Derek Smith is sidelined with a high-ankle sprain, but he’s probably feeling quite a bit better today. The Calgary Flames handed the undrafted defenseman a two-year, $1.55 million contract extension on Wednesday.
It’s a one-way deal, which means that Smith will be paid the same amount even if he gets demoted to the minors. That must be music to his ears because Smith battled his way to a roster spot in training camp.
Smith has a respectable 10 points in the 32 games that haven’t been wrecked by injuries this season. Smith logged 16:40 minutes per game, with a little under 30 seconds of shorthanded time and a minute and a half of PP time on average.
Smith is 27 years old, which means that he straddles the line between what most people seem to want in Calgary (a rebuild) and the reality GM Jay Feaster is presenting (holding onto veterans while desperately hoping for a playoff run).
Last night, we passed along news that veteran d-man James Wisniewski — acquired from Carolina at the draft — suffered what looked to be a serious injury just 47 seconds into his ‘Canes debut, and was ruled out for the remainder of the night.
Now, he’s been ruled out for a lot longer than that.
From the club:
Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that defenseman James Wisniewski will undergo surgery on his left knee after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during Thursday night’s game in Nashville.
Recovery time for the injury is estimated at six months.
This is, obviously, a tough development for both player and club. The ‘Canes were counting on Wisniewski to be a regular contributor on defense this year, and help improve last year’s middle-of-the-pack power play.
Wisniewski, meanwhile, was looking to bounce back from a disappointing ’14-15 campaign. He was shipped out of Columbus at the deadline to Anaheim but never made an impact for the Ducks, failing to see any playoff action as Anaheim made it all the way to the Western Conference final.
Two days after an uninspiring performance versus San Jose, the Los Angeles Kings will be getting an injection of youthful enthusiasm tonight versus Arizona.
Coach Darryl Sutter confirmed today that Jordan Weal will make his NHL debut at Staples Center.
A 23-year-old center, Weal is expected to replace Andy Andreoff and skate between Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan on the fourth line.
“It’s really exciting,” Weal told LA Kings Insider. “A lot of work has gone into getting to this part of my career, and the hard work’s just going to continue. It’s going to keep going, and I’m trying to do as much as I can in this game and keep improving from this game moving forward in trying to solidify a solid spot in the lineup.”
The 70th overall pick in 2010, Weal had 69 points in 73 games last season for AHL Manchester.
Related: Jordan Weal is looking to make the leap