The good news just keeps rolling in for the Vancouver Canucks: Thatcher Demko is recovered from his battle with the flu, and head coach Rick Tocchet is expecting another two banged up players back in the lineup as soon as this week.
Defenseman Carson Soucy (knee) is reportedly going to be a ‘game-time decision’ for the Canucks’ game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. Soucy was first injured on Oct. 7, and one day later was declared to be a ‘week-to-week’ case. Well, if the 29-year-old happens to play against the Flyers, he’ll have missed less than 10 days of action.
The former Seattle Kraken rearguard will provide a massive boost to the Canucks’ blueline after they already managed to fend off three-time MVP Connor McDavid twice in a week. McDavid recorded zero (!!!) points at 5-on-5 in those two games, and now Vancouver will have a much lighter test with Philadelphia on Tuesday.
In addition, the Canucks are expecting left wing Ilya Mikheyev (ACL) back within the next week or two as well after being cleared for contact.
"“There’s a good possibility he’s going to play a game on this road trip, but he’s progressing,” – head coach Rick Tocchet"
After joining the Canucks from the Toronto Maple Leafs last season, Mikheyev missed almost a month to start the year before tearing his ACL at the end of January. The 29-year-old is currently on injured reserve after being upgraded to day-to-day at the end of September.
Upon his return, Mikheyev figures to slot back into the Canucks’ middle-six and penalty kill. The Russian was fourth amongst Canucks forwards in short-handed ice time per game last season, including the departed Bo Horvat. And, in 46 games last season, Mikheyev scored 13 goals, 15 assists, and 28 points.
After some remarkable efforts against McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers, the Canucks should get even better defensively – on paper. We shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves here, but it does seem like both Soucy and Mikheyev are very close to marking their official returns to the lineup.