With the NHL officially announcing the start of hockey on Jan. 13, many fantasy general managers are scrambling to play catch up with hockey news they may have missed over the last few months.
With so much going on in the world, it's easy to understand why many fantasy GMs may have taken the last little while away from the news. I emailed a manager in a keeper league on Sunday night (our keepers are due Dec. 31), and he told me he hasn't even looked at his roster for a while and didn't know who his keepers were. I've heard of numerous leagues where commissioners are still determining if they're even going to have a fantasy season because of a potential lack of interest.
For those of you forging ahead, you have less than a month to catch up on your fantasy news. One of the first things is to figure out who will miss the start of the season due to injury. Below are 10 players who are injured and for many, it could be a while before they can help your fantasy squad.
For more news on long-term injuries and their impacts, remember to purchase Dobber's Fantasy Guide, which is constantly updated as news becomes available.
10. Anders Nilsson
Nilsson missed the last 36 games of last year with a concussion and doesn't look like he'll be ready for the start of training camp. Nilsson would have been the perfect handcuff netminder for this season. After all, the top guy in Ottawa is now Matt Murray, who is easily the league's number on Band-Aid goalie. Nilsson has been dealing with these symptoms for a full calendar year (he was injured last December) and, unlike shoulder or ankle injuries, there's never a timeline of how long a player will miss games.
9. Alex Stalock
This one is pretty recent, so many fantasy general managers may know about his injury, but it's worth mentioning. After the Wild traded Devan Dubnyk to the Sharks, Stalock had an opportunity to start a higher percentage of games than ever before. It's not as if Cam Talbot had a stranglehold on the number one spot (in the last three years, Talbot has a 63-63-9 record with a 2.98 GAA and a .908 SV%). However, an upper-body injury is keeping Stalock off the ice. Kaapo Kahkonen should benefit the most, as he will be the regular backup instead of playing games in the AHL. However, there's no news on many weeks or months Stalock may miss, so it's tough to know the full impact.
8. Mats Zuccarello
One of the issues for a few of these injured players is that there is no timeline on when players could be back in the lineup. We just mentioned it with Stalock, and it's the same for Zuccarello. It makes it tougher for fantasy general managers to plan for the season. Zuccarello had surgery on his right arm in November to fix a torn ligament. It was the same arm he broke with the Stars a couple of years ago but it was bothering him last season. Reports have him missing training camp at a minimum, but it sounds like he could potentially be out for quite a while.
7. Gustav Nyquist