The struggling New York Rangers will be without defenceman Jacob Trouba for the next four to six weeks because of a broken thumb.
That’s a significant blow to an underachieving team with playoff aspirations that has lost four in a row.
“Unfortunately, we’re going to miss everything he brings from a physicality standpoint, from a compete standpoint, from what he brings to us from a leadership standpoint,” coach David Quinn said Wednesday. “He’ll be missed. But the good news is it’s not as serious as we originally thought and he’s going to be back sooner than later.”
MVP finalist Artemi Panarin is expected to to return Thursday against Philadelphia after missing the past two games with a lower-body injury. Panarin, who was injured last week in a game against Boston, leads the team with five goals, 10 assists and 15 points.
Quinn also expects defenceman K’Andre Miller to play after sitting out a loss Tuesday night to New Jersey with an upper-body injury. Jack Johnson was recently cleared to practice and isn't ready to play yet.
Trouba averaged over 22 minutes a game, so no one player will be able to make up for his absence.
“Everybody on that D corps has just got to play a little bit better,” Quinn said. “That’s all. It can’t be one guy. It’s got to be everybody.”
Centre Ryan Strome said the Rangers have “got to find a way.” They are 4-7-3 so far this season, in seventh place in the eight-team East Division, and Trouba's injury is yet another setback.
“It’s a tough loss,” top defenceman Adam Fox said. “Injuries are kind of part of the game, but you lose one of our veteran guys on the D corps, it hurts. I think it’s just an opportunity for guys to step up and kind of fill that role.”
New York already waived defenceman Tony DeAngelo and assigned him to the taxi squad after a postgame incident with another player. DeAngelo is not around the team, and management is trying to trade him.