While the Penguins gear up for a (pandemic-permitting) playoff run, they won’t be able to pencil Nick Bjugstad into their lineup. The Penguins announced that bad news for Bjugstad alongside other injury updates on Wednesday. On the bright side, things are more optimistic for Jake Guentzel.
Penguins playoff injury update presents mixed bag: Bjugstad, Guentzel, and more
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford explained that Bjugstad underwent surgery after a setback in his rehab.
This closes out a miserable 2019-20 season for Bjugstad. Things fell off the rails early when the 27-year-old forward suffered an injury to his core area in October. As Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review explains, Bjugstad tried to play through the issue, only to eventually opt for surgery.
The Penguins announced that this latest procedure involved spinal surgery, and Bjugstad will miss at least eight weeks.
Looking at Bjugstad’s stats almost seems unfair. He only mustered a goal and an assist in his 11 games played, but who knows how healthy he was? It remains to be seen if Bjugstad can rebound in 2020-21; after that, his $4.1 million cap hit will expire.
The Penguins shared other injury news, including an update that is fuzzier but potentially big:
- When Jake Guentzel required surgery for his injured shoulder just before the new year, it sounded like he could miss serious playoff time. Then the COVID-19 pandemic truly struck North America. While Rutherford didn’t guarantee a Guentzel return, he did sound positive on Wednesday.
“We still have a ways to go before we start playing, so we are optimistic that [Guentzel] will be available to play,” Rutherford said.
Getting an All-Star forward back might soothe some of the Penguins’ irritation at needing to participate in the qualifying round. Some of the irritation.
- Speaking of shoulder surgery, Dominik Simon underwent a procedure for his injury in May. Unfortunately, Rutherford ruled Simon out along with Bjugstad.
It will also be interesting to see if defensemen Brian Dumoulin and John Marino are healthy as the resumption of play (tentatively) approaches.
More on the Penguins, and the NHL’s return to play
- Breaking down the four qualifying round series for the East, including Penguins vs. Canadiens.
- You can also check out the West previews here.
- Long-term outlook for the Penguins.
- Reviewing their 2019-20 regular season.
- Read up on the league’s return-to-play plan.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.