Seattle Kraken forward Jordan Eberle suffered a “deep cut” from a skate blade on his leg in practice and is expected to miss time, Kraken general manager Ron Francis told The Seattle Times on Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Francis said the injury occurred when winger Jaden Schwartz lost balance after stepping on a puck. Eberle’s timetable to return is yet to be determined but Francis said the team believes it “dodged a bullet.”
- Forward prospects Shane Wright and Ryan Winterton were recalled from the Coachella Valley Firebirds as a result and Francis told The Seattle Times there’s “a strong chance” both play Thursday against the Calgary Flames.
- Skate blade injuries have been at the forefront of hockey news over the last two weeks since former NHL forward Adam Johnson died after a “freak accident” in a match in Britain’s top hockey league. Johnson sustained a serious cut to the neck from a skate in a game while playing for the Nottingham Panthers.
- Multiple players — including Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin and Winnipeg Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers — have worn neck protection since.
— Seattle Kraken PR (@SeattleKrakenPR) November 9, 2023
How Seattle replaces Eberle
The Kraken operate by committee, which puts a little less strain on just one forward. But this is a team that needs more five-on-five scoring — they’re bottom five with just 1.93 goals per 60 — so losing a key part of their top six in Eberle obviously hurts. While the results haven’t been there from the veteran winger just yet, at five-on-five he has one of the best influences on the team’s expected goal generation relative to his teammates. And Seattle is scoring more while he’s deployed.
Wright obviously hasn’t played a ton at the NHL level just yet, but he has the potential to bring something they’ve been missing: star power. Where he ends up slotting, and for how long, are the big questions. When he played eight games at the NHL level last year, he saw an average ice time of less than nine minutes per game.
Eberle plays more than double that on average, so the question for the Kraken will be how much of that time Wright actually absorbs or who shoulders some of that workload in his absence. — Shayna Goldman, NHL staff writer
Bigger conversation coming on blade protection?
The Eberle injury is a reminder of the risks associated with hockey — a sport that literally features players skating around at high speeds with knives on their boots. He’s not the first player to suffer a leg injury from a skate blade. Tyler Seguin’s leg was cut by Jordan Greenway’s skate against the Sabres last March, and luckily that wasn’t as severe as the Achilles injury he suffered from a skate cut back in 2015-16.
Gabriel Landeskog’s injuries that have held him out of all of last and this season stem from a skate cut in the 2020 playoffs, too. Maybe it sparks a bigger conversation on stronger protection for players. Already, it’s at the forefront with neck guards, but maybe that discussion shifts to legs as well. — Goldman
(Photo: Dennis Schneidler / USA Today)