The Vancouver Canucks announced on Tuesday that defenseman Mark Friedman was sent to the Abbotsford Canucks on a conditioning assignment, while forward Linus Karlsson was sent back to Abbotsford under normal conditions.
Friedman, 28, has played in 18 games for the Canucks this season, scoring no goals and one assist. Acquired in an early season trade from the Pittsburgh Penguins, Friedman has not played since Nov. 30, coinciding with the arrival of Nikita Zadorov from the Calgary Flames. Per CapFriendly, "A player whom consented to a Conditioning Loan can be Loaned to a minor league club for a maximum of 14 days without passing through waivers."
Karlsson, on the other hand, will be re-joining Abbotsford in the AHL full-time. The 24-year-old has appeared in four games for the NHL Canucks this season, but is yet to make it onto the scoresheet. It's perhaps also worth noting that the Canucks have lost three of the four games he's played in, including as recently as the St. Louis Blues game on Jan. 4; Vancouver lost 2-1 after initially leading 1-0.
With the arrival of Zadorov and Carson Soucy's return from the long-term injured reserve, the Canucks simply found themselves with a surplus of defensemen. With Friedman technically still on their roster, the team is carrying eight defensemen at this time. After these two transactions, the Canucks' roster is at 22 of a maximum 23 players.
With respect to the time of the year, the Canucks are likely conditioning Friedman to ensure that all their guys are prepared and in game shape if or when needed. It has been nearly two full months since the veteran's last appearance for Vancouver, including the NHL's winter break at the end of December. It's also important to remember that the Canucks can end Friedman's loan at any time, but it can also not exceed 14 days in duration.