The Tampa Bay Lightning may need some help on defense this weekend, which explains why they recalled Slater Koekkoek.
It’s unclear how hurt Victor Hedman is, but there’s definitely a risk that he won’t be able to play on Saturday, as NHL.com notes.
While Hedman was obviously able to make a huge impression during the 2015 postseason, his Norris hopes were quickly dashed due to injury issues in 2014-15. It would be a big shame for that to happen again, as he drew some serious hype from the likes of Nicklas Lidstrom heading into this season.
Hedman isn’t the only guy who may be unavailable, either, as Nikita Nesterov may face a suspension for his hit from behind from Thursday (which hospitalized Curtis McKenzie).
Speaking of McKenzie:
Update: Nesterov received a two-game suspension for that hit.
At 21, Koekkoek is an interesting moment in his development.
He’s one of the Lightning’s many promising young players as the 10th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, so perhaps getting him another cup of coffee at the highest level – he’s played in three games with the Lightning – would be a good progress report of sorts.
The Dallas Stars confirmed what they said over the summer and won’t rush 2012 first-round pick Radek Faksa to the NHL.
The team announced they’re sending the 19-year-old Czech back to the OHL Kitchener Rangers. Faksa was taken 13th overall in last year’s draft and they’re hoping he’ll be one of their top centers soon.
Last season with Kitchener, Faksa had his season hampered by a MCL strain. He played in just 39 games scoring nine goals with 22 assists. In the OHL playoffs, he had four goals and two assists in 10 games. Two years ago, his first in the OHL, he had 67 points in 62 games leading to his lofty position in the draft.
All week leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, we’ll be profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round. Nothing too in-depth. Just enough so you know who they are and what they’re about.
Radek Faksa (Center)
Height: 6’3” Weight: 202 Shoots: Left
Team: Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Country: Czech Republic
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 7 overall North American skater
What kind of player is he?
At 18, Faksa is big kid that projects to be a tower of strength when he fills out. In his first year with Kitchener he led all rookies in goals, assists, points, game-winning goals and plus-minus — heck of a way to make a first impression.
North American Central Scouting chief Mark Seidel says Faksa is “a big body with skill” but questions what type of player he projects to be. Is he a first line center or a second line guy?
If you’re looking for a comparable, many pundits have linked Faksa to another Kitchener product — Colorado Avalanche center (and Calder Trophy nominee) Gabriel Landeskog.
“We know he’s a world-class offensive player, but I think what makes him attractive to NHL scouts is the fact he might play earlier than expected because he’s able to defend at what I consider an elite level right now.” – Steve Spott, Kitchener head coach
More draft profiles:
Cristoval ‘Boo’ Nieves
The NHL’s Central Scouting Service is all about the “Fail for Nail” campaign.
CSS has Nail Yakupov, the talented scorer from the CHL, listed as their top overall prospect for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft once again. Yakupov topped their preseason rankings as well making him the favorite to be taken first overall at the NHL Draft in Pittsburgh this summer.
Trailing Yakupov is fellow Russian forward Mikhail Grigorenko with defenseman Ryan Murray, Czech forward Radek Faksa, and defenseman Morgan Reilly rounding out the top five. Seven of the top ten prospects on the CSS list are defensemen making this a great time to be in need of a future cornerstone blue liner.
The top-rated American skater is defenseman Jacob Trouba. Trouba was the youngest player for Team USA’s World Junior team this year. If goalies are your thing, the top rated netminder is none other than P.K. Subban’s little brother Malcolm.
There will be one more list from CSS before the draft in late June, but unless Yakupov’s injury he suffered during World Juniors turns out to be a bigger problem for him, it’s hard to see him being unseated as the top prospect before then.