In a situation that could’ve been much worse, a scary broken fibula injury will keep Rangers newcomer Mika Zibanejad out 6-8 weeks.
During the Rangers 3-2 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers on Sunday night, Zibanejad, charging at full speed for a puck behind the Rangers net, slid his left leg hard into the boards, having great difficulty in getting up. He was later helped off the ice by teammates and the training staff and was examined after the game. Earlier, Zibanejad has scored his fifth goal of the season, and had scored in back-to-back games, also tallying a score in the Rangers’ game in Columbus on Friday. Zibanejad also had 10 assists, giving him 15 points on the season, good for third on the team.
Zibanejad was brought over from the Ottawa Senators in a highly publicized trade that sent Rangers’ fan favorite Derek Brassard to Ontario this offseason.
To partially make up for Zibanejad’s absence, the Rangers signed another former Senator in Matt Puempel, whom the Senators placed on waivers on November 20. Ottawa’s 2011 top pick, Puempel played in 13 games this season. Last season, he put up 30 points in 34 games in Binghamton, Ottawa’s NHL affiliate, and also tallied a pair of goals in 26 NHL games.
This won’t be Puempel’s first experience with a team named the Rangers, as during the 2012-13 season, he spent time with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, prior to making his NHL debut. He tallied 47 points in 51 games, as well as seven points in 10 OHL playoff games.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490