This is turning into a pretty forgettable road swing for the Ducks.
Having already lost David Perron to a shoulder injury, Anaheim has now returned Ryan Kesler and Simon Despres back home — Kesler to attend to a personal matter, Despres with an undisclosed injury.
Despres, who played just over 18 minutes in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss in Montreal, had missed 42 games earlier this season with a concussion, so it’s understandable the Ducks are taking a cautious approach with his health.
“He got hit last game and he wasn’t feeling right,” head coach Bruce Boudreau said, per the O.C. Register. “With his history, we wanted to make sure that he’s completely better before he plays.”
Kesler has 17 goals and 44 points this season, and is Boudreau’s defensive shutdown option against opposing centers. He’ll be missed.
Anaheim has three games left on its five-game Canadian swing: tonight in Toronto, Saturday in Ottawa and Monday in Edmonton.
Towering Winnipeg defenseman Tyler Myers won’t be having a fun offseason.
On Thursday, the Jets announced that Myers will be undergoing knee and hip surgeries, the latter of which is more “significant” and will sideline him for 4-5 months.
The club said Myers will first undergo the knee procedure, then hip. That initial surgery will happen tomorrow, meaning he’s done for the remainder of this season.
The 26-year-old played big minutes for the Jets this year. He was one of only three skaters to play in all 73 games thus far and averaged 22:37 TOI. Myers had a decent offensive campaign, too, with nine goals and 27 points — the nine goals were two off his career high of 11.
According to the Jets, Myers is expected to be rehabbed by the start of training camp.
Tyler Bozak has witnessed Toronto’s new managerial regime clear out some of the previous regime’s bigger contracts, like Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel.
Which, in turn, has made Bozak well aware he could be the next one out the door.
“I think there is going to be changes this summer like there always is,” Bozak said, per the Toronto Sun. “We are not finishing in a great spot in the standings, so we have not done our job. I am sure things will be changed in the room, but who knows?”
The Bozak contract has long been a point of controversy in Toronto. A five-year, $21 million pact signed back in 2013, he’ll carry a $4.2 million cap hit through 2018 — at which time he’ll be 32 years old. Signed largely because of his chemistry with Kessel, Bozak was essentially miscast as a top-line center at the time of his signing, and now might not fit in the club’s future plans.
Given how swiftly GM Lou Lamoriello has worked on rebuilding the Leafs’ roster, it’s logical that Bozak could be shopped this summer. And it wouldn’t be that hard a sell — Bozak is a good offensive producer (31 points in 47 games this year, despite missing significant time with a concussion) and that $4.2M hit isn’t a killer, especially for teams with cap space looking for depth down the middle.
Of course, Bozak’s made it clear he wants to stay.
“I think the guys have been doing really good and have been earning their keep up here and staff and management have been really pleased with them,” he said. “That’s bright for the future. I hope I can be part of it.”
Bozak will be back in the lineup for the first time in 21 games tonight, when the Leafs take on the Ducks at the ACC.
Michael Brodzinski, who led all University of Minnesota blueliners with 21 points in 37 games this season, has opted to forgo his senior year to sign with San Jose, per Let’s Play Hockey.
The news, since confirmed by ESPN 1500, comes after Brodzinski spent three years with the Gophers and made this season’s All-Big Ten second team. He was originally drafted by the Sharks in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Brodzinski, 20, will reportedly sign a three-year, entry-level deal that’ll kick in next season. He will turn pro immediately, however, by signing an amateur tryout contract with San Jose’s AHL affiliate, the Barracuda.
In a neat twist, it’s possible Brodzinski’s pro debut will come against his brother, Jonny, a L.A. Kings prospect currently playing for AHL Ontario.
Having spent most of this season as the Islanders’ third-string netminder, Jean-Francois Berube is doing all he can to prove he’s an NHL-caliber guy.
Fittingly, Berube stoned Mark Stone on this one.