Ramblings: Merry Christmas! Injuries to Kucherov, Dach; Kaprizov vs. Lafreniere (Dec 26)

Ian Gooding

2020-12-26

Hello, hope you had a Merry Christmas, even if it was a scaled-down COVID version. As someone who has had his fill on large holiday gatherings and all the responsibilities leading up to them, I've enjoyed this less-stressful Christmas, but still managed to reach out to many family and friends.

In a normal season there'd be a roster freeze over the Christmas break to allow players to celebrate with their families and not have to worry about an untimely trade or demotion. Because this season is different, I was wondering if there would be any news today. There happened to be one announcement, which was of well-traveled veteran d-man Michael Del Zotto signing a PTO with Columbus. Del Zotto played for John Tortorella in New York, so there's always a chance that he could crack the Blue Jackets on opening night. Still, these PTOs end without a signing more often than not.

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The Nikita Kucherov injury news (hip surgery, out entire regular season) is a huge blow to his keeper league owners as well as single-season leagues that have already drafted. Speaking of which, this injury is an example of why it's best to wait until much closer to the start of the season to hold your draft. Typically, the weekend before works best for me, as a lot of unexpected injuries can take place between now and opening night.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if Kucherov magically returns for the start of the playoffs, and yes, I have the Lightning still making it in despite the Kucherov injury. Don't forget that they won a Stanley Cup without the services of Steven Stamkos. Assuming a healthy Stamkos, the Lightning are still a power in the Central Division. If they had to play in the East Division, then I wouldn't be nearly as bullish on the Bolts.

The Kucherov injury has numerous implications for the Stanley Cup champions. For starters, moving Kucherov to LTIR enabled them to finally re-sign Anthony Cirelli, who could be in line for a more offensive role. It also doesn't force them to move Tyler Johnson, even if the Lightning are still trying to shop him or leave him exposed in the Seattle expansion draft. A