Ducks Gameday: Sami Vatanen set to return, Ryan Miller off injured reserve
TAMPA, Fla. – More reinforcements will arrive for the Ducks at the close of their road trip as they set to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night at Amalie Arena.
Sami Vatanen is expected to make his season debut. Vatanen missed the first nine games as the defenseman has worked to come back from labrum surgery on his right shoulder in May. The sixth-year veteran is coming off a down 2016-17 season where his three goals and 21 assists were a falloff from the two previous seasons.
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said he figured Vatanen would either play against the Lightning or Sunday in Carolina as long as Vatanen told him he was ready. Vatanen took regular rushes with Jaycob Megna on the third defensive pairing as the Ducks (4-4-1) went through a full morning skate following a day off.
“It’s never fun to watch the games in the stands,” Vatanen said. “Just skating out there by yourself, it’s never fun. You want to be on the ice and help the team win the games. I’m waiting for it.”
The Ducks got Hampus Lindholm back on Tuesday in Philadelphia and the timing of his return with Vatanen is a fortuitous one. Cam Fowler (knee) will be out for three more weeks at the very least and Kevin Bieksa (hand) will be sidelined for an undetermined period.
“We never expected that we were going to be this – I don’t know if you say short-staffed – but this undermanned in certain situations,” Carlyle said. “When we have depth at that position, it just proves out that you can never have enough quality players. Simple as that.
“Quality players are a necessity for you to have long-term success. We know everybody’s going to have to deal with injuries at some point through the year. […]