Everett will be without overage center Manraj Hayer for the remainder of the first half of the season. Hayer suffered a concussion in Wednesday’s 5-3 loss at Spokane when he fell hard into the boards. He will definitely miss Everett’s final four games of the first half, and Everett coach Kevin Constantine said Hayer may not be ready for the start of the second half, given Hayer’s concussion history.
This is a big blow for the Tips. Hayer is tied for third on the team in scoring with 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists), and he’s been centering Everett’s top line alongside Joshua Winquist and Tyler Sandhu.
This is not Everett’s only significant player loss. Defenseman Mirco Mueller departs Friday morning for Switzerland’s preparations for the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships, meaning he will also miss the final four games of the first half. Therefore, Everett will have to navigate Vancouver (twice), Spokane and Portland minus two impact players.
With those two gone, it’s not even certain Everett will be able to field a full lineup Friday at Vancouver. Winger Patrick Bajkov, who’s listed on the injury report with an upper-body injury and who’s sporting a wrap on his arm, is also out. Defensman Cole MacDonald has been dealing with a virus, but he’s returned to practice and may be able to return Friday. MacDonald would give Everett a full 20-player lineup.