The Chicago Blackhawks announced on Friday evening that defenseman Connor Murphy has been placed on long-term injured reserve. They also announced forward Tyler Johnson has been placed on injured reserve. Both players are currently in concussion protocol, retroactive to March 12.
Connor Murphy was taken off the ice on a stretcher after taking a scary hit from Senators’ forward Parker Kelly. Now on LTIR, Murphy will miss at least the next 10 games for the Blackhawks. However, he will be eligible to return on April 7 against Seattle. There will only be three weeks left in the regular season at that point. This could lead to the Blackhawks shutting down Murphy for the remainder of the year.
The player movement gives Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson an extra $3.85 million of cap space before Monday’s trade deadline. With the sellers appearing to have an advantage on the market right now, the Blackhawks could take on a bad contract from a contender in order to maximize a potential return.
Tyler Johnson, six games into his return from ADR disc replacement surgery, was forced to exit last Saturday’s game. He took a puck to the head early against Ottawa on a dump-in from teammate Dominik Kubalik. Johnson’s outlook does not appear to be as serious as Murphy’s though. According to Charlie Roumeliotis, he was skating by himself during Thursday’s practice at Fifth Third Arena.
Technically, Tyler Johnson is eligible to return on Sunday when the Blackhawks take on the Winnipeg Jets. But that may still be a bit too soon. Coach Derek King provided a quick update on Johnson following Thursday’s practice.
“He’s feeling better, they test him on the ice to see how he feels. I saw him walk in the locker room, I knew he was skating but I haven’t talked to anyone since. I’ll see how it went for him. But gradually, you’ll see him skating and going through the protocol stages.”– Blackhawks head coach Derek King
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