September 20, 2014

steve laidlaw

2014-09-20

Injuries to Giroux, Palmieri, McGinn, camp updates and more…

 

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I'm beginning to realize that very little training camp news, is good news. Most of my updates today are injury related, which sucks. Granted some of those are about players who are now healthy but still, it is injury news.

 

Let's start off with Claude Giroux who has a lower-body injury that will keep him out for the next two weeks. That's most of training camp and if it's a nagging injury it could lead to another slow start. I wouldn't change my draft position on Giroux he should be picked in and around the top 10 in most pools. I certainly wouldn't be afraid to take him.

 

If anything, this could be a chance to pick on whoever does end up taking Giroux. We saw last year how a slow start lowered his trade value. If that happens again, you might get Giroux on the cheap.

 

Of course, this does suck for chemistry reasons. Long-time Giroux winger, Scott Hartnell, is gone. Someone, maybe Wayne Simmonds, maybe Brayden Schenn or maybe someone else will be up on the top line this year. This could slow the development of any chemistry there.

 

The good news is Jakub Voracek is back so Giroux will have one linemate he's familiar with when he returns.

 

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The Ducks have lost Kyle Palmieri for the next couple of weeks with a high ankle sprain. I don't know the severity of the injury but having had a high ankle sprain myself, I'd wager that injury will linger past the two-week mark. Palmieri might play but he won't play as well as he could.

 

This is unfortunate because Palmieri is definitely one of those guys who belongs on the list of breakout candidates for this season. I don't know that he should be super high but the possibility is there. Palmieri played fairly well last season scoring 31 points in 71 games.

 

If we take his last 50 games, Palmieri scored 25 points, which is 41 over a full 82-game slate. He did this while skating just 12 minutes a game, predominantly on the third or fourth line, with just over a minute per game of power play time, mostly with the second unit.

 

Palmieri did skate a quarter of his shifts on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. He also got 41% of his power play shifts on the top unit so the coach clearly sees him as a potential fit.

 

What's really interesting is that of Palmieri's 31 points, none came on the power play. So if he could become an integral piece of the top power play unit, he could jump to a 50-point season without doing anything else at even strength. If however, he can take a leap at evens AND click on the top power play unit, well now we're talking 60 point territory.

 

Of course, he's hurt now so his chances of clicking on the top line or top power play are hurt as well. But working in his favour is the fact that head coach Bruce Boudreau fancies Dany Heatley for that spot. We can all imagine how poorly that should work out, so it won't be long before he's looking at other options. That might coincide right with Palmieri's return from the IR.

 

Palmieri's still young and only heading into his third season as an NHLer. His breakout may be farther still down the line but it wouldn't shock me if he started showing signs. Watch for where his minutes sit this season. An increase in ice time and power play time could indicate a coming breakout that his scoring may not otherwise hint at.

 

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David Clarkson and Tyler Bozak are starting camp day-to-day with undisclosed injuries. Probably nothing serious but I can already picture the Clarkson owners and Leaf fans rolling their eyes, muttering, "here we go again."

 

I'm not overly concerned about Clarkson. He does need to prove to the Leafs he can stay healthy but he's been healthy for most of his career so this is probably nothing.

Bozak is a little more worrisome because he's had more injury issues over a much shorter career. By my count he's had two healthy seasons in four full years of playing. I'd like to see another one or he'll starting veering into Band-Aid Boy territory.

 

And Bozak has the chance to be