Welcome to the offseason edition of 'Injury Ward', with preseason injury updates from around the NHL! If you want to see the latest injury news before your fellow fantasy managers, follow me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza!
Phil Kessel – The 33-year-old winger sustained a foot injury while training and is currently in a walking boot. About a week has passed since the injury was announced and it's expected to be another week or two before Kessel is ready to return. Seeing as Arizona's season opener is just over two weeks away, I'd expect Kessel will be healthy to start the 2021-2022 campaign. He posted a solid 63-point pace last season but it's hard to see him replicating that level of offense with a lacklustre supporting cast in Arizona this year. There is a chance Kessel gets shipped out of the desert soon, which could be great for his fantasy value.
Jack Eichel – As you've probably heard by now, the Sabres superstar had his 2021 campaign cut short by a herniated disk. The treatment of this injury has been a topic of debate recently, with Eichel and the Sabres wanting different roads to recovery. The team wants Eichel to have a fusion surgery – a common procedure that would remove the damaged disk and allow two vertebrae to fuse together in the resulting empty space. Eichel on the other hand would rather have an artificial disk replacement, replacing the damaged disk with an artificial one. The Sabres don't like Eichel's solution because the procedure hasn't been done on an NHL player before. Eichel doesn't like the team's proposed surgery because it's more likely to require follow-up surgeries years from now. Based on my understanding, the team ultimately gets to decide how injuries are treated. However, seeing as Eichel still hasn't had the surgery, and the Sabres won't get a full-value return for him in a trade until he's healthy, I wouldn't be surprised to see the team concede and allow him to have the surgery he wants. After they stripped him of the captaincy, it's hard to see a future for Eichel in Buffalo, so why don't the Sabres just let him do what he wants, and then trade him away so it's not their problem anymore?
Jake Gardiner – The Hurricanes defenseman will have hip and back surgeries that will likely keep him sidelined for the season.
Devon Toews – Had shoulder surgery during the offseason and is expected to miss the start of the 2021-2022 campaign. At