NHL trade deadline rumors, tracker: Jonathan Quick on the move again, Boston gets Tyler Bertuzzi
The 2022-23 NHL season is coming down the home stretch with the trade deadline set for Friday, March 3 at 3 p.m. ET. The league has already seen some big names moved prior to the deadline with Vladimir Tarasenko landing with the New York Rangers, Bo Horvat heading to the New York Islanders and Ryan O’Reilly being sent to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
But that’s not all. Stars like Patrick Kane, Jakob Chychrun and Erik Karlsson could be on the move prior to Friday’s deadline.
For all of the latest moves around the NHL, follow along with our NHL trade deadline rumors and tracker below.
March 2: Blue Jackets flip Jonathan Quick to Golden Knights
For the second time this week, Jonathan Quick is on the move. On Thursday, the Columbus Blue Jackets traded the veteran goaltender to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for goaltender Michael Hutchinson and a 2025 seventh-round pick.
- The Blue Jackets had acquired Quick on Tuesday along with a 2023 first-round pick and a 2023 third-round pick from the Kings in exchange for defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and goalie Joonas Korpisalo.
- At the time of the initial trade to Columbus, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported that Quick was “unhappy” about being dealt.
During the 2022-23 season, Quick has a 11-13-4 record, a 3.50 goals-against-average, and a .876 save percentage in 31 games with Los Angeles. Now Quick, 37, will join a Kings team that is in need of some goaltending depth after starter Logan Thompson was placed on injured reserve last month with a lower-body injury. Prior to Wednesday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy revealed that Thompson is “nowhere near being on the ice.”
March 2: Bruins improve forward group with acquisition of Tyler Bertuzzi from Red Wings
The rich get richer. On Thursday, the Boston Bruins acquired winger Tyler Bertuzzi from the Detroit Red Wings in a trade that makes the team’s forward group even stronger for a Stanley Cup run. As a part of the deal, the Red Wings will retain 50 percent of Bertuzzi’s salary.
In exchange for Bertuzzi’s services, the Red Wings received:
- 2024 first-round pick (protected)
- 2025 fourth-round pick
Bertuzzi is due to be an unrestricted free agent this summer and was in the market for a contract extension from the Red Wings. However, according to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, talks between both sides broke down in December.
Bertuzzi has tallied just four goals and 10 assists in 29 games this season as he’s dealt with two broken hands throughout the 2022-23 campaign. When healthy, the 28-year old is a very talented goal scorer that is coming off a 62-point season in 2021-22. Bertuzzi gives the Bruins another weapon on their second or third line.
March 1: Senators win Jakob Chychrun sweepstakes with modest bid
The Arizona Coyotes have had Jakob Chychrun sitting on the trade block for well over a year now, and they have finally dealt him to the Ottawa Senators in a major deal just two days before the deadline.
In exchange for Chychrun, the Coyotes received:
- 2023 conditional first-round pick
- 2024 conditional second-round pick
- 2026 second-round pick
Chychrun is a legitimate top-pairing defenseman with a very reasonable $4.6 million cap hit, and the Senators just got him for an incredibly modest price. At one point there were talks of the Coyotes wanting multiple first round picks and top-notch prospects in exchange for Chychrun, but the market for defensemen has dried up over the last week.
While this return may be somewhat disappointing for the Coyotes, they now have a glut of draft picks in the next few years. If Arizona plays its cards right, it would ice a very competitive team in a few seasons.
March 1: Red Wings deal defenseman Filip Hronek to Canucks
The Detroit Red Wings have sent 25-year-old defenseman Filip Hronek and a 2023 fourth-round pick to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a 2023 conditional first-round pick and a 2023 second-round pick.
Hronek is a strong offensive defenseman, and he is having the best season of his career. Hronek is already tied for his career high in goals, and he is on track to set a new career high in assists too. Hronek should give Vancouver more offensive help from the blue line, but it does limit the team from a salary cap perspective moving forward.
The Red Wings were able to get some quality assets back for Hronek, and it’ll be interesting to see what they do with them. Detroit could use the picks to draft more highly-touted prospects, or it could flip them for a player who can help the team in the immediate future.
March 1: Hurricanes land defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere from Coyotes
The Carolina Hurricanes have added some more offensive firepower to their blue line. On Wednesday, the Hurricanes acquired defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a 2026 third-round pick.
The 29-year-old is a rental as he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Gostisbehere has spent the past two seasons with the Coyotes after the team acquired him from the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2021 offseason. The left-handed shooting defenseman has recorded 10 goals and 21 assists in 52 games as a member of the Coyotes this season.
Gostisbehere adds some necessary offense among Carolina’s top four defensemen group. Over the course of his nine-year NHL career, he’s tallied 84 career goals, including four double-digit goal campaigns. The Hurricanes were already one of the league’s higher-scoring teams with 3.36 goals per game, and now they’ve added more of an offensive touch on the back end alongside Brent Burns.
March 1: Avalanche acquire center Lars Eller from Capitals
Colorado has been in need of center depth, and Eller will fill that role as the team tries to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. In return, for Eller the Capitals will receive a 2025 second-round pick, the teams announced on Wednesday.
Eller has spent that last seven seasons with the Capitals, and he came up clutch in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. In the decisive Game 5, Eller scored the game-winning goal for Washington with just 7:37 remaining in the third period.
Eller will bring a strong defensive pedigree and playoff experience to an Avalanche team hurting for center depth right now. Colorado lost Nazem Kadri to the Calgary Flames in free agency last summer, and since then the center position has been a bit of a weakness outside of Nathan MacKinnon. Eller will give the Avs a quality depth option there.
March 1: Kings trade Jonathan Quick to Blue Jackets for Vladislav Gavrikov, Joonas Korpisalo
It’s the end of an era in Los Angeles. The Kings have traded goalie Jonathan Quick, a 2023 first-round pick and a 2023 third-round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and goalie Joonas Korpisalo.
Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported that Quick was “unhappy” when he was informed of the trade.
- Quick has spent all 16 of his NHL seasons with the Kings and won two Stanley Cups with the franchise.
- Throughout his career, the 37-year old has tallied a 370-275-82 record, a 2.46 goals-against-average, and a .911 save percentage.
- Quick also won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2012 as the playoff MVP during the Kings’ Stanley Cup run.
Clearly, the Kings were attempting to pair a younger goaltender with Pheonix Copley. Korpisalo, 28, has a 11-11-3 record to go along with a 3.17 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in 28 games this season as he’s split time with Elvis Merzlikins in Columbus.
In Gavrikov, the Kings beef up their blue line and provides a very necessary left-handed shot on a team full of right-handed shooting defensemen. Both Gavrikov and Korpisalo will be unrestricted free agents this summer.
Feb. 28: Predators trade Mattias Ekholm to Oilers for package of picks, players
The Predators dealt veteran defenseman Mattias Ekholm and a 2024 sixth-round pick to the Oilers in exchange for a 2023 first-round pick, a 2024 fourth-round pick, prospect Reid Schaefer and defenseman Tyson Barrie.
Edmonton was in need of a big defenseman who could play the puck well, and that is exactly what Ekholm brings to the table. The Oilers have had trouble keeping the puck out of their own net this season, but Ekholm will help stop the bleeding. With Ekholm now in the mix, Edmonton looks more like a serious Stanley Cup contender in the Western Conference.
The Predators continue their fire sale by trading Ekholm, and getting the 2023 first-round pick and Schaefer were the real prizes. When he takes over as Nashville’s general manager on July 1, Barry Trotz will have a lot of draft capital with which to work.
Feb. 28: Maple Leafs add defenseman Luke Schenn from the Canucks
In his quest to acquire every NHL defenseman, Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has added Luke Schenn from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a 2023 third-round pick.
Schenn is a big-bodied defenseman who provides a physical presence, but he has had a rough 2022-23 season in Vancouver. Maybe playing on a better team in Toronto will help him turn things around, but the Maple Leafs may also have something else cooking here.
After acquiring Schenn, Toronto now has nine defensemen on its NHL roster. With such a major logjam at the position, it’s hard to imagine the team not making another move to bolster its forward group.
Feb. 28: Islanders acquire Pierre Engvall from Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs have been incredibly active, and one the moves sent forward Pierre Engvall to the New York Islanders in exchange for a 2024 third-round pick.
Engvall, now in his fourth NHL season, gives the Isles a strong defensive forward. Considering the Islanders’ struggles at that end of the ice this year, Engvall should help them address a need, and he can make some plays at the offensive end as well. In 58 games this season, Engvall has 12 goals and 21 points.
By trading Engvall, Toronto frees up another $2.25 million in salary cap space with the trade deadline just three days away.
Feb. 28: Maple Leafs, Capitals swap defensemen
The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded defenseman Rasmus Sandin to the Washington Capitals in exchange for defenseman Erik Gustafsson and a 2023 first-round pick. The first-round pick going to Toronto is the one Washington got from the Boston Bruins in the Dmitry Orlov trade just last week.
This deal makes some sense for both sides. The Maple Leafs give up a developing player for Gustafsson, who is in the midst of an excellent year and can help the team generate offense from the blue line, as well as a first-round pick. We’ll see how long Toronto holds onto that first-rounder as they try to make more moves ahead of the deadline.
Washington turned Orlov and Gustafsson, two veteran defensemen on expiring contracts, into the 22-year-old Sandin. It’s an excellent deal for a team looking to rebuild on the fly because Sandin has taken a big step forward in his development this year. There’s a chance Sandin becomes a vital piece of the Capitals’ blue line for a long time to come.
Feb. 28: Wild acquire forward Marcus Johansson from Capitals
The Minnesota Wild announced that they have acquired Marcus Johansson from the Capitals in exchange for a 2024 third-round pick. In 60 games with Washington this season, Johansson has tallied 28 points (13 goals and 15 assists).
The Wild are in need of supplementary scoring as the playoffs approach, and Johansson should give them some of that, but they may still need to make a bigger splash to move the needle atop the Western Conference.
This marks a return to Minnesota for the journeyman Johansson. He played for the Wild in the 2020-21 season and recorded six goals and eight assists in 36 games played.
Feb. 28: Blackhawks trade Patrick Kane to Rangers in exchange for draft picks
After weeks of speculation, Patrick Kane has now been traded to the New York Rangers. In exchange for Kane, the Blackhawks will receive a 2023 conditional second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick. If the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference Finals, the conditional second-round pick becomes a first-round pick in 2024 or 2025.
Kane is in the midst of a disappointing season by his standards, but that could easily be attributed to the lack of talent around him in Chicago. In his last four games of the Blackhawks, Kane showed what he was capable of by scoring seven goals and tallying 10 points.
In just a few weeks, the Rangers have added all kinds of offensive firepower on the wings. New York traded for Vladimir Tarasenko on Feb. 9, and now Kane joins the mix as the Rangers push for a Stanley Cup in a competitive Eastern Conference.
Feb. 28: Hurricanes acquire winger Jesse Puljujarvi from Oilers
After missing out on Timo Meier, the Carolina Hurricanes were still trying to upgrade their forward group. They acquired Puljujarvi in exchange for forward prospect Patrik Puistola on Tuesday.
Puljujarvi may not be the kind of player who will light the scoreboard on fire, but he has always posted strong five-on-five numbers, and he should fit right in with the Hurricanes as a bottom-six winger. Perhaps more importantly, Puljujarvi only comes with a $3 million cap hit, so Carolina still has plenty of room to make a big move ahead of the deadline.
This trade allows the Oilers to create some more salary cap space while rumors swirl that they are in the market for a top-four defenseman. If Edmonton is going to acquire someone like Jacob Chychrun or Mattias Ekholm, it needed to move money out, and it did just that with this deal.
Feb. 28: Oilers in talks to acquire a top-four defenseman
When you have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl at the top of the lineup, goal-scoring will take care of itself. With the trade deadline looming, the Oilers are trying to upgrade their blue line. According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Edmonton has expressed interest in Arizona’s Jacob Chychrun, Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm, and Columbus’ Vladislav Gavrikov.
The Oilers rank first in the NHL with 232 goals scored, but they rank 22nd with 204 goals allowed. If Edmonton wants to contend for a Stanley Cup, it has to do a better job keeping the puck out its own net, and acquiring a top-pairing defenseman would go a long way toward accomplishing that goal.
Feb. 28: Rangers have things ‘in motion’ to acquire Patrick Kane as early as Tuesday evening
It seems like Kane to the Rangers is a foregone conclusion at this point, and the Rangers are just waiting to accrue enough salary cap space to make the trade happen. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Rangers could potentially finalize the deal after 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Kane hasn’t played since Feb. 22, and he has been away from the Blackhawks as he waits for a deal to happen. In recent days, the Rangers have made a series of moves, including trading young forward Vitali Kravtsov to the Vancouver Canucks, to create just enough space for Kane’s arrival.
Feb. 28: Rangers still clearing cap space with hopes of acquiring Patrick Kane
On Saturday, Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane left the team’s California road trip and returned to Chicago, according to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. Kane won’t suit up for the Blackhawks leading up to Friday’s trade deadline.
Kaplan also reported that there is mutual interest between Kane and the New York Rangers. The Rangers spent the weekend attempting to clear the necessary cap space to get a potential deal for Kane done:
- New York traded 2018 first-round pick Vitali Kravtsov to the Vancouver Canucks in a salary dump to get the ball rolling.
- They also assigned defenseman Braden Schneider to their AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack, on Sunday, which could signify that Schneider would be part of a trade for Kane.
Feb. 27: Maple Leafs acquire Sam Lafferty, Jake McCabe from Blackhawks
The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t made it out of the opening round of the playoffs in each of the past six seasons. Their front office is doing everything that they can to make sure that the team is set up for a deep postseason run this time around. On Monday, the Maple Leafs acquired forward Sam Lafferty and defenseman Jake McCabe from the Chicago Blackhawks.
- In addition to Lafferty and McCabe, Toronto received a 2024 fifth-round pick and a 2025 fifth-round pick in the deal
- Chicago received forwards Joey Anderson and Pavel Gogolev, a 2025 first-round pick, and a 2026 second-round pick.
Lafferty has 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in 51 games this season and is signed through the 2023-24 campaign. Meanwhile, McCabe has tallied 20 points (two points, 18 assists) and is in just the second season of a four-year, $16 million contract.
Feb. 26: Devils land Timo Meier in massive deal
Timo Meier was one of the biggest prizes available on the trade market leading up to Friday’s deadline. On Sunday, the New Jersey Devils acquired the talented winger in a huge trade with the San Jose Sharks.
- The Sharks shipped Meier, forward Timur Ibragimov, defensemen Scott Harrington and Santeri Hatakka, goaltender Zachary Emond and a 2023 fifth-round pick to the Devils.
- The Devils sent a 2023 first-round pick, a conditional 2024 first-round pick, forwards Fabian Zetterlund and Andreas Johnsson and defensemen Shakir Mukhamadullin and Nikita Okhotyuk to the Sharks.
- As a part of the deal, the Sharks are retaining 50 percent of Meier’s $6 million cap hit.
Meier is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and the Devils don’t have any type of contract extension in place as of right now. The 26-year-old star currently has 31 goals and 21 assists in 57 games this season for the Sharks. Meier had spent all seven years of his NHL career in San Jose prior to the trade.
Feb. 26: Lightning add Tanner Jeannot
The Tampa Bay Lightning have been to three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals, so being active at the trade deadline isn’t a big surprise. On Sunday, the Lightning acquired forward Tanner Jeannot from the Nashville Predators in exchange for:
- Defenseman Cal Foote.
- A 2025 first round pick (top-10 protected).
- A 2024 second-round pick.
- A 2023 third-round pick.
- A 2023 fourth-round pick.
- A 2023 fifth-round pick.
Jeannot, 25, is in the final season of a two-year contract and can become a restricted free agent this summer. He has 62 career points (34 goals & 28 assists) in 152 career regular season games as a member of the Predators.
Feb. 25: Jets acquire Nino Niederreiter from Predators
The Nashville Predators moved one of their veteran pieces in the form of winger Nino Niederreiter to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick. Niederreiter is signed through the 2023-24 season, so he isn’t a rental for the Jets. Niederreiter has tallied 28 points (18 goals, 10 assists) in 56 games this season.
The Jets are battling at the top of the Central Division and adding a player of Niederreiter’s caliber should really give a boost to Winnipeg’s forward group.
Feb. 23: Bruins beef up blue line with addition of Dmitry Orlov
The Boston Bruins have been an absolute juggernaut this season. They made their defensive unit even stronger by acquiring defenseman Dmitry Orlov and forward Garnet Hathaway from the Washington Capitals in a three-team deal. In exchange for Orlov and Hathaway, the Bruins sent the following to the Capitals:
- A 2023 first-round pick.
- A 2025 second-round pick.
- A 2024 third-round pick.
- Forward Craig Smith.
The Capitals will also retain 50 percent of Orlov’s $5.1 million cap hit. In addition, the Minnesota Wild will also retain 25 percent of Orlov’s contract and sent the rights of Andrei Svetlakov to the Bruins for a 2023 fifth-round pick.
Orlov, 31, is in the final year of a six-year, $30.6 million deal and is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. He’s tallied 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) in 43 games for the Capitals this season. Orlov will join an already stacked Boston blue line that includes the likes of Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm and Matt Grzelcyk.
Raptors' Nick Nurse 'Gonna Take a Few Weeks to See Where I'm at' After Season Ends – Bleacher Report
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is unsure of his future with the franchise beyond the 2022-23 campaign.
Nurse told reporters ahead of Friday’s matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers that he’s going to take his time deciding on whether he wants to forge ahead as Toronto’s head coach beyond this season.
Nurse said, via ESPN’s Tim Bontemps:
“First of all, I think when this season gets done, we’ll evaluate everything, and even personally, I’m gonna take a few weeks to see where I’m at, you know? Like you said, where my head’s at. And just see how the relationship with the organization is and everything. It’s been 10 years for me now, which is a pretty good run. I don’t know, over those 10 years we got to be up there in number of wins with anybody in the league. I don’t know even know where that is, but we’ve had a lot of big seasons.
“And then, right now, my head is to make this as long of a season as possible. This team needs playoff experience. So that is where I’m at right now … finish out these six, see where we land, see if we can’t creep up a spot or two in the standings, and then give them hell in the playoffs, see if we can get in a real series and take it from there.”
Nurse added that he has not considered his future being somewhere other than Toronto after the 2022-23 campaign.
The 55-year-old has been with the franchise for 10 years. He has been head coach of the Raptors since the 2018-19 season and he served as an assistant for the franchise under Dwane Casey from 2013 to ’18.
In his five seasons as Toronto’s head coach, the team has gone 224-160 and has made three postseason appearances, including a trip to the NBA Finals in 2019, where the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in six games.
However, the Raptors have struggled to a 38-38 record this season entering Friday’s game against the Sixers. The team currently sits ninth in the Eastern Conference and isn’t expected to contend for a title this year.
If Nurse and the Raptors part ways after this season, it will be interesting to see whether he retires or searches for another head coaching gig. He has been linked to the Houston Rockets, but there’s been no indication that he would take that job.
Harnden brothers together again for World Curling Championship – SooToday
With the World Men’s Curling Championship set to open up in Ottawa this weekend, E.J. and Ryan Harnden are set to reunite on the curling rink.
The Sault Ste. Marie brothers, who were teammates for years with Brad Jacobs and his northern Ontario-based team for years before the team disbanded at the end of last season, are back together as members of Brad Gushue’s Newfoundland and Labrador-based team that will represent Canada at the tournament.
E.J. joined the Gushue rink full time in the off-season while Ryan will be with the team as an alternate.
“Joining E.J. is going to be special,” Ryan said. “Joining a group like these guys, who have won so much over the last seven years, I have a tremendous amount of respect for this team. We’ve battled in some big games over the course of our careers, but that respect level has always been there.”
“Anything I need to do, anything they want me to do, I’ll be there to help make their lives a little bit easier so they can relax and focus on curling. That’s my primary goal,” Ryan added.
Gushue said experience played a role in adding Ryan as their alternate.
“Ryan has been one of the best leads in the world the last number of years,” Gushue said. “The ability for him late at night to go out and match rocks for us, we’re going to be confident that whatever he says, whatever he gives us, they’re going to be pretty darn close.”
Gushue added that familiarity with the team also helped.
“The familiarity there and the comfort he’s going to provide to the team,” Gushue said. “It’s not like he’s coming in and we need to learn about him.”
Ryan also said that getting a chance to join the Gushue rink took some of the sting off losing in the Brier final with Matt Dunstone’s Manitoba-based team.
“To come that close, it was obviously very disappointing,” Ryan said. “I’m honoured and very excited to join these guys. They’re a team I’ve respected for a very long time.”
E.J. called having brother Ryan joining the team for the Worlds “special.”
“Going back to that, obviously it was extremely hard playing against Ryan,” E.J. said of the Brier final. “We have a really close relationship and I think everyone got a really good inside look at that throughout the Brier and especially into the playoff round and the type of relationship that we do have. Both of us were very honest and genuine when we said, as hard as it was, that was a perfect scenario because at least one of us was going to win.”
E.J. added that “I probably felt every single emotion that I was able to feel simultaneously once we won.”
Both Harnden brothers also reflected on their last World Men’s Curling Championship appearance, which was 10 years ago with Brad Jacobs’ rink.
“We were a bit of a deer in the headlights at that first Worlds,” Ryan said. “Being quite new onto the scene, we had some ups and downs. That prepared us very well for Sochi, even though the Olympics is a bit of a different beast. Having that international experience kind of opened our eyes of how much pressure there is wearing that Canadian flag.”
“It’s hard to prepare for what that feels like when you’re now representing your country,” E.J. added. “That was a great learning experience for us to be able to separate from those expectations and focus on what it is that we need to do as individuals and as a team in order to maximize our play on the ice and focus on the things that are within our control.”
E.J. joined the Gushue rink in the off-season after Team Jacobs announced near the end of last season that Jacobs was stepping away from competitive men’s curling for the time being. E.J. said transitioning to his new team has been “going great.”
“To still be able to learn and absorb knowledge has been great,” E.J. said. “I feel like that’s only going to help me of these next number of years continue to improve and become even a better player than I am now, which is a great feeling.”
E.J. added that his new teammates – Gushue, Mark Nichols, and Geoff Walker – “have been really easy to get along with.”
With E.J. and Caleb Flaxey, also a Sault native, on the team this year, Gushue said both have mixed in well, E.J. as second and Flaxey as a coach.
“We’re at very similar stages in our life. We’re similar ages and have a lot of similar interests. We have good chats and it’s nice to be able to bounce some stuff off him and him bounce some stuff off me and we also like our quiet time too,” Gushue said of E.J.
“Caleb’s very detail-oriented,” Gushue added. “It’s nice to have him on board and take care of a lot of the stuff, some of the things I had to deal with over the last number of years.”
Gushue joked that while Flaxey’s rock experience wasn’t quite at the level of longtime Canadian curling coach Jules Owchar, Flaxey is “just probably a little bit more organized than Jules.”
“Jules still does everything by paper and pen,” Gushue joked. “He’s pretty old-school where Caleb gets the laptop out.”
Ryan O'Reilly on his broken finger and injury rehab: "They said I needed surgery, so I'm thinking, 'Am I done for the season?' The timeline gave me relief… Playoffs are all that really matters” – Maple Leafs Hot Stove
For the first time since breaking his finger, Ryan O’Reilly met with the media to discuss his return to practice, his injury rehab, and the plan to ramp up for the playoffs.
How does the finger feel right now?
O’Reilly: It feels good. It has been four weeks now since it happened, but it feels good. We’re progressing. It is not 100% yet. We have to be smart. The goal is to be 100% for the playoffs.
It was nice to be out there skating with the guys. We are getting close here.
Would you be playing if this was the playoffs right now?
O’Reilly: Possibly. It is tough to say. We are in a good position with having the points.
It does feel good. It is just being smart and making sure we don’t have setbacks and can be ready for the right time.
Was there a sinking feeling and you knew right away when the puck hit you?
O’Reilly: I didn’t really know until I got off and was getting changed. Paul [Ayotte] the trainer came over, asked, and wanted to look at it. I kind of saw it was crooked. I knew it wasn’t good.
We saw the x-ray, and obviously, it was disappointing. But I didn’t really know. They said I probably needed surgery, so I didn’t know how long. Am I done for the season or not?
It was kind of good news that I wouldn’t be out too long and that it happened early enough. It wasn’t later in the season. I am just focused on getting ready for the playoffs.
How long did it take for you to find out the severity of it?
O’Reilly: It wasn’t too long after. They kind of gave me a timeline of four-to-six weeks after doing the surgery on it. I was really disappointed, but that kind of gave me relief with regard to the playoffs. That’s all that really matters.
What is the final piece you are waiting for until it would be 100%?
O’Reilly: The shooting and passing feel great. It is just the other stuff — the stick battles and all of that, and just being able to trust that it’s 100% strong in that.
Again, that is going to come. It is progressing. I feel like I could push it harder, but there is no point. We just have to be smart with it and make sure it heals the right way. It will help me down the road.
Does the fact that it is the lower hand on the stick make it more impactful?
O’Reilly: The top hand does a lot of work, too. Both do different things. For faceoffs, it is the bottom hand that carries a lot of the force, too. Either or play a vital part in it. It is just an unfortunate break. It happens.
Are you going to wear a modified glove when you come back to protect it?
O’Reilly: Possibly. Right now, I am wearing something that can protect it a little better. As we progress, we will kind of revisit it and see.
Have you circled a game for a return?
O’Reilly: No, we are kind of just taking it every couple of days, evaluating it, and seeing where we are at. We don’t really have a target yet.
Is it nice to be back into the full practice?
O’Reilly: I don’t like being in the red [jersey]. It stands out a little too much.
It was a good first practice to get back into the feel and be out there with other bodies. I think it will start from there.
How significant are the final few games and making sure you get into a game or two?
O’Reilly: Those will be great. It will be good for our lineup, too, to see how we are going to approach that first game and for me to get the timing back. You can skate all you want in practice, but the feel of the game, the pushing, the competing is something that you can’t really replicate.
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