The Florida Panthers are playing out the string on their season, but they’ll have to do it on Saturday and Sunday without Erik Gudbranson.
The sophomore defenseman will miss this weekend’s games in New Jersey and Boston with a hand/wrist injury, according to the Miami Herald.
Gudbranson, 21, was hurt late in a 6-1 loss to the Rangers on Thursday night.
“Gudbranson is out for the weekend although it’s not anything we’re worried about long-term,” head coach Kevin Dineen told the Herald. “It’s just best to keep him out through the weekend.”
The Panthers sit dead last in the Eastern Conference with a 13-24-6 record, so it would make little sense to push Gudbranson and risk further injury.
The third overall pick in 2010 has had a tough 2013 campaign, missing the early part of the season with a shoulder injury, then going on to record just four assists (zero goals) in 32 games while posting an ugly minus-22 rating.
As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.
While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.
It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.
One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.
Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.
Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.
Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?
Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.
The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.
The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:
That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.
Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:
Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.
Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.