New Challenges with Redmond and Wedgewood Injured

The Rochester Americans finished Wednesday night with a new challenge – they would be without their leading scorer who is also their top defenseman. They’ll also without their number one goalie.

Zach Redmond took an awkward fall as he played the puck along the boards behind his own net in the final minute of Wednesdays game and had to be helped off the ice and into the locker room. Earlier in the game he had scored his 19th goal of the season to set a new franchise record for goals by a defenseman in a season. The official report is lower body and is out week to week. Initial thought is that it isn’t major. X-rays indicated that there aren’t any breaks.

Scott Wedgewood finished the game on Wednesday with 25 saves for his 16th win of the season. He’s also out week to week with a lower body injury. Additional details weren’t provided but it’s something that the team had known about before the game on Wednesday. It was decided to use this time to call up Jonas Johansson so that he could return to a healthy status. With the short All-Star break ahead the team felt it was a good time for Wedgewood to take time off.

When Lawrence Pilut was called up the Amerks did lose some offensive production but they were able to seamlessly move on without him. Redmond took a hit with his goal scoring but it didn’t stop him from playing a strong defensive game. Redmond has been the leader on the power play and while the team always stresses internal competition and depth there really hasn’t been much.

Defensively the team is now down to Brendan Guhle, Matt Tennyson, Andrew MacWilliam, Will Borgen, Jack Dougherty, and Brandon Hickey. Nathan Paetsch is also around but this afternoon at practice he was skating with the forwards to provide a full fifth line.

The sky isn’t falling but it’ll be a new challenge for a defense that has been carried along first by Redmond and Pilut, and then just Redmond. The timing is now right for Brendan Guhle to step up his game and value.

Kevin Porter said, “I think it’s on individual players. Guys need to step up. You lose one of your defenseman that is playing top minutes, we need guys to play more minutes so they need to step up. It’s on individual players, the defensive corp, even the forwards. We need to realize one of our top defenseman is out and we need to hustle back a little bit more.”

What Guhle can’t do are things like this on Wednesday night:

Losing Scott Wedgewood speaks for itself in what that challenge brings. Adam Wilcox has been a serviceable backup for the team but he isn’t a starting goalie that can carry the team.

Jonas Johansson arrived for in Rochester this morning after getting the call up from Cincinnati. He’s played three games this season with Rochester and has a 2-1 record with a 2.97 GAA and 0.891 SV%.  In 22 games with Cincinnati he has 13 wins along with a 2.79 GAA and 0.900 SV%.

After practice on Thursday Chris Taylor said, “We need everybody to step up in different times. These are the times where we find out where our depth is and who can play these big minutes when we have situations like this. It tells us a lot about other players and players we have going forward.”

The Amerks remain in first place in the North Division and are on pace for a 100 point which sounds great but at the same time there’s only eight points between first place and being out of a playoff spot. Games against Utica and Syracuse this weekend will be the first start of challenging weeks ahead. It’s time for the depth to prove it’s value.