The latest injury news on Malkin, Okposo, Wennberg, Spezza and many more
The Big Guns (>75% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
John Gibson – The Ducks’ goaltender has been stretching and skating separately from the team. Since he still hasn’t been part of a team practice, I wouldn’t expect him to return any time soon. In fact, it would seem that Jonathan Bernier will continue to hold the starting job for the next few games, if not longer. If your league still allows transactions and you’ve been hoping for Gibson to come back soon, it might be time to part ways. It would be in Anaheim’s best interest to exercise patience with Gibson recovers from this lower-body injury, and there is no room for patience during the fantasy hockey playoffs.
Kris Letang – Look Kris. I understand that with your injury history you were bound to miss some time this season. But why, oh why did you choose to take a break during such a crucial period for fantasy hockey owners? All jokes aside, the Penguins’ defenseman has been skating and making progress. Although we still don’t have a concrete timetable for Letang’s return, expect Pittsburgh to be patient with their star blue liner.
Henrik Lundqvist – THE RETURN OF THE KING! Well not quite yet, but soon. Coach Alain Vigneault expects his starting goalie to play on the team’s California road trip, which runs from March 25 to March 28. Although this might be exciting news if you were forced to keep Lundqvist on your roster as he recovered, keep in mind his season numbers when you start him. A 2.65 GAA and .913 SV% aren’t exactly outstanding.
Evgeni Malkin – When you draft Evgeni Malkin, you’re given a complimentary first-aid kit to deal with his injuries. We know the risks of owning the Russian superstar, but it’s hard to put a damper on his 72 points in 62 games this season. Fortunately, he has been progressing well, and the Penguins will continue to monitor his recovery from a shoulder injury. Pittsburgh has already clinched a playoff spot, but they will probably want to give Malkin some action before the postseason begins, if he’s feeling up to it.
Steven Stamkos – The hope that the Lightning captain would return before the end of the regular season is starting to fade with each passing game. Although he has been participating in full team practice, he wants to feel 100 percent before returning to the lineup, and he just isn’t there yet.
The Second Liners (40%-75% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Kyle Okposo – The Sabres’ forward is close to feeling Ok(poso) again. He has been skating and it’s likely he returns from a rib injury next week. Be cautious with this good news though, don’t hold onto him because there’s hope he’s coming back soon. However, if Okposo is a free agent in your league right now, he could make a sneaky add for next week.
Alexander Wennberg – Wenn will he be back? Hopefully very soon, considering he participated in Tuesday’s team practice. I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns to the lineup on Wednesday night against the Leafs, but keep an eye out for a more definite update. The neck injury came on this play against the Islanders…
Jason Spezza – The veteran forward has been on the shelf with back spasms, and will probably be ready to return very soon. He wasn’t ruled out for Monday’s game until close to game time, indicating a lack of severity. Before the injury, Spezza found himself playing between Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, he definitely holds some value if he reclaims that spot upon return.
Mark Stone – Look, constantly being the bearer of bad news gets demoralizing. But it makes moments like this even better. Senators’ forward Mark Stone has been making great progress from a lower-body injury and may not be week-to-week anymore. If an owner in your league grew impatient and gave up on Stone, he could make the perfect addition to your team. His 50 points in 63 games this season aren’t too shabby.
Tyler Johnson – The Lightning forward has not been skating with the team, and considering the fantasy season is winding down, it might be time to part ways with Tyler Johnson. He should have been skating by now if he was to have any real impact on your team’s success, if you aren’t able to make transactions at this point, I wish Johnson the speediest of recoveries.
The Depth Guys (10%-40% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Artem Anisimov – The Blackhawks forward will miss the next three to four weeks because of a lower-body injury. He had been having a pretty good season with 45 points in 64 games, silencing some of the hate that he was piggybacking on Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane. This injury comes at a bad (Ar)tem for fantasy owners, but hopefully you have some replacement options on the waiver wire.
Michael Cammalleri – The Devils’ forward has been skating on his own, which indicates he still has a way to go before returning to the lineup. Typically, a player is able to participate in a rigorous team practice before they transition back into the demanding game of hockey. At this point in your fantasy season, when every game and point counts, you can’t keep waiting for Cammalleri.
Johnny Boychuk – The Islanders’ defenseman has been skating, but like the above case, not with the team. 21 points in 59 games aren’t necessarily outstanding numbers, but he also has some sneaky value in other categories. Be cautious if you plan on waiting through Boychuk’s recovery, we still don’t have a concrete timetable.
Jake Guentzel – The young Penguins’ forward has been diagnosed with a concussion after a shady hit from Rasmus Ristolainen. This one hurts me as much as it hurts you, as I personally owned Guentzel in one of my leagues, and his 25 points in 35 games were an absolute gem to find on the waiver wire. The dominant Connor Sheary-Sidney Crosby–Jake Guentzel line will obviously be shuffled, so keep an eye on who gets to play with Sid in the Penguins’ upcoming games.
The Mr. Irrelevants (<10% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Shane Doan – Now I doan(t) want to be the bearer of bad news, but Shane Doan has a measly 25 points in 70 games. He is currently day-to-day with a lower-body injury but has minimal value on most rosters. At 40 years of age, I was shocked to see the Coyotes’ forward is still owned in 8% of leagues. Any value he has in peripheral categories can be replaced on the waiver wire. He’s had an amazing career in the NHL, but he’s not the type of player you hold onto in fantasy hockey leagues.