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Insider

NHL Morning Links - Oct. 18

10/18/2013

While the Philadelphia Flyers are struggling at present, it's not all doom and gloom as far as the club's future is concerned. Looking back on the trades that exiled Jeff Carter and Mike Richards from The City of Brotherly Love, ESPN Insider Craig Custance discusses what Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier may bring to the Flyers' table in years to come. And there's a healthy sense of optimism, in regards to the two young forwards. As for other Insider content, Corey Pronman offers early report cards on several NHL rookies, including Seth Jones, Aleksander Barkov, and Sean Monahan.

The Detroit Red Wings may be forced to get by without their top defenseman for the next handful of games. Niklas Kronwall is nursing a concussion after taking a hit from behind in Thursday's 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche. But the situation appeared even more worrisome at the time. Right after he was driven into the boards by Cody McLeod, Kronwall laid on the ice without moving. The fact that the veteran D-man wasn't taken to the hospital is a good sign. Look for Brendan Smith to rejoin the lineup in Kronwall's absence.

In other Red Wings' news, Jonas Gustavsson's latest stint in net has likely come to an end. No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard (swollen hand) expects to start for the Wings when they visit the Phoenix Coyotes Saturday. Gustavsson played well in relief of Howard over the past week, posting a 3-0 record, .953 save percentage, and 1.67 goals-against-average.

The Montreal Canadiens are able to breathe a sigh of relief after hearing forward Max Pacioretty will only miss the next three weeks with a strained left hamstring. Again, the injury appeared far worse when Pacioretty had to be helped off the ice during Tuesday's win over the Winnipeg Jets.

Listed as "day-to-day", forward Evander Kane may not miss any time for the Winnipeg Jets after suffering a lower-body (right leg) injury in practice this week. If Kane isn't able to go against the St. Louis Blues Friday, look for center Patrice Cormier to play his first NHL game of the season. Cormier was called up from St. John's Wednesday.

Netminder Niklas Backstrom (knee) is healed up enough to dress for the Minnesota Wild, suggesting Darcy Kuemper is about to be sent back down to the AHL. However, Backstrom may serve as backup for a while yet, as Josh Harding has played exceptionally well in relief.

While the Edmonton Oilers are in the hunt for an experienced starting goaltender, they may have to rule out the Buffalo Sabres' No. 1 netminder as an option. According to ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun, the Edmonton club is one of eight teams on Ryan Miller's no-trade list (as allowed by his modified no-trade clause). LeBrun suggests Michal Neuvirth of the Washington Capitals, Jonas Hiller of the Anaheim Ducks, and Brian Elliott of the Blues are also on the Oilers' potential trade radar.

After losing Rick Nash to a suspected concussion, the New York Rangers are down another prominent figure. Captain Ryan Callahan -- Nash's top-unit replacement, of late -- is expected to miss the next three to four weeks with a broken thumb. While bottom-six forward Darroll Powe has been recalled from the AHL, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault may take this opportunity to promote J.T. Miller to the No. 1 line. At least until Carl Hagelin (shoulder) is healthy enough to return (Oct. 29?).

We await further word on the "lower-body" injury that knocked defenseman Kimmo Timonen out of Thursday's tilt between the Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins. If the injury is at all serious, Andrej Meszaros should draw back into the lineup after sitting as a healthy scratch for three games. However, the Flyers don't play again until Thursday.

Young forward Mika Zibanejad could get the call for the Ottawa Senators in the next little while. After placing Stephane Da Costa on waivers, the Senators are in position to recall another forward from Binghamton. Launching this season in the AHL, Zibanejad notched 20 points in 42 games with the Sens in 2012-13.

Goalie Jonathan Bernier could be fairly busy for the Toronto Maple Leafs through the next week -- at least. Just half a minute into Thursday's match with the Carolina Hurricanes, starter James Reimer was knocked out of the game after his head made contact with teammate Josh Leivo's knee. Considering Reimer's history of head/neck issues, this injury merits serious concern. But, for now, the club is only calling Reimer's ailment a "headache".