Not much is going right in Vancouver at the moment.
Losers in three of their last four and already without the services of captain Henrik Sedin, forward Mike Santorelli and defenseman Chris Tanev, the Canucks announced on Thursday that veteran blueliner Kevin Bieksa is dealing with an undisclosed injury, and wouldn’t travel on the team’s upcoming five-game road swing.
Bieksa, who played over 23 minutes in Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to Chicago, had scored three points in his last three games, including a two-goal effort in a 5-4 OT win against Phoenix earlier in the week. He’s also appeared in all 55 games this season, one of just six Canucks do to so.
Vancouver’s trek begins on Friday in Winnipeg, then goes through Detroit, Boston, Montreal and Toronto. It’s possible Bieksa could rejoin the team at some point but, given the Olympic break is just 10 days away, he could be shelved in an effort to fully maximize rehabilitation time… from whatever is ailing him.
In a corresponding move, the Canucks recalled d-man Frank Corrado from AHL Utica on Thursday.
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.