There’s trouble in Orange County, as rookie forward Mason McTavish left last night’s game against the Calgary Flames early with an apparent leg injury. The team called it a “lower-body injury,” and McTavish was seen wobbling out of the arena later that night.
He was hurt around the middle frame of the second period, while taking a hit in his own zone. He left shortly after that and never returned to the bench.
This is rough news for the Anaheim Ducks and McTavish himself. The young forward has gained tons of trust from head coach Dallas Eakins during his short stint in the NHL, getting minutes on the penalty kill and top-nine. He has yet to record a point since his debut, however he’s been a vital piece to this Anaheim offense thus far this season, giving them a lively power-forward presence.
If McTavish is hurt long-term, it could provide a player like Sam Steel or Sonny Milano with an opportunity to slot into the line up and potentially prove their worth to the club. Steel has been a healthy scratch for the first three games of the season, while Milano was placed on waivers and assigned to the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League during training camp.
McTavish has now played three of his nine games he is allowed to play until the first year of his entry-level contract is officially burnt off. The Ducks will have an important decision to make, regardless of if his injury is long-term or not. Do they let him stay in the big league and give him the opportunity to get more experience playing with some of these veterans? Or do they loan him back to the Ontario Hockey League and Peterborough Petes and allow him to develop while playing with and against kids his own age?
Time will tell, for now, the team will just need to hope it isn’t serious. We should receive more details in the coming day or two.