Calvin de Haan practiced for the first time since he suffered a lower-body injury a week ago — he skated with his teammates at IceWorks on Sunday.
But the Islanders will handle this one cautiously, as they have with the numerous injuries on defense they’ve had the past two months. So even though de Haan was injured in the second period of the Isles’ 4-1 win over the Red Wings seven days ago, the Islanders waited until Sunday to put the defenseman on injured reserve.
It may not be due to any sort of setback for de Haan — this is more a scheduling decision. The Islanders head off Monday for a five-game, 10-day journey through Minnesota and western Canada and can’t risk having only six healthy defensemen along. They visit the Wild on Tuesday.
So it would appear that Ryan Pulock, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2013, may get his first chance to play an NHL game. Pulock was in the lineup Sunday afternoon for Bridgeport’s home game with Albany but he appeared to be the likely one to get the call for at least the beginning portion of the road swing.
The Islanders handled de Haan’s absence pretty well this past week. With Brian Strait and Marek Zidlicky both in the lineup, the Isles allowed three goals in two games, a 3-2 overtime loss to the Caps and a 1-0 win over the Devils.
Strait and Zidlicky have primarily alternated the sixth defense spot, but Friday was the 26th time in 57 games they’ve both played (the Isles are 10-10-6 in games they both play).
Only Nick Leddy has played all 57 games this season among Islanders defensemen — Thomas Hickey (19 games missed), Johnny Boychuk (11 missed), Travis Hamonic (four) and now de Haan (two) have all been injured.
If de Haan isn’t ready, Pulock might get a shot Tuesday in Minnesota.