The Florida Panthers are starting to round into solid health in early February. Now they can add a big, first-round defenseman into the mix.
After requiring shoulder surgery and an injury suspension from the team thanks to a wakeboarding accident, Erik Gudbranson is set to return to NHL action.
He’s been called up by the team, yet head coach Kevin Dineen told the Miami Herald that he’s unsure if he’ll make his 2013 Tuesday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.
“He’s accomplishing everything we want,” Dineen said. “I haven’t made the final decision on if he plays or not. He’s been out for seven months. We’re finally getting guys back, getting into the groove of playing. He’s still working his way through it.”
The 21-year-old defenseman went through his rookie season in 2011-12, playing in 72 regular season and all seven postseason games. Florida might just need him with Ed Jovanovski (knee) and Mike Weaver (hip) a bit banged up.
Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension
The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.
It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.
Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.
Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.
This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.
"I’m looking forward to being in the same organization as my brother now and seeing what happens." – Dougie Hamilton on the trade