Many fantasy drafts are taking place over the next few days and weeks. Let's take a look at the latest news regarding player injuries and recoveries.
The Bad News
The Carolina Hurricanes will be without one of their top defensemen for the entire 2013-14 campaign. Joni Pitkanen suffered a broken left calcaneus (heel) in early April, and it seemed like he was a good bet to miss a bit of time early this coming campaign. However, now the Canes will be forced to look elsewhere for help on the blue line. In case you missed it, here's Dobber's take on the Pitkanen injury and its fantasy ramifications.
It is official – Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will not be ready for the start of the 213-14 NHL season. His nagging shoulder injury, which led to surgery in late April, should keep him out of the lineup for the first month of the season. According to NHL.com, RNH's target return date remains November 1. Given how much the shoulder affected his numbers a season ago (4 goals and a mere 24 points in 40 games) Nugent-Hopkins remains an incredibly risky draft-day selection in one-year leagues. There's no telling if (or how much) the extended layoff will affect him and his numbers upon his return.
Scott Clemmensen is expected to miss about three weeks with a minor knee injury that required surgery. Given the timing of the news, the Florida goaltender should be ready for the start of the regular season. However, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Panthers turn to Jacob Markstrom more often than not in the early part of the season. Markstrom remains a low-end No. 2/high end No. 3 netminder for 2013-14. This news gives a little short-term bump to his value, but not much.
No real surprise here, but Martin Havlat is expected to open the season on the injured list. The veteran winger underwent something called bilateral pelvic floor reconstruction in June. He's been skating some, but there's been no indication as to when he may be ready to return to the lineup. Havlat appeared in two postseason games for San Jose this past season but left both early due to injury. The 32-year-old also missed 53 games over the course of the past two seasons. He's not a viable fantasy option in anything but the deepest of leagues right now.
There's no real immediate fantasy impact to this injury, but Washington Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov hurt his shoulder and is expected to miss about two months of action. More than anything, it significantly lessens his chances of playing for Team Russia in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The 22-year-old winger and 2010 first-rounder still has one year remaining on his contract in the KHL.
The Good News
This story from the Raleigh News and Observer