Ducks’ defense corps already hampered by injuries

The NHL season hits the one-month mark for the Ducks on Saturday and they’ve already lost defenseman Jamie Drysdale for most, if not all, of the season.

Drysdale had shoulder surgery last week to repair a torn labrum and will be out anywhere from four to six months.

Two more defensemen, Kevin Shattenkirk and Nathan Beaulieu, were injured in the same game Wednesday against the Minnesota Wild, exiting with lower-body and upper-body injuries, respectively.

Those are on top of the preseason incident whenUrho Vaakanainen was injured when he crashed into the end boards and had to be stretched off the ice against the San Jose Sharks on Sept. 30. He has resumed skating but a return to the lineup isn’t imminent.

Shattenkirk and Beaulieu are day to day and considered questionable for the Ducks’ game Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center, according to the team. Accordingly, the Ducks recalled defenseman Austin Strand from their AHL affiliate in San Diego on Friday.

If Strand plays in one of the upcoming games, he will be the ninth defenseman the Ducks (4-9-1) have used this season.

Strand had four points (one goal, three assists) and was a plus-one in 11 games with the Gulls. He has played in 21 NHL games, all with the Kings the past two seasons. He signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Ducks in July.

Strand has often seemed more at ease at the NHL level than many players recalled from the AHL, and he said that had a lot to do with his two seasons in L.A.

What helped influence his decision to sign with Anaheim was the bonus of a certain comfort level in his new home. In Ontario of the AHL, Strand played for Mike Stothers and Craig Johnson, who are now Ducks assistants, and Ducks assistant general manager Jeff Solomon was a longtime fixture in the Kings’ organization.

“Once we had the offer – and I knew Stutts and those guys were here – it definitely made it a lot easier,” Strand said during Ducks’ training camp.

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The Ducks put center Derek Grant on injured reserve, retroactive to Nov. 3. Grant has missed the past three games with an upper-body injury.

Anaheim remains the only team in the NHL without a victory in regulation. Two of the Ducks’ victories have come in overtime and the other two in a shootout.

Chicago at Ducks

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Honda Center

TV: Bally Sports SoCal

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