Tough blow for Isles as Boychuk (upper body) out 4-6 weeks

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It didn’t look good when Johnny Boychuk went flying into the end boards after missing a hit on Jack Eichel last week.

And now doctors have confirmed — it wasn’t good.

Boychuk will miss the next 4-6 weeks with an upper-body injury, the Islanders announced on Monday. It’s a pretty significant blow, as Boychuk averages the third-most minutes on the team and — at the time of his injury — was the Isles’ leading d-man scorer, with three goals and 14 points in 38 games.

The 32-year-old won’t require surgery to fix the ailment. That’s a positive.

The negative?

New York hasn’t exactly been a defensive fortress lately, partly due to an injury to starting netminder Jaroslav Halak.

While the Isles are 4-2 in their last six, they’ve also given up 19 goals over that span, including 10 in the last two games to Pittsburgh and Dallas (the Pens and Stars games were the first two Boychuk missed to his injury, not coincidentally.)

Looking at New York’s schedule, it’s safe to assume Boychuk misses the club’s eight remaining games in January, while his status for the first half of February — the Isles play eight more games between Feb. 2-15 — remains up in the air.

When Boychuk got hurt, the Isles recalled Adam Pelech as a defensive reinforcement. He acquitted himself reasonably well in Sunday’s win over Dallas, finishing plus-2 in just over 16 minutes of ice time.

The timing of Boychuk’s injury will almost certainly play into Travis Hamonic‘s immediate future in New York. The defenseman, who has requested a trade, now seems destined to stay with the Islanders and is prepared to take on an increased role in Boychuk’s absence.