Less than two weeks ago, we pointed out how an injury to Paul Martin opened the door for Simon Despres to return to the NHL. Now, with even worse circumstances with Brooks Orpik being placed on the IR with a concussion after being assaulted by Shawn Thornton, the door is open for Brian Dumoulin to make his NHL debut/
From the team:
The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled forward Brian Dumoulin from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League (AHL), it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.
Dumoulin, 22, has notched six points (1G-5A) in 22 regular-season games with WBS this year. He appeared in one preseason game for Pittsburgh, collecting one assist and finishing plus-1.
The 6-foot-4, 219-pound Dumoulin enjoyed a solid rookie campaign with WBS last season, leading all team blueliners during the regular season in games played (73) and assists (18) and placing second in goals (6) and points (24).
Dumoulin was the second of three assets the Pens got in the Jordan Staal trade, the first of course being third line center Brandon Sutter and the third player being top prospect Derrick Pouliot. Dumoulin has jumped into the pro ranks and seemed to play very well, so his ability to be an NHL player should be an interesting one to follow, even if it is at the expense of the heath of another player.
And these situations are exactly why the Penguins organizational strategy of carrying 10 capable NHL defensemen pay off. A few years ago, who could forget the comedy of injuries that resulted in only one borderline NHL player (Martin Skoula) was the only regular to be in the lineup. This situation isn't quite as dire, but the Pens currently find themselves down three of their top four defensemen- with Orpik, Martin and Rob Scuderi on the shelf.
But the picture could be getting better soon- Scuderi is skating regularly and should be returning to practice soon. Tonight Scuderi will miss his 21st consecutive game, but he's about to enter the 6-8 week window that he was believed to be out.
With injuries, come opportunities, and this will be a great one for Dumoulin if he can get in the NHL lineup. The Pens have Kris Letang and Matt Niskanen as their top two defensemen, and they'll probably lean heavily on Deryk Engelland too, but they're also young with Despres and Olli Maatta, which will give Dumoulin a chance to play more minutes than in another situation without a dire injury situation for veterans.
As for Orpik, we'll see if any updates are given and keep you updated, but with the Penguins usual tight-lipped injury policy, I wouldn't expect much. Unfortunately, we've seen a lot of concussions, so we know the procedure that Orpik will have to stop suffering any symptoms, then pass tests before skating on his own, pass more tests and eventually rejoin the team. How long that process takes, as always, can vary.