Turns out Minnesota won’t have its big trade deadline acquisition to start the playoffs.
On Tuesday, Wild head coach Mike Yeo said Jason Pominville wasn’t “quite ready” to get back into the lineup, meaning he’d be out for Game 1 of Minnesota’s Western Conference quarterfinal against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Yesterday, Pominville returned to practice for the first time since taking a Dustin Brown elbow to the head on Apr. 23. The hit left the 30-year-old injured and forced him to miss Minnesota’s final two games of the regular season.
Following yesterday’s skate, Yeo said Pominville “looked good” and speculation was he’d be in the lineup tonight.
The Minnesota Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo reports Zenon Konopka will draw in instead, but it’s unclear who’ll take Pominville’s spot on the Pierre-Marc Bouchard-Kyle Brodziak line.
Prior to getting hurt, Pominville had 4G-5A-9PTS in 10 games with Minnesota, averaging 17:31 TOI per game.
Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.
Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.
(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)
Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.
Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.
The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.
Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.
That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.
If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.
The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.