When Tommy Novak and Dante Fabbro didn’t practice with the rest of their Nashville Predators teammates on Monday, head coach Andrew Brunette told reporters both were taking maintenance days.
Now we know there’s more to the story after Novak was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with an upper-body injury that will sideline him for 4-6 weeks.
The team also recalled defenseman Spencer Stastney from the Milwaukee Admirals, signaling that Ryan McDonagh, who’s missed the last four games with a lower-body injury, isn’t quite ready to return yet.
McDonagh has two points in 10 games this season and is tied for the second-most blocked shots on the team (25). He’s Nashville’s top penalty killer, averaging a team-high 3:22 of PK time per game, and he plays the third-most minutes per game (20) on the team.
Novak, who’s tied for second on the team in goals (6) and has the second-most points (12), notched two assists and played 17:27 in a 7-5 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
His loss opens a huge hole on Nashville’s second line — likely filled by Cody Glass — and deals a big blow to one of the few things that was actually working for the Predators offensively.
With Novak centering Kiefer Sherwood and Luke Evangelista, the trio combined for 81 shot attempts, 42 scoring chances, 17 high-danger chances, six goals for and three high-danger goals, and the Predators had an on-ice save percentage of 95.3 when they were on the ice together.
In 10 games with the Admirals, Stastney tallied one goal and four points on eight shots. This will be his second stint with the Predators after logging two points, nine blocked shots, two hits and two takeaways in eight games while averaging 17:07 of ice time per contest at the end of last season.
The Predators now have four left-handed defensemen on their roster (Stastney, Roman Josi, Jeremy Lauzon and Marc Del Gaizo) and three right-handers (Dante Fabbro, Alex Carrier and Tyson Barrie).
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