NHL News: Kirill Kaprizov at Wild practice, Habs claim Pitlick, and Sabres goalie injuries
Minnesota Wild leading scorer Kirill Kaprizov returned to practice Wednesday after a questionable hit last week left the forward with an upper-body injury.
Kaprizov was put on injured reserve and missed the Wild’s 3-2 shootout win Saturday against Washington.
Kaprizov was injured after being hit along the boards by Boston’s Trent Frederic midway into the second period of the Wild’s 3-2 victory over the Bruins on Jan. 6. Frederic was assessed a minor penalty for boarding but was not penalized further by the league.
Wild coach Dean Evason called it a “predatory hit.”
Evason said Kaprizov will play Friday against the visiting Anaheim Ducks “unless something unforeseen happens.”
Signed to a five-year, $45 million contract in September, Kaprizov has recorded team-best totals in assists (26) and points (40) in 32 games this season. His 14 goals are one shy of the club lead (Ryan Hartman).
Kaprizov, 24, won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie last season when he had 27 goals and 51 points in 55 games.
Habs claim Pitlick
The Montreal Canadiens claimed forward Rem Pitlick off waivers from the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday.
Pitlick, 24, registered six goals and five assists in 20 games this season for the Wild.
“Rem’s played well in spurts,” Wild coach Dean Evason said of the decision this week to waive Pitlick. “He’s competed. He’s tried. It’s just a situation where we’re going to go in another direction.”
A third-round draft pick by Nashville in 2016, Pitlick had two assists in 11 games with the Predators from 2019-21.
Pitlick’s younger brother, Rhett, was a fifth-round pick by Montreal in 2019 and currently plays for the University of Minnesota.
Sabres goalie issues
The Buffalo Sabres signed goalie Michael Houser to a one-year deal Wednesday after adding Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Malcolm Subban to the injured list.
Houser’s deal is worth $750,000.
Both Luukkonen and Subban were injured in Tuesday night’s 6-1 loss to Tampa Bay. Luukkonen is week-to-week after suffering a lower-body injury in the start against the Lightning. Subban came on in the second period and finished the game but will miss at least a month with an upper-body injury.
Those injuries were on top of Craig Anderson (upper-body injury) being out indefinitely and Dustin Tokarski recovering from COVID-19.
“You know, in both cases we get the news this morning that definitively this is the situation, or late last night, and you just adjust and acclimate to it,” Sabres coach Don Granato said Wednesday. “… And now you’re down your No. 1 goalie, No.2, whatever it is, on and on, you have to pay attention to a little bit more detail defensively to support. You have to support a little differently obviously.”NHL.com
Houser would be the sixth goalie to see action for the Sabres this season. Tokarski has played in 14 games to lead all backstops.
Houser went 2-2-0 in four games played with the Sabres last season. This season with AHL affiliate Rochester, Houser is 5-4-0 with a .900 save percentage and a 2.98 goals-against average in 11 games played.
The Sabres also called up goalie Aaron Dell from the minors. Dell is 0-5-0 in seven games this season with Buffalo.
Also, the team reassigned forward Jack Quinn and defenseman Casey Fitzgerald to Rochester.
–Field Level Media