Penguins place Jason Zucker on the IR, recall Josh Currie from taxi squad

The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled Josh Currie from the taxi squad before Thursday’s contest with the Washington Capitals after sending Jason Zucker back to Pittsburgh

With Jason Zucker suffering a potentially serious lower-body injury against the Capitals on Tuesday and Jared McCann not quite ready to return from the lineup off his own injury rehab, the Penguins recalled Wilks-Barre Scranton captain Josh Currie from the taxi squad for Thursday’s contest.

Currie was placed on the taxi squad earlier this week, along with forward Jordy Bellerive and goaltender Emil Larmi, and with the injury to Zucker, Currie will likely serve as a healthy scratch with the Penguins Thursday night.

With Zach Aston-Reese likely slotting into Zucker’s vacated slot in the second line, after skating with the Malkin line during practice Wednesday, Sam Lafferty is a candidate to fill ZAR’s slot on the third line, and Drew O’Connor his slot on the fourth.

Despite a pretty poor start to the season for Zucker, who had played well upon being traded to the Penguins from the Minnesota Wild last season, it will be a team effort to fill his spot in the top six. Zucker was locked into the Bryan Rust-Evgeni Malkin-Zucker line, and he did look better with Rust recently moved onto the line.

Without Zucker, the productive third line of Brandon Tanev-Teddy Blueger-ZAR will be forced to split up, and the fourth line will experience further disconnect with O’Connor likely fitting back into the picture.

If it’s a serious injury for Zucker, it will be particularly disappointing for Zucker but also for the Penguins who gave up quite a bit (a first round pick and defensive prospect Calen Addison) to acquire the tenacious top-six forward from the Wild.

In the case it is a severe injury, the Penguins may need to delve back into the trade market to find a replacement for their second-line winger. With Zucker back in Pittsburgh for further testing, his status and the Pens’ decisions could become more clear in the days ahead.

The Penguins take on the Capitals Thursday night at 7:00 p.m.