Libor Hajek left last night’s game vs. Columbus with an injury, and he will miss the next three to four weeks.
UPDATE: Defenseman Libor Hajek will be sidelined 3-4 weeks with a knee sprain suffered last night at Columbus.— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 6, 2019
In case you missed it, here’s the play on which Hajek got injured.
Hajek was favoring right side after an awkward play along boards. He took his next shift though. pic.twitter.com/kKstEth6qC— Tom Urtz Jr. (@TomUrtzJr) December 6, 2019
Hajek was likely going to be the odd man out with Marc Staal health and back in the lineup, so it is quite possible that is a blessing in disguise in the sense that it allows him the ability to sit out, observe from above and reset overall.
The young rear guard has been one of the Blueshirts’ worst defenders, and part of the reason has been his role on the top pair. When he is healthy again, the team’s situation may be a little different, and it is possible he is even assigned to Hartford at that point.
Yegor Rykov was just assigned to the Wolf Pack after recovering from injury, and it will be interesting to see how he does in the next month, and if he enters the mix on defense.
Either way, right now the the Rangers have six even strength defensemen —not including Brendan Smith who only takes D shifts on the penalty kill — and it will be interesting to see if someone is recalled ahead of the road trip to California. If that happens it will likely be at the last possible moment for the sake of banking as much daily cap space as possible.