Brandon Prust’s season is over as he has left the AHL’s Utica Comets to rehab an ankle injury he suffered earlier in the season. Prust, 31, played only 35 games for the Canucks after being acquired in the off-season and is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
There may still be several weeks left in the season, but Brandon Prust’s 2015-16 campaign has come to a close.
The Canucks announced Thursday they and Prust have come to what the club is calling a “mutual decision” to allow the 31-year-old winger to return to his home to rehab an ankle injury he suffered earlier in the campaign. According to the Canucks, they will provide supervision for Prust for the remainder of the season, but he will no longer play for the AHL’s Utica Comets this season.
For Prust, this is the end to what has been a tough season for him. After being shipped out of Montreal in the off-season, Prust came into Vancouver and had a hard time finding a fit in the Canucks’ lineup, especially following the ankle injury that forced him to miss 11 games. He averaged less than 13 minutes per game over 35 outings with Vancouver, but was waived on Feb. 2 and demoted to the AHL on Feb. 3.
Prust’s return to the AHL was the first time since 2007-08 he had suited up in the minor league. By all accounts, he had been playing well with the Comets, racking up one goal, seven points and 14 shots in nine games during his stint.
Being given the opportunity to return home to rehab will be a big plus for Prust, who has been playing with “ankle discomfort,” according to the Canucks. After having productive years in Montreal and with the New York Rangers over the past several seasons, Prust is trying to set himself up to land a fresh deal as an unrestricted free agent. It seems unlikely he’ll land anything near the four-year, $10-million deal that he’s currently playing on, but it’s hard to imagine Prust would pass up any deal that would get him back in the big league next season.
Interesting to note is that with Prust returning home, a trade that once looked lopsided in the Canucks’ favor seems to have worked out more evenly than originally believed. When Vancouver flipped Zack Kassian to Montreal for Prust, the thought was he would slip into and fill the hole vacated by Kassian. The Canucks even added a fifth-round pick into the deal. Kassian didn’t play a single game for the Canadiens due to an off-ice incident and was eventually shipped to the Oilers for goaltender Ben Scrivens. When the season ends, the only remaining asset will be the fifth-round pick in Montreal. Not bad, all things considered.