The Rangers will have to pick themselves up from their malaise without one of their top defensemen.
Jacob Trouba broke his thumb in Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the Devils and will miss four-to-six weeks because of it, the Rangers announced Wednesday.
“It’s a big blow, but in this shortened season and these circumstances, every team has it,” coach David Quinn said after practice. “So it’s just next man up.”
Trouba, whose regular partner was K’Andre Miller, was averaging 21:40 of ice time through 14 games, the second-highest clip of all skaters behind fellow blue-liner Adam Fox.
The Rangers did get some injury relief Wednesday as Miller (upper body) and star winger Artemi Panarin (lower body) practiced and are both expected to return for Thursday’s game against the Flyers.
“Unfortunately we’re gonna miss everything [Trouba] brings, from a physicality standpoint, from a compete standpoint, what he brings to us from a leadership standpoint,” Quinn said. “He’ll be missed. But the good news is it’s not as serious as we originally thought and he’s going to be back sooner than later.”
Defenseman Jack Johnson also practiced Wednesday for the first time since suffering a groin strain. He last played on Jan. 26. The veteran was rotating with Brendan Smith and Miller on a pair, though Quinn said Johnson would need a few more practices before being an option, signaling that Smith could take Trouba’s spot next to Miller.
Miller also took Trouba’s spot on the second power-play unit during Wednesday’s practice.
“We’ll plug [Miller] in and everybody on that D corps has just gotta play a little bit better, that’s all,” Quinn said. “It can’t be one guy. It’s got to be everybody.”