Jacob Trouba suffered what the New York Rangers are calling an upper-body injury during the first period of a 6-1 loss to the Islanders on Tuesday night. Matt Martin threw the hit, and despite Trouba seemingly getting prepared for the hit, the heavy collision rattled the 6-foot-4 defenseman. He was noticeably wobbly, attempting to get up and regain his balance before falling again and being assisted by his teammates and the referee.
The Rangers call Trouba day-to-day, but he will be out of the lineup for Thursday’s matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers. The vacancy in the lineup could allow the highly-touted prospect Zac Jones the chance to make his NHL debut less than a week after signing his entry-level contract (ELC) with the Blueshirts.
After Trouba’s injury, the Rangers looked distraught, chasing the game and dropping a rather large two points at Nassau Coliseum. The Rangers entered Tuesday’s affair eight points behind their cross-town rivals with six points up for grabs in meetings with the Islanders over the remainder of the season. But after dropping the first of the final three matches, they sit 10-points back of the Islanders and six points behind the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot.
Trouba has 12 points in 38 games in 2020-21, averaging over 21 minutes of ice time on the blue line. If he is out long-term, it will be a big hole to fill for a Rangers team pushing for the postseason.
Rangers Ink Karl Henriksson
Another prospect has signed their ELC with the Rangers, as Karl Henriksson officially inked his contract.
The contract is slated to kick in next season (2021-22), although Henriksson is likely to remain in Sweden during that campaign. The Swedish forward was the Blueshirts’ 58th overall selection in 2019 and has spent parts of the past three seasons with Frolunda HC of the Swedish Hockey League. He played 44 games for Frolunda in 2020-21, registering seven points (1 G, 6 A) and 18 penalty minutes for the club.
Henriksson’s NHL track seems questionable right now, but the Rangers have shown a willingness to lock up their prospects as of late, ensuring their talent pool will remain amongst the best in the National Hockey League. The 20-year old plays both center and left-wing – he participated in the U20 and U18 World Junior Championships, winning the gold medal and finishing as a top-three player on Team Sweden in the latter.
Players of the Week Honors Galore
The NHL recognized both Artemi Panarin and Igor Shesterkin last week for their outstanding play from April 12-18. Panarin was given the NHL’s second-star honors after posting a whopping four goals and six assists over a four-game stretch. The Breadman currently has 52 points in just 35 games this season, positioning himself in the Hart Trophy conversation for the second consecutive year.
Shesterkin didn’t qualify for the top three stars of the week but did receive the player of the week honors from the NHL Player’s Association. Shesterkin had three wins, all against New Jersey, including back-to-back shutouts, the first two of his young career.
Shesterkin stopped 73 of 76 shots over the three games against the Devils, leading the Rangers to a four-game sweep of their Hudson River rivals. The Russian netminder now owns a 13-10-3 record on the season, with a 2.43 goals-against average, .920 save percentage, and two shutouts.
The Next 4
The Rangers have a glorious chance to erase the disappointment of defeat with four straight games against the Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres. It will be the final two meetings against each of these two foes, both of whom are looking up at the Rangers in the standings.
First up is the Flyers for a two-game set at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers are 3-2-1 against Philly thus far, outscoring the Flyers by a significant margin (28-16), helped by two lopsided victories. The pesky Sabres will then come to town, looking to continue their role as a post-trade deadline spoiler. New York is 4-1-1 against Buffalo this season, but each game has been hard-fought, seeing the Sabres skate away victorious the last time these two met.
With just 10 games remaining on the schedule, there is no room for error over this four-game stretch, especially with another two-game set with the Islanders looming on the horizon.
Brendan Azoff is a THW contributor and podcast host dedicated to covering the New York Rangers. His passion for hockey started when he first laced up the skates at three, growing into his love for writing and talking about the greatest sport in the world. His podcast, The Backcheck, breaks down the Rangers, Islanders, and NHL news and can be found on The Hockey Writers Podcast Network and Belly Up Sports. Brendan has been writing about the Rangers and the NHL for over two years, with his content also found on Puck Prose, Blue Line Station, and E2G Sports. If you want to connect with Brendan and stay up-to-date on his posts, follow him on Twitter. He is always available for content ideas and interviews, don’t be afraid to ask!