The Isles have come alive under interim head coach Doug Weight, and rallied to move into the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
There’s no question they want to keep the momentum going. Which is why today’s news might be met with action.
Casey Cizikas, on pace for a career year with seven goals and 23 points through 53 games, is expected to miss the next month with a hand injury suffered in Tuesday’s win over Detroit.
Cal Clutterbuck, hampered by an “annoying” soft-tissue injury, also left Tuesday’s contest. Another forward, Shane Price, is on IR with an upper-body ailment, and has missed the last five games.
The end result? New York finished with just 10 forwards against the Red Wings, and appear ready to insert 35-year-old AHL recall Bracken Kearns into the lineup.
It all makes for a pretty dicey situation, especially since the club has eight dates remaining on a whopping nine-game road trip.
More, from Newsday:
Perhaps it’s good that next Wednesday’s trade deadline is fast approaching.
General manager Garth Snow was already believed to be on the hunt for another forward, preferably a top-nine player. Cizikas’ injury may accelerate Snow’s talks, which have not had much traction in a market where sellers’ demands have been sky high so far.
If Cizikas misses the four full weeks, that puts him on target for a Mar. 23 return — meaning he’d miss the next 13 games. And it’s hard to say what the club can get out of Clutterbuck, who has missed 13 of the last 17 contests and is clearly playing through pain.
The Isles have made the playoffs in each of the last two years, and both times Snow’s made minor upgrades at the deadline. Last year, he acquired Prince from Ottawa, which turned out nicely — he had three goals and four points in 11 playoff games, averaging just under 14 minutes per night.
In 2015, Snow acquired both Michal Neuvirth and Tyler Kennedy, but neither had a major impact.