New York Rangers Mika Zibanejad is going to miss at least six weeks after suffering a broken leg in Sunday’s game against the Florida Panthers. At 4:28 in the overtime period, Zibanejad crashed into the boards behind the net while trying to defend against Reilly Smith. Zibanejad crashed into the boards foot first, and his toes almost touched his shin. Six to eight weeks seems like a lenient time frame for such a gruesome injury, but as of right now he is not scheduled to be reevaluated.
Zibanejad has been a key part in a team that leads the league in goals for. He currently sits at 15 points in 19 games, ten of those points being assists. He was acquired from the Ottawa Senators over the offseason, in exchange for Derrick Brassard. Brassard only has seven points in 18 games, showing that the trade clearly payed off in New York’s favor (so far).
Head coach Alain Vigneault said, ““We’re no different from any other team that has injuries… Every coach will say in these moments that it is an opportunity for someone else to get more ice time.” Sunday night Oscar Lindberg was one of two healthy scratches, the other being Adam Clendening. Lindberg is the most likely to see at least a few games due to this injury, while the Rangers decide if they want to let him play or if they want to call up a player from the AHL. Lindberg has played in seven games so far this season, but has only managed one point.
If Lindberg doesn’t get the spot, Marek Hrivik is a likely candidate. He currently leads the Rangers AHL team in points, with 15 in 16 games. If not him, then Pavel Buchnevich will certainly fill the role; assuming he is back from injury soon. The 21 year old Russian is a light spot in the darkness that is the Rangers prospect pool, and has played in ten NHL games this season. In those, he has eight points, but he’s missed four games due to back issues. This issues are said to be more than just back spasms, like previously thought, so there’s no estimate for when he will return. If he can return in a timely manner, he has the ability to fill a hole that Zibanejad leaves.