Santa left a lump of goal in Mark Lamb’s stocking as his top power forward is going to be out of the lineup for at least 3-4 weeks if not longer. As Gregg Drinnan reported on twitter earlier today, Adam Lowry has a wrist fracture and will be getting surgery tomorrow. From his twitter it appears he is going to Winnipeg to get the work done and so I would have to think it will be under the supervision of the Jets doctors. Lowry was drafted by the Jets back in June.
After doing a little bit of digging on this while in between flights, I found out that Lowry actually hurt the wrist in the 4th game of the season. Tests since then never indicated a fracture and he just played through the discomfort. The issues persisted and Lowry got more testing done over the holidays. They won’t know the full extent of his injuries until surgery. How bad could it be? Best case is probably a month. Worst case is more like two months or longer.
First of all I have to say it’s remarkable that Lowry has had the kind of season he has had with that kind of injury. He hasn’t missed a single game and put up 12 goals and 25 assists over those 37 contests. He also has a career high in both fights (4) and penalty minutes (90) through only half the games. His line with Taylor Vause and Coda Gordon has been one of the toughest match-ups in the WHL at both ends of the ice. They shut down the other team’s top line and the Lowry/Vause combo has been terrific on the PK over the last two months. He is arguably even more valuable on the PP where his big body and ability to protect the puck/screen the goalie down low is a huge factor in the Broncos having one of the top power plays in the league.
So in short… this injury is a devastating blow to a team that is still right in the thick of a playoff hunt. But injuries are a part of the game and the Bronocs have been relatively lucky so far on that front. Outside of the upper body injury that has kept Jordan Evans out of the lineup since the start of October, Swift Current’s injury troubles have been relatively minor so far. Now they are facing the roughest stretch so far. Lowry joins Evans, Graeme Craig and Shea Howorko on the injury list heading into the second half of the season. Thanks to injuries, Trevor Cameron’s departure and a one game suspension to Erik Fleming, if Craig and Howorko aren’t ready for tomorrow against the Raiders, Swift Current will be short a body up front and on the back-end. They may have to call at least one player up. Hopefully the other injuries are just short-term problems.
So how do the Broncos replace Lowry over the next month or two? My immediate guess would be that they juggle Brad Hoban up to the top line with Vause and Gordon. That would shift Gordon from the RW to the LW though. We have also seen Christian Magnus have some success when moved onto a line with Graham Black and Ryon Moser. That would be the easiest way to fill the Lowry void for now. We have also seen the Broncos briefly experiment with Black on the wing. He could move next to Vause and Gordon and maybe an improving Colby Cave slots into a top 6 role? Josh Derko and Shea Howorko are both potential power forward types who have shown improved play and scoring at previous levels. They could also receive some opportunity as a result of this departure.
The key whenever you lose a player like Lowry is how guys respond to the opportunities that come available. You will never replace him with one guy stepping into all the jobs Lowry does. There are now holes 5 on 5, 5 on 4, 4 on 4 and 4 on 5. Will one of the young guys step up and prove that they deserve more time in one or more of those roles? Will the nature of the way the Broncos play on the power play or on that top line have to change now that they don’t have the element Lowry brings? Those will be stories to watch as we get back to hockey against Prince Albert tomorrow.
Best of luck to Lowry as he heads into surgery tomorrow. I’m sure all Bronco fans are knocking on wood that one of this team’s leaders on and off the ice will be back soon.