Panthers place Aleksander Barkov on IR, recall Greg McKegg

Is Justin Abdelkader in trouble? The Florida Panthers certain think he will be when he laid down a huge open ice hit that may have come into contact with Aleksander Barkov's head, leaving the Panthers forward staggering.

The Florida Panthers have placed forward Aleksander Barkov on injured reserve, the team announced Sunday.

Barkov hasn’t played since Feb. 8, when he was knocked out of the Panthers’ game against the Detroit Red Wings after taking a high hit from Justin Abdelkader (Watch the play at the top of this post).

Barkov was shaken up and did not return to the game due to what the team called an upper-body injury.

After reviewing the incident, the league deemed the hit legal under rule 48.1 (ii), citing that “the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position by assuming a posture that made head contact on an otherwise full body check unavoidable.”

The 20-year-old centre has registered 16 goals and 19 assists in 43 games this season. He signed a six-year, $35.4-million extension in Florida in late January.

The Panthers also recalled Greg McKegg. McKegg, 23, has nine goals and 12 assists in 41 games with Florida's AHL affiliate in Portland this season. He was originally selected in the third round of the 2010 NHL Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, and has suited up for four NHL games, all with Toronto.