VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Johnson will miss at least the first round of the NHL playoffs with a broken foot.
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said Tuesday that the oft-injured fourth-line centre, a noted shot-blocker, will be sidelined four to six weeks with the injury.
“It’s unfortunate,” Vigneault said after the team’s morning skate ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. “Ryan was playing his best hockey of the season and was doing a real good job on faceoffs for us and, obviously, blocking shots. But he’s hurt. It’s not our first injury of the season. We’re going to deal with it, like we’ve done all year.”
Vigneault said the Canucks, who have already locked up the Northwest Division title and home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs, are “looking at different options” when it comes to replacing Johnson.
The 33-year-old Thunder Bay, Ont., native has been limited to 58 games this year. He played for a long stretch midway through the season with painful injuries to both feet that made walking difficult.
After scoring his first goal on March 18 against San Jose, Johnson said he would not soldier through a similar problem again.
“In hindsight, playing through what I was playing through was really stupid, and I certainly learned something from that side of things,” Johnson said at the time.
Meanwhile, Vigneault said defenceman Christian Ehrhoff is listed as day-to-day with a knee injury. Vancouver’s top-scoring defenceman with 14 goals and 29 assists, Ehrhoff left Sunday’s game against Minnesota early in the third period.
He is the latest casualty to a Canucks defence corps that has been decimated by injuries.
“If this was a playoff game, he may have played tonight,” said Vigneault. “It’s not a big deal. I told you (media) guys (after Sunday’s game) it wasn’t a big deal.”
Note: The Canucks signed free-agent goaltender Eddie Lack on Tuesday. The 22-year-old Swede played for Brynas of the Swedish Elite League this past season, posting a 2.67 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage. He joins fellow Canucks goaltending prospects Joe Cannata, Morgan Clark, Cory Schneider and Lukas Mensator.