The Detroit Red Wings dropped two straight games to the Florida Panthers earlier this month, but the good news is that they’ll get some key players back in the lineup when they seek revenge on Saturday. The Detroit News reports that Henrik Zetterberg, Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader could all be back by then.
Zetterberg, 33, has been sidelined since Dec. 1 with a back injury.He has more than a point-per-game this season, with 30 in 28.
A shoulder issue appears to be the latest of a litany of issues for Helm, 26, while Abdelkader, 26, has missed time with what appears to be a concussion thanks to a hit by Deryk Engelland, who received a five-game suspension.
The Red Wings won’t be 100 percent even if those three forwards return, however, as they face issues both small and large to both of their top two goalies, Jonathan Ericsson, Stephen Weiss and Johan Franzen.
Even if some of those players also suit up – most likely Jonas Gustavsson (day-to-day, groin injury) – they’re still a hobbling bunch. They’d probably be close to the top of the list for NHL teams who needed this holiday break the most.
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.
The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.
The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.
But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.
“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”
Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.
A preseason push by a number of Vancouver Canucks youngsters has left forward Linden Vey and defenseman Frank Corrado on waivers today.
The more surprising name of the two is Corrado, the 22-year-old who entered the season with an excellent chance of making the opening-day roster. However, it seems that rookie d-man Ben Hutton, 22, has been given the nod after finishing an eye-opening preseason with one goal and four assists in seven games. (This despite Hutton being waiver exempt. So it’s a risk for the Canucks, to be sure.)
It was the play of 19-year-old rookie Jared McCann that led, in part, to the waiving of Vey. (For more on that, click here.) Veteran Adam Cracknell remains with the team as well, to some surprise.
Rookie winger Jake Virtanen is also expected to be on Vancouver’s opening-day roster, though that’s no big shock.
Defenseman Alex Biega is also on waivers, as expected.