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This week’s Injury Ward is a little lighter than usual because many of the league’s injured players are out long term and there haven’t been significant updates on their status recently. So if you’re looking for information on an injured player and you don’t see it below, check out last week’s article here. If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, shoot me a message on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza and I’ll track down the latest for you.
Antti Raanta – Something felt off during Saturday’s game against the Flyers, so Raanta decided to pull himself from the game. He felt well enough to practice on Monday but something started bugging him again so he left the ice. He’s officially day-to-day with an injury that isn’t believed to be too serious. With both Raanta and Kuemper injured, Adin Hill will take over the starting role in the short term.
Darcy Kuemper – Still no official timeline for his return but he has been skating on his own and hopes to return before the All-Star break. Kuemper was extremely honoured to be selected as an All-Star, so there’s extra motivation for him to get healthy before January 25th. A lower-body injury has kept him out of the lineup for the past few weeks.
Victor Olofsson – Will miss the next five to six weeks with a lower-body injury. The 24-year-old rookie was making his case for the Calder as he put up 35 points in 42 games this season – registering 21 points in his last 22 games. His power-play production was especially impressive as he had scored nine times with the man advantage. As I mentioned in this week’s Eastern Edge, Olofsson’s emergence as the trigger man on Buffalo’s power-play has hurt Jeff Skinner’s production this year. Skinner is currently out with an upper-body but he’s expected to return before Olofsson (in two to three weeks) and could benefit from reclaiming his role as the primary shooter on the Sabres’ PP until Olofsson returns.
Robin Lehner – Tuesday marked the first time that he skated since suffering a knee injury on January 2nd. The Blackhawks announced his official status as day-to-day, so hopefully he won’t be out too much longer. Lehner has been outstanding this year, maintaining a .922 SV% behind a leaky defense in Chicago. Corey Crawford will take over the starting role but he hasn’t been great this season, sporting a .906 SV% through 22 games.
Cam Atkinson – It sounds like he could have returned at some point during the team’s back-to-back against the Kings and Ducks on Monday and Tuesday, but he doesn’t want to rush things and risk a setback. He has been practicing and could be in the lineup for Thursday’s clash with the Sharks. However, he mentioned suffering a similar ankle injury a few years ago which never really healed properly, so you can understand why he wants to make sure he’s feeling 100-percent before returning to action this time.
John Klingberg – Didn’t practice on Tuesday and remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. He is travelling with the team as they visit Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose and Colorado over the next four games, so he could return in any one of those games. His slow start to the season was well documented as he put up just four points in his first 17 games. He’s rebounded nicely since then, posting 14 points through 17 contests.
Brendan Gallagher – Has been skating recently as he recovers from a concussion. Although he travelled with the team to Detroit, he wasn’t in the lineup against the Red Wings on Tuesday. I’ve mentioned before how unpredictable concussions can be, so it’s impossible to set a concrete timetable for a return. With that being said, Gallagher is a tough customer and the fact that he’s been skating consistently over the past few days makes me think he’ll be back sooner rather than later. In his absence Ilya Kovalchuk has skated on the top line with Philip Danault and Tomas Tatar. Kovalchuk has three points in two games since signing with the Habs.
Jonathan Drouin – The Canadiens forward has been skating frequently over the past week as he works his way back following wrist surgery in mid-November. He was originally expected to miss a minimum of eight weeks, but it’s already been seven and he hasn’t started shooting the puck yet. Considering the procedure was conducted on his wrist, he’ll probably need a little while to get comfortable stickhandling and shooting once he moves on to the next stage of his recovery. The Habs hope to have him back at some point in late January/early February.
Ryan Ellis – Is officially out with an upper-body injury but appeared to suffer a concussion following a dangerous elbow to the head from Corey Perry during the Winter Classic. He hasn’t been skating or practicing recently. Ellis has been excellent this season, posting 28 points through 39 games.
Jack Hughes – Won’t be in the lineup on Thursday when the Devils face the Rangers. While he has been skating, coach Alain Nasreddine said on Monday that Hughes’ recovery was taking longer than they originally thought it would. Hughes has 16 points in 36 games this year – nine of those points came during an eight-game stretch in late October/early November.
Anders Nilsson – It sounds like he’s been progressing well since his concussion diagnosis, as he began taking shots last week. Any effort to project an exact date for his return will be wasted, seeing as each individual seems to have a different experience when it comes to concussions.
Sidney Crosby – Has been skating often over the past few days and his status for Friday’s game against the Avalanche hasn’t yet been determined. Considering the number of injuries that Pittsburgh has suffered this year, it’s absolutely insane that Pittsburgh has the fifth-best record in the league at 26-12-5.
Justin Schultz – Has been skating recently as he recovers from a lower-body injury. With that being said, it doesn’t sound like his routine has been very rigorous as he’s primarily been skating on his own for short periods prior to practice. Once he starts taking contact in a full practice, we can start talking about a return.
Logan Couture – Left Tuesday’s game in considerable pain after he crashed into the boards with his knee making contact at an awkward angle. Couture was seen wearing a walking boot after the game and while initial x-rays seem to yield a favourable result, he’s expected to be reassessed at some point on Wednesday. Expect a more concrete update from the Sharks over the next few days.
Ryan McDonagh – Is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. There’s been some speculation that he suffered a concussion after taking some contact up high during Saturday’s game against the Senators.
Micheal Ferland – While he isn’t currently travelling with the team, he could join them at some point on a road trip that will continue through Florida on Thursday, Buffalo on Saturday, Minnesota on Sunday and Winnipeg on Tuesday. Basically, there’s a chance he returns from an upper-body injury within the next four games – but that’s far from a certainty.
Jonathan Marchessault – While he’s missed three straight games with a lower-body injury, he has practiced recently and was listed as a game-time decision on Tuesday – which means he was almost ready to return. Don’t be surprised if he’s back in the lineup on Thursday when the Golden Knights face the Kings.