Jaden Schwartz likely to miss six weeks with upper body injury

Colorado Avalanche v Seattle Kraken

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 13: Jaden Schwartz #17 of the Seattle Kraken skates against the Colorado Avalanche during the second period at Climate Pledge Arena on November 13, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Jaden Schwartz, placed on injured reserve by the Seattle Kraken on Thursday, will now miss approximately six weeks for what the team is saying is an upper body injury, sustained in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

What we know: 

·      Schwartz is projected to miss the Winter Classic at T-Mobile Park on New Year’s Day, likely due for a return, based on the current timeline, the following week when the Kraken start an east coast road trip on Jan. 8 at Buffalo. 

·      The Kraken, separately, returned forward Andrew Poturalski to AHL Coachella Valley and recalled forward Max McCormick, the team’s leading scorer. 

·      Schwartz is the latest notable player on the shelf, joining forwards Brandon Tanev and Andre Burakovsky.

·      The Kraken will play their third game of a four-game trip on Saturday, visiting the Ottawa Senators at 4pm PT. 


The news comes at a very inconvenient time for the Kraken, who are struggling to reach .500 and stay within striking distance of a wild card spot heading into December while dealing with a growing injury bug. It’s not exactly known where Schwartz sustained his injury, though he was seen wincing over his elbow after taking a pass off his skate early in the third period, then exited for the tunnel. 

The loss of Schwartz means the Kraken will have to fill another significant hole in the lineup for the oncoming weeks, losing his eight goals on the season while sitting at 19th in the NHL with 44 goals at full strength (they led the league in this category, last season). He also plays an important front-of-the-net presence and in the face-off circle for the power play. There will be more weight on the likes of Jared McCann, Matty Beniers, Jordan Eberle, Eeli Tolvanen, and Oliver Bjorkstrand to maintain or elevate their production. He is a leader by design, in his third season wearing an alternate captain's (or as the Kraken have branded, "assistant captain") letter "A", challenging veterans to maintain the dressing room's emotional climate.

If Tanev and Burakovsky aren’t ready by Saturday in Ottawa, it’s likely that McCormick, who will return to the Kraken for the first time in two seasons, slots in at the right wing position recently vacated by Poturalski, playing in the Thursday shootout loss at Toronto. While minutes may be limited, the Kraken played a game in Toronto that head coach Dave Hakstol said “deserved a better outcome.” There is likely no need to completely dismantle their top nine forward line combinations, start all over, and rebuild familiarity. Schwartz was skating as a left winger on Alex Wennberg's line, replaced for now by Tye Kartye. A possible return for Tanev and Burakovsky within a week would greatly reduce the tangible impact of Schwartz's loss on the lineup.

The Kraken, who went 1-of-5 on the power play, have used Yanni Gourde in Schwartz’s spot on the power play in his absence. 

Tanev took line rushes on Thursday but was unfit to play yet may be an option in Ottawa if he’s healed in time, which would then make either McCormick or fellow AHL call-up Marian Studenic a possible scratch. Burakovsky, who has missed 18 games with an upper body ailment, has yet to graduate out of the red non-contact jersey which would likely peg a return not until at least the start of the next homestand, Dec. 7 against New Jersey. 

Poturalski, scoreless in two games with the Kraken during his call-up, is headed back to Coachella Valley with seven points in 11 games at the AHL level this season.  

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