Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov is out for Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks due to a lower-body injury. The team announced his absence prior to puck drop.
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) March 24, 2021
Aleksander Barkov out for Tuesday’s Game
Charlie Roumeliotis of NBC Sports reported that Barkov suffered an injury during warm-ups and that is why he was a late scratch. This is the first time this season the Panthers will be without their captain. Barkov leads the Panthers in goals (13), assists (24) and points (37) and is tied with Anze Kopitar for seventh in league scoring. His 21:13 minutes per game is the highest among forwards on the Panthers, According to Natural Stat Trick, Barkov’s 60.10 Corsi For percentage at even-strength is seventh in the league among players who have played over 400 minutes this season.
Barkov missing a few games to injury during the season is normal. He has only played in one full season during his eight-year career. However, he doesn’t miss too much time, the most he’s ever missed was 21 games in the 2016-17 season.
Barkov was drafted 3rd overall in the 2013 draft by Florida. He jumped in the NHL the following season. Barkov has played in 510 NHL games, scored 168 goals, 276 assists for 444 points. The 25-year-old from Tampere, Finland is the second-highest scorer in his draft class next to Nathan MacKinnon, and the second-highest scorer among active Finnish players next to Valtteri Filppula according to Quant Hockey. He’s also second in all-time points for the Panthers. Jonathan Huberdeau leads in that category.
Aleksander Barkov won the Lady Byng Trophy as the NHL’s most sportsmanlike player in 2019 after taking only four minor penalties. He’s also been top five in Selke Trophy voting twice as the league’s best defensive forward. Nick Mancini of Last Word on Hockey argues he should be up for the award again this season.
What This Means for The Future
The injury information is vague, so it is hard to predict what happens next. Warm-up injuries can be minor or serious. Ottawa Senators goalie Matt Murray suffered an injury during warm-ups on March 14 and hasn’t been back since. Replacing Aleksander Barkov won’t be easy as the above stats show his importance to the team. The positive news is Florida has time to deal with his injury. They are third in the Central Division and have six more wins and a .200 win percentage over the fourth-place Blackhawks at the time of writing. Florida can afford to lose a few games and still be okay.