With the Devils eventually having to shuffle players around to get under the salary cap, having injuries to players that will be counted on to play bigger minutes in the meantime is a killer. In the case of defenseman Anssi Salmela, his wait to get back on the ice could be a bit longer than expected following ACL and meniscus surgery Rich Chere finds out.
Defenseman Anssi Salmela, who will miss all of training camp following right knee surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus, said he will be examined by a doctor Sept. 28 to determine whether he can begin skating on his own.
Salmela is still probably months away from being able to practice or play a game.
“It was the ACL and meniscus. You have to be patient with that,” Salmela said as he arrived for his physical today.
“It’s alright. It’s good. I’m a couple of months behind, though.”
Salmela is one of the Devils’ top six defensemen and with the rumors whirling around about potentially dealing Bryce Salvador to help the team get under the cap, having Salmela gone for the first part of the season is an unwelcome bite to the roster. Right now, look for Mark Fraser to potentially see his minutes improve.
Since we know you’re curious if having Salmela start the year on the long-term injured reserve could provide some salary relief to the team, that’s not going to happen either as Salmela’s cap hit is just over $600,000 this year. Loophole Lou Lamoriello will need to find another way to make things work there.
With their season on the line on Friday night the Philadelphia Flyers are making a change in goal.
Michal Neuvirth, who has played just 59 minutes of NHL hockey since Feb. 18, will get the Game 5 start in goal when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Neuvirth replaced Brian Elliott in Philadelphia’s Game 4 loss on Wednesday night after Elliott gave up three goals on 17 shots, the second time he was benched in the first four games. The Flyers have already used three goalies in this series with Elliott, Neuvirth, and Petr Mrazek all getting playing time. None of them have played well.
Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers, William Karlsson of the Vegas Golden Knights, and Ryan O’Reilly of the Buffalo Sabres have been named as the three finalists for the 2018 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, the NHL announced on Friday. The award, voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, is given “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
The winner will be announced during the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas on June 20.
The Case for Aleksander Barkov: The Panthers center certainly has the “high standard of playing ability” part down with a season that saw him lead the team with 78 points and finish tied for third in goals with 27. Barkov played the fifth-most minutes (1,743:32) among NHL forwards and only picked up seven minor penalties. This is the second time he’s been named a finalist in the last three seasons.
The Case for William Karlsson: Karlsson had a monster of a season with 43 goals and 78 points during the Golden Knights’ historic first year. In playing 1,534:47, the 25-year-old forward racked up only 12 PIMs. Should Karlsson win, he would become the first player to win an end-of-season trophy for a team in its inaugural season since Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers won the Byng and Hart Trophy and in 1979-80.
The Case for Ryan O'Reilly: O’Reilly missed one game this season and logged 1,686:10 of ice time for the Sabres. He recorded only one penalty all season, way back on Oct. 24 versus Detroit, a slashing call. His one penalty is the fewest among NHL players who suited up for at least 41 games this season. He’s a previous winner having taken home the trophy in 2014 while a member of the Colorado Avalanche.