The Arizona Coyotes haven’t had the best injury luck this season. It’s nothing compared to last season, but they have been without defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson since October 12th.
Unfortunately, the Coyotes are going to be without another of their veteran defensemen. Yesterday it was announced that Jason Demers is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.
Hearing Coyotes D Jason Demers will miss a couple weeks with a knee injury sustained on a hit in Chicago; may need a minor procedure to clean up the knee.— Craig Morgan (@CraigSMorgan) December 10, 2019
Demers has been a key defensive figure for the Coyotes. He provides a solid veteran presence and is a major contributor on the penalty kill. He doesn’t show up on the score sheet a lot, but his game has been key to success. His absence has already been noticed, as the Coyotes lost their last game 5-2.
Originally drafted by the New York Islanders 95th overall during the 2011 NHL Entry Round Draft, Robbie Russo has spent the majority of his career in the AHL. He has played 19 games with the Detroit Red Wings during the 2016-17 season.
The Coyotes originally acquired Russo in June of 2018 in exchange for a 2019 conditional seventh-round pick. Last season he wore an “A” with the Roadrunners, and in 67 games he was 6-33-39 and had 32 penalty minutes.
This season, Russo has played in 23 games and has a goal and seven assists. He is currently on a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Coyotes.
Arizona’s penalty kill has already struggled with the loss of Hjalmarsson and losing Demers isn’t going to help things. The Coyotes penalty kill is currently ranked 16th, and they have allowed power play goals in six of their past ten games.
Thankfully, the Coyotes have plenty of defensive depth to draw on. With the blue line being banged up, players like Aaron Ness and Robbie Russo have a chance to show what they can do in the NHL.