The Canucks technically saw three of their prospects win medals at the 2018 World Junior Championship. Jonah Gadjovich took home the gold medal with Team Canada, Elias Pettersson and Sweden settled for the silver, and Will Lockwood won bronze with Team USA.
The only issue with that last one is Lockwood wasn’t even playing by the time of the bronze medal game. He suffered an injury during the outdoor game between Canada and the US and was ruled out for the rest of the tournament.
His head coach at Michigan, Mel Pearson, seemed worried that his injury could be a season-ending onem but said they would know more once he got back from Buffalo.
“We’ll reevaluate him when he gets back in [from World Juniors],” Pearson said. “It’s a possibility he could be out for the year, but it’s a possibility he could come back. But he’s going to miss a few weeks for sure.”
Now, Rick Dhaliwal is reporting that his sources indicate Lockwood will miss 6-9 months, though the time frame is still up in the air.
Some souces say Lockwood could be out 6-9 months but he will know more this week after meeting with specialist. #Canucks— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) January 8, 2018
Earlier, Dhaliwal spoke to former Canuck and current associate coach at Michigan, Bill Muckalt, who said he will see a specialist this week, but “it doesn’t look good.”
The injury is reportedly a dislocated left shoulder, which would fit that timeline if it requires surgery. The injury was suffered when he got spun around by Conor Timmins while heading to the net and fell hard to the ice, which was particularly hard and unforgiving in the cold temperatures of the outdoor game.
Lockwood had previously injured his left arm or shoulder during a pre-tournament game against Belarus, but was ruled healthy enough to make the US roster.
The shoulder issue has to be a concern for the Canucks, as Lockwood missed the Canucks’ development camp while recovering from shoulder surgery. An injury history like this could potentially mean shoulder problems in the future for the young winger.
Lockwood initially dislocated his shoulder in a December 10, 2016 game against Wisconsin. He was shoved hard from behind and threw up his left arm to protect himself from going head first into the boards. At the time, he was Michigan's leading scorer.
“I didn’t really know what to think. I didn’t really know what a separated shoulder ever felt like,” said Lockwood. “I didn’t know until I took my shoulder pads off and saw my shoulder was out of place.”
The shoulder didn’t require surgery at the time and he returned to the Wolverines’ lineup just 19 days later, but two games later injured his shoulder again and missed another 20 days. Lockwood opted for surgery after the season so he could recover throughout the summer and lessen his chances for reinjury.
Lockwood reported that his shoulder was “100%” early in the season, so suffering another shoulder injury has to be an emotional letdown to go with the physical pain. It’s particularly tough for someone like Lockwood, who plays with a physical edge and loves to throw hits.
It’s truly a shame, as Lockwood was having a solid season with Michigan, scoring 11 points in 16 games, and was starting to find his stride in the tournament. Before getting injured, he pulled off a highlight-reel dangle on Victor Mete at top speed, drawing a penalty, and hitting the post.
The Canucks and their fans can still hold out hope that Lockwood’s injury isn’t quite as serious as it seems, but even if it is, he’ll have the summer to recover and get ready for his junior year at Michigan. It was already unlikely that he would get a contract from the Canucks this year, but this injury likely ensures another year for him with the Wolverines.
Looks like it's confirmed: Lockwood's injury will require surgery, so he will be out for the reason of the season.