Hakstol: "status quo" with Burakovsky injury timeline

Winnipeg Jets v Seattle Kraken

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 13: Andre Burakovsky #95 of the Seattle Kraken skates with the puck against the Winnipeg Jets in overtime at Climate Pledge Arena on November 13, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

Kraken forward Andre Burakovsky continues to remain sidelined with a lower body injury as the team maneuvers their most important stretch of the season, with nine games left to clinch their first Stanley Cup Playoff berth in franchise history. 

They will likely have to do it without Burakovsky, at least for a little longer. The Kraken leading scorer for the bulk of this season is week-to-week and head coach Dave Hakstol called his update “status quo” after the team finished a 30 minute practice on Wednesday at Kraken Community Iceplex. 

“He’s ready when he’s ready,” said Hakstol, who would not give a specific timeline for Burakovsky’s return. 

“There’s no magic number.” 

Burakovsky, initially pegged for an absence ending mid-March, has missed 23 games and is now on the verge of missing two months after leaving a 4-0 loss against the New York Islanders on Feb. 7, in the first shift of the game. Hakstol said Burakovsky will need “significant time” to make a full return to the lineup. 

“It’s not ideal as you get to this time of year,” said Hakstol.

“He’s not ready to re-join the team in practice as of yet. When we get to that point, I’ll have a little better idea of that process will look like, and how much time we have with a luxury of using in that case.” 

Burakovsky was last seen on ice reportedly on March 8 skating in isolated drills, but has remained absent from any type of formal on-ice workouts with the Kraken ever since his injury. 

That leaves a significant hole in the Kraken lineup with the Stanley Cup Playoffs right around the corner, where Burakovsky thrived last season with an eight point, 12-game postseason en route to helping the Colorado Avalanche capture their first Stanley Cup in 21 years. 

Hakstol said the process of filling that gap remains the same, where he has platooned Burakovsky’s open spot on the wing. 

“Everybody has to keep doing their part,” said Hakstol, whose group has shown capability of hanging four goals or more in ten separate games in Burakovsky’s absence but have just managed 3.1 goals per game since he left the lineup (compared to 3.6 goals per game heading into the All-Star break).

Hakstol said he likes the progression of Morgan Geekie moving up on the wing. 

“The combination with (Geekie) moving with (Jaden Schwartz) and with (Alex Wennberg) has looked good,” said Hakstol. 

“They’ve generated an awful lot in zone time. They’re generating some good offensive looks, low in the zone. That gets Schwartzy in his ‘office’ a little bit. He’s able to spend time down low and work down below the hash marks and below the bottoms of the circles.” 

Carrying 13 goals and 39 points in just 49 games this season with a deadly shot, well on his way to breaking a career-high 22-goal mark last season, he has 93 games of playoff experience along with a pair of Stanley Cup rings with the Avalanche and Washington Capitals. 

The Kraken will host the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, 7:30pm PT (93.3 KJR / Kraken Audio Network) to open a six-game stretch with five home games. 

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