Howdy reader! You strike me as a smart person with good taste. How do I know that? Well for starters, you clicked on this article! Why not continue your current run of excellent decision-making by picking up a copy of Dobber’s Midseason Guide over here? The guide comes with a whole bunch of useful information that brings you one step closer to securing this year’s fantasy hockey championship. Second-half projections, prospect information and advanced stat breakdowns are just a click away!
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!
Jakob Silfverberg – There haven’t been many updates about his recovery from an upper-body injury. We do know that he isn’t currently travelling with the team as they visit Nashville on Thursday and Carolina on Friday before pausing for the All-Star Break. As a result, Silfverberg’s return probably won’t happen until after the break.
Antti Raanta – Is expected to participate in Wednesday’s practice. He hasn’t been ruled out of the team’s upcoming road trip that takes them through Vancouver on Thursday and Edmonton on Saturday – Arizona’s final two games before the All-Star break.
Darcy Kuemper – Will not play before the All-Star Break. That rules him out of Arizona’s next two games – Thursday against the Canucks and Saturday against the Oilers. Immediately after the break, the team plays a back-to-back against Anaheim on January 29th and Los Angeles on the 30th. Ideally, Kuemper is feeling well enough to start in one of those games.
Tuukka Rask – Suffered a concussion during Tuesday’s game against the Blue Jackets. Emil Bemstrom essentially punched Rask in the head (unintentionally) while skating through the crease. The team is expected to have a better evaluation of the situation at some point on Wednesday.
Dylan Strome – Participated in the skills portion of practice on Monday, so he has been stickhandling and skating while recovering from an ankle injury, but not taking contact in a full-practice scenario. While he wasn’t expected to travel with the team to face the Canadiens on Wednesday and Leafs on Saturday, he could return on Sunday against the Jets or Tuesday against the Panthers.
Brandon Saad – Has been skating but coach Jeremy Colliton said it’s possible that Saad won’t return until after the All-Star break. That would rule him out of the team’s next four games – Wednesday against Montreal, Saturday against Toronto, Sunday against Winnipeg and Tuesday against Florida. Chicago’s first game after the break will be played on February 1st against the Coyotes, so that seems like the earliest we can expect Saad to return.
Cam Atkinson – I mentioned last week that Atkinson was close to a return but wanted to make sure he was feeling 100-percent before getting back in the lineup. He’s dealt with an ankle injury in the past that didn’t fully heal and wanted to avoid that this time around. He has been practicing and hasn’t been ruled out of any games just yet, so his return could be just around the corner.
Oliver Bjorkstrand – Practiced with the team on Monday. On December 22nd, the Blue Jackets announced that Bjorkstrand would miss four to six weeks due to a rib/cartilage contusion with an oblique strain. We’re just over three weeks into that original timeline, so I wouldn’t say his return is exactly imminent. With that being said, the Blue Jackets have four games before the All-Star break, giving him several opportunities to return. As a result, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that he gets back in the lineup before the break – but I’m just speculating because the team hasn’t released an official update yet.
Jonathan Bernier – A lower-body injury will keep him out of the lineup until after the All-Star break – so he won’t be available for the team’s next four games (Jan 17th, 18th, 20th, 22nd). Detroit’s first game after the break is on January 31st against the Rangers.
Andreas Athanasiou – Last we heard, coach Jeff Blashill said that Athanasiou might be able to play before the All-Star break. Detroit plays four games before the break, so Athanasiou could return on Friday against the Penguins, Saturday against the Panthers, Monday against the Red Wings or next Wednesday against the Wild.
Anthony Mantha – Hasn’t been skating recently and is not expected to play before the All-Star Break. On December 27th, the Red Wings announced that Mantha would miss at least four weeks while recovering from an injury to his rib cage. Detroit’s first game after the break is on January 31st – exactly five weeks after the original injury announcement. That seems like the perfect date for Mantha to return to the lineup, but I’ll monitor his progress over the next couple of weeks and share any significant updates.
Brendan Gallagher – There hasn’t been a recent update on his status – last we heard, he was resting. Gallagher had missed four games with a concussion before he returned to face the Oilers. He reportedly experienced some headaches after the game, which could have been caused by the concussion or an unrelated virus. He proceeded to sit out the Canadiens’ next two games against the Senators and Flames, his status going forward hasn’t yet been determined. Anytime a player appears to suffer a setback upon their return from an injury, you expect the team to be more careful before the player’s second return. Don’t expect Gallagher back in the lineup until he’s feeling 100-percent.
Joel Armia – On Tuesday, he practiced for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury a few weeks ago. While it’s unlikely that he’ll be in the lineup against the Blackhawks on Wednesday, he could still return before the All-Star break (Thursday against the Flyers or Saturday against the Golden Knights).
Jonathan Drouin – Has been skating and stickhandling as he continues to progress from November’s wrist surgery, but he still won’t be back until after the All-Star break. Montreal’s first game after the break is on Monday, January 27th against the Capitals, so I guess that represents the earliest possible date that Drouin could return.
Ryan Ellis – There’s been no news of him skating recently and GM David Poile mentioned that it’s difficult to project a return date for Ellis. We’re well aware that recovering from a head injury is an unpredictable process because only the affected individual knows how they’re feeling – and how they’re feeling can vary greatly with each passing day.
Kyle Palmieri – Suffered a lower-body injury on Saturday against the Capitals and proceeded to miss the team’s next two games. We haven’t been made aware of his status going forward, so I guess we consider him day-to-day until we hear otherwise.
Carter Hart – The team is expected to release an update at some point on Wednesday regarding Hart’s status going forward. He felt fine on Tuesday morning but reportedly felt something in his lower-body during practice. He obviously won’t be available for Wednesday’s game against the Blues, but I’m concerned that this could keep him out for a significant period.
Shayne Gostisbehere – Will be sidelined for the next three weeks as he recovers from arthroscopic surgery on his knee. It’s been a tough year for Gostisbehere as he’s managed just 12 points through 40 games – he’s a Ghost of his former self. I mentioned in this week’s Eastern Edge how Ivan Provorov is taking over as Philly’s top power-play defenseman. Check out that and some other notes about power-play production in the Eastern Conference over here!
Nolan Patrick – On Tuesday, GM Chuck Fletcher said that he expects Patrick to play this year – but that’s just his guess. The 21-year-old forward has been skating hard and progressing well during workouts on and off the ice as he deals with a migraine disorder.
Justin Schultz – Has been skating but hasn’t been taking contact. He’s getting closer to returning from a lower-body injury but still needs to participate in a complete practice with full-contact before getting back in the lineup.
Logan Couture – Is expected to miss approximately six weeks of action after he suffered a small fracture in his ankle last Tuesday against the Blues. Reports indicate that Couture won’t need surgery and will begin a strength and conditioning routine very soon.
Colton Parayko – Has been progressing well and there’s a good chance he returns before the All-Star break. The Blues play two more games before the break, one on Wednesday against the Flyers and the other on Saturday against the Avalanche.
Morgan Rielly – A fractured foot will keep him out of the lineup for at least eight weeks, after which he’ll be re-evaluated. The Leafs called up Rasmus Sandin from the Marlies to fill the vacancy on Toronto’s blue line. Rielly’s production has fallen off dramatically between the first and second quarters of the campaign. He registered 17 points in his first 22 games but managed just eight points in his next 22 contests. Rielly’s offensive output hasn’t been very impressive since Sheldon Keefe took over, partially because Keefe uses Tyson Barrie on the top power-play instead of Rielly.
Jake Muzzin – Has been skating and it sounds like he’s expected to return from shortly after the All-Star break. Toronto’s first game out of the break is on Monday, November 27th against the Predators.
Micheal Ferland – Isn’t expected to return to the lineup until after the All-Star break. Vancouver’s first game after the break is Monday, November 27th. against the Blues. There’s no guarantee Ferland gets back in the lineup for that game, but it marks the earliest possible return date.