The Canucks have been hit with an injury in the goaltending department.
Backup netminder Thatcher Demko has been placed in concussion protocol, according to head coach Travis Green. Michael DiPietro has been called up from AHL Utica in a corresponding move.
Demko suffered a concussion at practice yesterday and DiPietro has been recalled, said Coach Green.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) December 12, 2019
According to coach Green, Demko suffered a concussion during an optional practice Wednesday morning. It’s unclear how Demko suffered the injury, but reports state it was potentially due to a collision with teammate Loui Eriksson or from a shot to the mask.
Demko has started 12 games for the Canucks this season and earned victories in each of his last two starts against the Sabres and Senators. He’s had an up-and-down season in his first full year as an NHL backup, posting a .906 save percentage and 3.00 GAA.
DiPietro arrives to the Canucks amidst a solid season in AHL Utica where he owns an 8-4-1 record with a .910 save percentage and 2.56 GAA. The 20-year-old was forced to make his NHL debut prematurely last season against the Sharks due to a string of injuries. In his only taste of NHL action to date, the young netminder was torched for seven goals on 24 shots by a high-powered Sharks offense.
Jacob Markstrom is capable of taking on a heavy workload, as evident by the 60 appearances he made made in each of his last two seasons with the team. With the Canucks currently in the playoff picture, you have to think they don’t want to overwork their starter unless they really have to. There’s no timetable on Demko’s return, but he also suffered a concussion at the beginning of last season and missed a month and a half for the Comets.
Starting tonight against Carolina, the Canucks play three games in four nights, including a clash with the Sharks on Saturday night. Markstrom has surrendered three goals in back-to-back losses, but Green may opt to ride his starter if he doesn’t feel confident in getting DiPietro into action against either one of these next three quality opponents (Hurricanes, Sharks, Golden Knights).