Canucks' Andrew Alberts Breaks Wrist
Andrew Alberts became the latest Vancouver Canucks defenseman to go down with an injury Monday night. He suffered a broken wrist in a 3-2 loss to the Blues in St. Louis and is out indefinitely.
The 29-year-old Minneapolis native becomes the fourth regular blue-liner sidelined lately -- only a day before the Canucks were due to play in Minnesota before his family and friends. Vancouver has also lost Dan Hamhuis (concussion), Keith Ballard (knee) and Alex Edler (back) recently. Rookie Lee Sweatt is also sidelined with a broken foot suffered in practice and remains on the Canucks roster after his re-assignment to Manitoba of the AHL was rescinded because of the injury.
Following Alberts' injury, the Canucks immediately called up rookie Yan Sauvé from Manitoba; he is slated to make his NHL debut against the Wild. Sauvé hasn't been injury-free, either. He suffered a concussion in training camp -- but not on the ice. He was hit by a car while crossing the street in a crosswalk in downtown Vancouver. So far in his first pro season, he has only played 20 games, producing a modest three assists.
His promotion means the Canucks will dress a 20-year-old, Sauvé, and 21-year-old fellow rookie call-up Chris Tanev, among just six defensemen against the Wild. One of the six will be Sami Salo, 36, dressing for just his third NHL game since coming back from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in the offseason.
Alberts' injury means the Canucks can definitely put to rest any salary-cap concerns they had with the trade deadline approaching and rearguards Salo, Christian Ehrhoff and Kevin Bieksa due to become unrestricted free agents in July. But the defensemen-rich team is suddenly lacking healthy defenders with suitable NHL experience.
Ryan Parent, acquired in a preseason trade from Nashville and sent to Manitoba earlier in the season, has 106 NHL games of experience. But he would have to clear waivers before he can come back – and the chances of being able to do that are highly unlikely. Barring a deadline deal, Vancouver can only hope one of the wounded comes back earlier than expected.
The Alberts clan were also disappointed during Vancouver's last trip to Minnesota in mid-January. He left the game in the first period because of a shoulder injury that kept him out eight games. He had only returned to action last week.
Now, he will be lucky if he's back before the playoffs.
Notes: Manitoba is also down to six defenseman. Nolan Baumgartner, 34, who has 143 NHL regular-season games and four postseason contests to his credit, might have been a candidate for promotion. However, he is out with an undisclosed lower-body injury.