Penguins Center Sidelined with Head Injury After Severe Hit

The Penguins placed Noel Acciari on injured reserve due to a concussion, impacting the team’s lineup and highlighting his struggles and reduced production in his first season with Pittsburgh.

The Penguins had to make a tough call on Tuesday. They placed Noel Acciari, a depth forward, on injured reserve. You can catch the official word from the team [here](

Acciari, 32, is dealing with a concussion. This came after a rough encounter with Jets defenseman Brenden Dillon on Feb. 6. Dillon’s hit was deemed over the line, earning him a three-game suspension.

So far, Acciari’s missed a couple of games. And it’s anyone’s guess when he’ll lace up for another game. Concussions are tricky, with recovery times that are anything but predictable. Though he can come off IR any time now, we might not see him on the ice for a while.

This season in Pittsburgh hasn’t been easy for the Rhode Island native. Just three goals and an assist in 39 games. That’s a career low since his early days with the Bruins.

Much of his struggle can be pinned on how coach Mike Sullivan’s been using him. Only starting in the offensive zone 12.9% of the time? That’s a huge drop from his usual. Plus, his Corsi share at even strength? Only 41%. It suggests he’s a bit of a defensive risk, though that’s a bit skewed because of his role.

Yet, when teamed with Jeff Carter and Jansen Harkins, Acciari’s shown his value. They’ve dominated 55% of expected goals when on the ice together. Problem is, two-thirds of that trio is now also on IR, with Harkins joining the list just a day before Acciari.

The contract Acciari signed last July, worth $6M over three years, is starting to look a bit questionable. Especially since we’re less than a year in. He’s clearly got fans in high places, though. GM Kyle Dubas, for instance, snagged him for the Maple Leafs before bringing him over to the Penguins.

With Acciari sidelined, the Penguins are stretched thin. They’re down to the bare minimum of 20 active players, with only 11 forwards. And without the option to move Acciari or Harkins to long-term injured reserve, they’re stuck. They can’t even bring up another player from the AHL without going over the cap.

Looks like they’ll be facing the Panthers with 11 forwards and seven defensemen on Wednesday. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s what they’ve got to work with.

Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson is a Senior Writer for HockeyMonitor. With a background in Sports Media, Alex joined the team in 2022. He focuses on providing the latest hockey news, game scores, and fresh NHL trade rumors.

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