger Pat Maroon inadvertently cut it. He underwent successful emergency surgery but will still be out for the bulk of the season as he’ll miss at least the next three to four months with the Oilers quickly transferring him to LTIR. It’s a huge loss for Edmonton as Kane was fitting in quite nicely in his first full season with the team, picking up 13 points in 14 games while logging over 19 minutes a night on their top line. Forwards Mattias Janmark and Klim Kostin were recalled from the minors with the freed-up cap space but with Kane likely to return before the end of the season, the Oilers won’t be able to go out and acquire a more prominent replacement as they’ll need to be cap-compliant in order to activate Kane later on.
No World Cup In 2024: Getting away from the injury news for a moment, the NHL and NHLPA jointly announced that the World Cup of Hockey that was scheduled to be held in 2024 will no longer be staged, citing an infeasibility to hold the event in the current environment. That current environment pertains to Russia and Belarus currently being banned from international play which would have made it difficult to have players from those countries participate in a true best-on-best event. For now, the plan is to instead have the event in 2025. The last time the World Cup of Hockey was held was back in 2016, an eight-team event that featured a young North American squad as well as a Team Europe.
Surgery For Nichushkin: On top of being without Gabriel Landeskog, the Avalanche lost another one of their top wingers when Valeri Nichushkin underwent successful ankle surgery that will keep him out of the lineup for a month. The 27-year-old had gotten off to a very strong start to his season, his first on his eight-year deal, notching seven goals in as many games while chipping in with five assists, good for fifth in the league in points per game heading into Sunday’s action. Unfortunately for him and the Avs, that hot start has now been derailed for a little while at least as their forward depth starts to get tested.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.