The fantasy world can be a fickle one. Maybe you always seem to wind up drafting players who are constantly injured. When you wise up and stop drafting them, they no longer get injured.
Just because a player is a Band-Aid boy, doesn’t mean he’ll always stay there. In fact, there are numerous players that don’t deserve the reputation of constantly getting injured as they’ve been injury-free for years.
Below are 10 players who should be slowly shedding their label of oft-injured players. We’re looking at a trend of a few years to show they are healthy, and not just the most recent season.
The Wings captain has certainly had an interesting career when it comes to games played. He missed time in each of his first seven years, including stints of 19 and 21 games. Then he missed just four games in the next three years combined, starting the shed the Band-Aid boy label. Then he missed 37 games in 2013-14. It was enough to drive a fantasy GM batty. He’s been much better lately, playing in all 82 games in each of the last three years. While it’s not that big of an iron man streak, you take what you can get with this guy.
9. Taylor Hall
Hall doesn’t stay healthy enough to be taken off the Band-Aid boy list, but he’s not as injury-prone as he once was. In his first five NHL seasons, he played in only 66 games or more once (not including the NHL lockout season). Remember that a lot of his early injuries were of the fluke variety, such as injuring his shoulder during a fight, or having a teammate skate over his face during warmup. In the past three years, he’s been much better, playing in at least 72 games every year and playing in all 82 in 2015-16. He’s still a Band-Aid boy, but you can take solace that selecting him in drafts is safer than it used to be.
8. Mikko Koivu
There was a time there where Koivu was very productive, but couldn’t stay healthy. Now he’s healthy, but isn’t as productive. In the four campaigns from 2010-11 to 2013-14, he played in 66-plus games once, and he still missed 11 games that year (although it is important to note he did play in all 48 games during the lockout-shortened season). However, he averaged 0.82 points per game in those four years. In his last four seasons, he’s played in at least 80 games every year but has averaged 0.64 points per game.
7. Jeff Skinner
He’s been rumoured to be on the trade block, but it should be reassuring for fans of the team trading for him to realize Skinner is not as injury prone as he once was. In the four seasons from 2011-12 to 2014-15, he missed an average of 10 games a year. In the last three years, he missed three games total, all in the 2016-17 season.
Over a four-year period from 2011-12 to 2014-15, Giordano played in 61 games, 47 (lockout-shortened season), 64 and 61. He was still seen as an excellent fantasy defenseman, piling up 47 and 48 points in the latter two seasons, even though you could count on him missing 20 games. Not so anymore. In the last three seasons, he’s missed a total of one game. That’s pretty good, but unfortunately, his declining point total has led to a reduction in his value.
Granlund’s NHL career got off to a rocky start. His rookie season was during the lockout, but he played just 27 of 48 games. He then missed 19 and 14 games in each of the next two seasons, and it looked to be the start of a trend. However, in the last three years, he’s missed a total of six games. Although five of them have come this year, that’s a pretty good comeback from the injury bug.
4. Brent Burns
There was a time when you couldn’t trust Burns to play regularly in the NHL as he was missing too many games. From 2008-09 to 2013-14, Burns had two seasons where he played in at least 80 games, and four seasons where he missed 23, 35, 18 and 13 games. Since then, he’s been the epitome of a perfect attendance employee, not missing a single game in four seasons.
Even elite talent can’t avoid the injury bug at the start of their careers. Tank missed 10 games in his rookie season (during the 2012-13 lockout), and followed that up by missing 18 games the next season and then five more the season after that. The last three years have been much better, missing a total of four games while becoming one of the most consistent scorers in the league.
2. Patrick Kane
Right before the 2015-16 NHL season, there were people who wanted to pass on drafting Patrick Kane because of two reasons: His legal issues and the worry about his health. Despite being a point-per-game player in 2013-14 and 2014-15, he 34 missed games those two seasons combined. That year he won the Art Ross trophy and hasn’t missed a game in three seasons.
There was once upon a time when Crosby was the biggest Band-Aid boy in the league. From 2010-11 to 2012-13, Crosby played in just 99 games, or just under 47 per cent of Penguins games. For a while, there was genuine concern that Crosby might never be able to play hockey again because of concussion/neck injury. In the past five seasons, however, he’s played in 394 games, or 96 per cent of Penguin games. Three times he has hit the 80-game mark. It’s even more remarkable when you consider his body should be beaten up and more injury-prone, with two Stanley Cup finals, a World Cup and Olympic games mixed in there.
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