Everett center Manraj Hayer had his injured finger re-examined today, and it wasn’t good news. Hayer not only had his finger broken by a Seth Jones shot during the second period of Everett’s 7-3 Game 3 loss to Portland on Wednesday night, further tests revealed the bone was fractured in multiple places. The finger therefore requires surgery, and Hayer’s season is over regardless of how far the Tips progress in the playoffs.
It’s been an unfortunate season for Everett from an injury standpoint, but for Hayer the misfortune stretches back even further. The 1993-born native of Vancouver, B.C., has the ability to be an impact player in this league, but his career keeps getting interrupted by injuries. He missed 54 games last season because of a broken leg suffered during training camp, and he missed another 11 games this season because of assorted ailments. He finished the season with 15 goals and 25 assists in 61 regular season games, along with one assist in three playoff games.
This is yet another major blow for the Tips. Everett was already without one of its top forwards, overager Ryan Harrison, because of a concussion — Harrison still isn’t skating in practice and remains highly doubtful for this weekend’s Games 4 and 5. With Hayer also out, Everett will be without two of its top six forwards. The Tips have little scoring depth to begin with, so not having those two is a huge loss. And now Everett has to figure out how to keep up with the league’s top team while being further depleted.
There was one additional body on the ice at practice this afternoon, however. Fifteen-year-old prospect defenseman Daniel Woolfenden skated with the team. Woolfenden, a seventh-round pick in last year’s bantam draft, is notable for being the first-ever Snohomish County resident drafted by the Tips (he hails from Mill Creek). Woolfenden is attending school at Culver Academies in Indiana this year for hockey purposes, but he’s back home for spring break, giving him the opportunity to skate with the Tips. Woolfenden, a smallish puck-moving d-man, isn’t signed, and whether he chooses the WHL route is not yet decided. But it would be quite the landmark for the Tips to have their first true local product on their team.