Happy New Year, my friends! With another year, comes another fantasy hockey championship – I wish you the very best in your journey! Here’s this week’s latest in the injury world. If you don’t see a certain player below, there probably haven’t been any major developments in their progress. Once there is a significant update, I’ll be sure to have it for you on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza!
Rickard Rakell – Has been dealing with an upper-body injury that has kept him out of Anaheim’s last four games. The team hasn’t released much information about the injury, so we don’t know how long he’ll be out.
Darcy Kuemper – Is officially week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Kuemper was selected to represent Arizona at the All-Star game on January 25th and didn’t make any comments to suggest that this injury will definitely prevent him from participating. Kuemper was one of the league’s best goalies in 2019, posting a 31-17-8 record, 2.10 GAA and .931 SV% in the calendar year. Antti Raanta has had a few good starts and a few bad starts in Kuemper’s absence, but I think he remains a strong option in fantasy hockey given Arizona’s strong defensive style of play.
Charlie McAvoy – Is on injured reserve (IR) with a lower-body injury and hasn’t been skating recently. The team hasn’t released a timetable for his recovery, so it seems that they’re taking this one day at a time. He was moved to the IR on December 27th, so he isn’t eligible to return until Saturday against the Oilers.
David Krejci – Didn’t practice on Monday and didn’t travel to New Jersey for Tuesday’s game against the Devils. His status for Thursday’s game against the Blue Jackets hasn’t yet been determined. The 33-year-old has been solid during the first half of the 2019-2020 campaign, posting 28 points in 34 games.
Torey Krug – Has been skating recently as he recovers from an upper-body injury. From my understanding, a player sits out a week of action once they’ve been placed on injured reserve (IR). I see that Krug was officially moved to the IR on December 27th, meaning he won’t be eligible to return on Thursday against the Blue Jackets.
Jeff Skinner – An upper-body injury will keep the Sabres forward out of the lineup for the next three to four weeks. Skinner had just one point in nine games prior to the injury and has just 19 points in 39 games this season. It’s worth noting that his ice time has decreased by a minute and 30 seconds since last year and he isn’t seeing the same exposure to Jack Eichel.
T.J. Brodie – An illness kept him out of the lineup for Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to the Blackhawks. Players typically don’t need too much time off when they’re sick, so he should be back for Thursday’s game against the Rangers.
Brandon Saad – An ankle injury will keep him out of the lineup for the next couple of weeks. With 19 points in 36 games, Saad was on pace for 43 points this year. It’s kind of crazy that Artemi Panarin – who the Blackhawks traded for Saad – has 55 points in 39 games already this season. Sorry to rub salt in the wound Hawks fans.
Joonas Korpisalo – On Monday, he had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee and will miss the next four to six weeks as a result. It’s a shame because Korpsialo had been playing really well this season, sporting a 17-10-4 record alongside a .913 SV% and 2.49 GAA. Elvis Merlikins will take over the starting role in Korpisalo’s absence and could be a valuable addition to your fantasy roster given Columbus’ strong defensive play. Merlikins registered his first career win on Tuesday against the Panthers, stopping 36 of the 37 shots he faced.
Oliver Bjorkstrand – Since there was no Injury Ward last week, I wasn’t able to tell you that Bjorkstrand will miss the next three to five weeks because of a rib/cartilage contusion with oblique strain. I shared some thoughts about Bjorkstrand’s recent success in an Eastern Edge article a couple of weeks ago, check it out here.
Cam Atkinson – He’ll be out of the lineup for another week or two as he recovers from an ankle sprain. To no one’s surprise, Atkinson’s offensive production hasn’t been the same since Artemi Panarin left for New York. It is worth mentioning that Atkinson’s ice time has also decreased significantly since last season (from 19:23 to 17:59).
Andreas Athanasiou – A lower-body injury will keep Detroit’s speedy forward out of the lineup for the next two to three weeks. He has just five goals in 36 games this season after scoring 30 in 76 last year.
Anthony Mantha – The 25-year-old forward will miss four to six weeks of action because of an injury to his rib cage. With 24 points in 29 games, Mantha was on pace to put up 68 points over 82 games. Detroit is the league’s most offensively challenged team as they score just 2.17 goals per game. The team will certainly miss Mantha’s scoring touch but there’s still some fantasy value on their new top line of Tyler Bertuzzi, Dylan Larkin and Robby Fabbri.
Jason Zucker – Underwent surgery to repair a fractured fibula and will miss four to six weeks of action as he recovers. Zucker has 24 points in 34 games this season and seems to be bouncing back from the 43-point pace he put up last year.
Brendan Gallagher – Left Tuesday’s game against the Hurricanes with an upper-body injury after taking a knee to the head while failing to the ice. His iron-man streak currently sits at 229 games, but it may be broken on Thursday when the Habs host the Lightning. Gallagher is the heart and soul of the Canadiens and the team will desperately miss his presence if this injury causes him to miss significant time. I’m curious to see who will replace Gallagher on the top line with Phillip Danault and Tomas Tatar. Max Domi and Nick Suzuki have been playing well together recently so I don’t expect them to be split up.
Joel Armia – Is week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Prior to the injury, Armia had been seeing more ice time and shooting the puck more than ever before in his career. We often forget that the 26-year-old forward was drafted 16th overall back in 2011 and still has an excellent shot and is extremely strong on the puck. He’s been rewarded with 12 goals in 35 games this season.
Jonathan Drouin – We’re about six weeks into the original eight to 10-week recovery timetable that Drouin was prescribed following wrist surgery. He’s been working out off the ice and is expected to start skating very soon.
Anders Nilsson – No timetable for his return as he deals with a concussion. I know we joke about the Senators and their AHL roster a lot, but Ottawa has been competitive this season and Nilsson has a .908 SV% through 20 games. Sure, that’s not great, but it is currently better than than Andrei Vasilevskiy’s, Sergei Bobrovsky’s and Carey Price’s save percentage.
Jake Guentzel – He is one of just six players on the Penguins who has appeared in all of the team’s first 39 games. That run will come to an end as he’ll miss the next four to six months while recovering from shoulder surgery. Guentzel had been excellent this season, with 20 goals and 23 assists in 39 appearances. While I could advise you to pick up Jared McCann or Alex Galchhenyuk in Guentzel’s absence, I think you’ll be disappointed if you’re expecting them to produce like Guentzel did.
Sidney Crosby – Still no timetable for his return but he has been skating. You might have seen headlines saying that Crosby skated with his teammates at practice, but keep in mind that he didn’t actually participate in practice with the team – he was simply skating on his own at the same time. Once he starts taking contact and participating in drills with teammates, we can start talking about a return. The Penguins have been playing well in Crosby’s absence, so there’s no reason to rush him back into the lineup.
Ilya Mikheyev – Suffered a scary injury against the Devils as he had his wrist sliced by Jesper Bratt’s skate. He’ll be out of the lineup for the next three months as he recovers from the subsequent ligament damage.