Trevor van Riemsdyk

Canes’ van Riemsdyk out 4-6 months after shoulder surgery

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk is expected to miss the rest of the playoffs after having shoulder surgery.

General manager Don Waddell said Saturday that the 27-year-old van Riemsdyk underwent surgery on his left shoulder and is expected to miss four to six months.

The Hurricanes recalled defenseman Jake Bean from their AHL affiliate in Charlotte on an emergency basis.

Van Riemsdyk was hurt in the first period of Game 2 of the second-round sweep of the New York Islanders last Sunday. He played in the first nine games of the postseason for Carolina, which has advanced to the Eastern Conference final in its first playoff appearance since 2009.

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Injury bug hits Hurricanes again as Mrazek, van Riemsdyk exit Game 2

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The Carolina Hurricanes needed another injury like they needed a hole in the head.

Already without the services of important pieces in Andrei Svechnikov, Micheal Ferland and Jordan Martinook, the Hurricanes added a couple more names to the infirmary on Sunday afternoon.

The puck barely dropped in Game 2 of the Round 2 series between the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders (NBC; Live stream) when the first casualty took place.

A hard, stiff hit by Cal Clutterbuck on Trevor van Riemsdyk forced the Carolina defenseman immediately out of the game just 36 seconds after the puck dropped. Van Riemsdyk was in all sorts of discomfort as he held his arm tenderly as he skated off the ice. By the first intermission, he had been ruled out of the game by the Hurricanes.

It would get worse, too.

The Hurricanes couldn’t convert on a 5-on-3 power play, couldn’t convert with the remainder of the 5-on-4, and then watched the play go in the other direction, forcing a save out of Peter Mrazek that injured him as he slid across his crease (he’d make another save while injured, too).

Mrazek got the attention of his bench and slammed his stick, presumably in anger, before making his way down the tunnel.

Mrazek has been a godsend in the playoffs for the Hurricanes. In his past six games entering Sunday, he had gone 5-1 with a .927 save percentage and two shutouts, one of which occurred in Game 1 of their current best-of-seven series as he blanked the Islanders 31 times in the game en route to an overtime win.

His fate was the same as van Riemsdyk’s — out for the rest of the game, only with a lower-body injury

Curtis McElhinney came in cold to replace Mrazek and was forced into action immediately, making a couple of quality saves. McElhinney had just 82 minutes of playoff action in his career coming into this one. His stats aren’t great, but then again, there’s no adequate sample size to draw from.

McElhinney was solid during the regular season, winning 20 games in 33 starts with a .912 save percentage and two shutouts.

Adversity hits every team in the playoffs, it just doesn’t always decimate a roster.

For the rest of the game, a guy named Todd Scarola will back up McElhinney.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Blackhawks ’15-16 Outlook

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Despite the plethora of changes made to their roster this summer, the Chicago Blackhawks should once again be contenders in this season. Immediately following their third Stanley Cup victory in six years, oddsmakers chose Chicago as the favorite to win the cup again.

Chicago’s success this season will depend on how newcomers fair. The Blackhawks lost four key pieces of their team in the offseason with Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp, Johnny Oduya and Brad Richards all finding new homes.

Salary cap constraints will force the Blackhawks to rely on younger players such as Teuvo Teravainen this season. The 20-year-old appeared in 34 games with the ‘Hawks last season, scoring four goals and nine points.

Artem Anisimov, acquired in the Saad deal, will likely slot in behind Jonathan Toews as the ‘Hawks second line center. Newcomers Ryan Garbutt and Marko Dano will also fill holes in the Blackhawks roster this season.

Rookies Kyle Baun, Ryan Hartman and Artemi Panarin could also challenge for roster spots.

“I think change is good, and I think we’ve embraced that in the past and been able to bring in some players that now are household names … but at one point they were new,” GM Stan Bowman told NHL.com. “It’s going to be the same thing for some of the new guys that are part of this group next year. They might be new to the fans and media, but as you’ll see in time, I think we’re really going to fall in love with some of these guys.”

Chicago will also have new regulars on the blue line with the likes of Trevor van Riemsdyk and David Rundblad vying for roster spots behind Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Trevor Daley. Erik Gustafsson and Ville Pokka will also battle for spots on the back end.

In goal, Corey Crawford is the clear cut No. 1 while Scott Darling beat out Antti Raanta for the backup role. Raanta was dealt to the New York Rangers during the offseason.

One wild card for the Blackhawks is, of course, Patrick Kane. The 26-year-old is currently the subject of a police investigation. Kane would’ve challenged for the scoring title last season, if a shoulder injury hadn’t forced him to miss the final 21 games of the regular season.

Chicago will once again be a threat in the Western Conference, but how deep they go will depend on how well the newcomers fit.

Blackhawks extend TVR through 2017-18

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The Chicago Blackhawks have come to terms with Trevor van Riemsdyk on a two-year contract extension, the club announced today.

The new deal locks van Riemsdyk up through 2017-18, after which he can become a restricted free agent. The reported cap hit for the extension is $825,000. (Which is actually less than his current NHL cap hit of $925,000 that runs through next season, though unlike his current contract, his extension is a one-way deal.)

A 23-year-old defenseman, van Riemsdyk was a pleasant surprise for the ‘Hawks at the start of the 2014-15 campaign. However, injuries to both his leg and wrist meant missing a significant chunk of the season. He only returned in time to play the final four games of the Stanley Cup Final.

“We saw firsthand what he was able to do when he came into training camp. Surprised us all how well he played, how effective and efficient he is,” coach Joel Quenneville said prior to the final. 

“One of his strengths is his reads, positionally aware, decision-making with the puck. He’s got a lot of attributes that can help our team. I think he came onto the scene rather fast for us. I think we have a lot of confidence and trust in him.”

Related: Chicago signs NCAA prospect Trevor van Riemsdyk

‘Hawks would like to re-sign Oduya, but still working through ‘financial hurdles’

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Johnny Oduya is still waiting for the Blackhawks to clear enough cap space to re-sign him, according to Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune.

But the ‘Hawks may have to clear it soon, because Oduya won’t wait forever.

ESPN’s Craig Custance reported on July 1 that the 33-year-old defenseman was “sitting on a very good offer.”

Presumably that “very good offer” wasn’t from Chicago; otherwise, he would’ve signed it.

“We would like to try to bring him back,” GM Stan Bowman said of Oduya, per CSN Chicago’s Tracey Myers. “We have financial hurdles we’re working through.”

Even though the Blackhawks traded Brandon Saad, they added Artem Anisimov’s $3.3 million cap hit for next season, and they still haven’t dealt Patrick Sharp, Bryan Bickell, or any of the other players rumored to be out the door.

The ‘Hawks have five NHL defenseman under contract for 2015-16 — Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, David Rundblad, and Trevor van Riemsdyk.

If they can’t re-sign Oduya, they could either look elsewhere for a cheaper free agent, or commit to giving roster spots to youngsters like Stephen Johns and Ville Pokka.

Related: UFA of the Day: Johnny Oduya