The 32-year-old from Toronto has a broken left ankle and was injured in the second period of the Penguins’ Game Four against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He collided with winger Ryan Callahan near the end boards in the Pittsburgh zone.
“On a personal level, I feel badly for Trevor because I know how important this is to him and what it means to him and what he’s brought to this team,” said head coach Mike Sullivan. “It’s emotional for him. He’s a terrific kid. He’s brought a lot to this hockey team.”
Daley has six points in 15 playoff games this year and was putting up significant minutes, including a 26:48 performance in the series-ending game against the Washington Capitals on May 10. He’s been settling into Pittsburgh’s top four and is just second on the team in ice time to Kris Letang.
The Penguins acquired Daley in December in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks and he’s been a solid part of the defensive group since then.
Reports are suggesting the club will look to Olli Maata to replace Daley on the blueline.
The 21-year-old Finnish defenceman has been a healthy scratch the past two games after a disappointing Game One against Tampa. He has one point in nine playoff games and his reaction time seemed off after returning from an injury in his team’s series against the Capitals.
“I know I can play better,” Maatta said. “I don’t think there’s big changes you can do.”
This is a significant loss for the Penguins and the series is all knotted up, which makes Sunday’s Game Five a vital matchup. Maatta will have a lot to prove against Tampa and it won’t be easy to integrate into a 2-2- situation after missing significant time.
But if there’s any advice for the defenceman going into such adverse circumstances, it’s to take it easy.
“Olli’s been a big part of this team for a long time,” Sullivan said. “He’’s been a top four defenceman for this team all season long. He’s done a terrific job for us and when he keeps his game simple, I think that’s when he’s at his best.”