The Panthers announced on Thursday that they’ve recalled forward Michael Sgarbossa from their AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds.
Sgarbossa is expected to fill in for Aleksander Barkov who suffered an apparent torso injury on Wednesday in the 2nd period against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
A point shot by Keith Yandle hit Barkov on the right side of his back, and after getting a shot on goal that stopped the play, he leaned over on his stick but remained on the ice. Barkov took 2 more faceoffs, but left the ice a few seconds after the final one and didn’t return to the game.
Head coach Tom Rowe was fairly secretive about what happened to Barkov and declined to specify the severity or whether it was an upper- or lower-body injury. However, he did say that the team would know more on Thursday when Barkov is expected to undergo an MRI.
Sgarbossa has performed at nearly a point-per-game pace with the Thunderbirds since being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks for Logan Shaw in mid-November. His 12 points in 14 games is good for 3rd on the team in scoring despite playing 15 fewer games than Chase Balisy who leads Springfield with 19 points.
The 24-year old Sgarbossa has been by far one of the most important players for the Thunderbirds this season and has played in all situations from the start. Wearing number 16 in the AHL, Sgarbossa plays a skill game; he sees the ice incredibly well, is responsible in all 3 zones, and can play an offensive game when given the opportunity.
In 19 career NHL games, the Campbellville, Ontario-native has 3 assists, 2 of which have come in 9 games with the Ducks this season. He is expected to suit up for the Panthers for the first time on Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens with Barkov currently out day-to-day.
“Injuries happen to everybody,” said Rowe on Wednesday. “We’ve just got to make sure that the guys we bring up from Springfield and the guys who are going to get added minutes tomorrow continue to play the right way.”
“[Sgarbossa] has the skill to contribute and we always want to be rolling four lines of skill,” said Assistant GM Steve Werier after the team acquired him in November.