SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov won’t need surgery to repair his broken right hand, and he’s expected to be sidelined two to four weeks.
Barkov, 20, was injured when he blocked a shot by Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson last Thursday in Florida’s 3-2 loss to the Blackhawks.
An MRI Monday determined the injury wasn’t as serious as first feared.
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The Finnish center was replaced by Nick Bjugstad Saturday night in Dallas as the Panthers completed a three-game road trip.
Bjugstad played with wingers Jonathan Huberdeau and Jaromir Jagr, responding with a goal and assist in replacing Barkov as the Panthers beat the Stars 6-2.
The top line collected six points as the Panthers improved to 4-3-1.
Florida has stockpiled young centers through the draft and trades over the past few seasons under general manager Dale Tallon,
”Guys realize that we have guys who can come up and play in this lineup and produce. It was good to give Nick more responsibility and he had a really good performance in Dallas,” Tallon said. ”We’re good up the middle (in the organization). It takes 20 guys – probably 30 guys – to get it done. It’s takes an army to get through this.”