It’s always a little annoying to own a Band-Aid player, but at least you can plan for that. You take into consideration that players like Evgeni Malkin and Taylor Hall are going to miss some time. When they don’t, you get seasons like this year.
It’s even more frustrating when you own a player that could be at the start of a Band-Aid boy career. You didn’t see it coming, but next thing you know, bam, your player just missed another 10 games for the third year in a row.
Every year, Dobber updates his list of Band-Aid boys. Below are 10 players who I believe should be part of that next update.
Before I move on to the list, a quick tangent. Back in the early 1940s, there was an NHL prospect who couldn’t stay healthy. He broke his ankle in his first Quebec Senior Hockey League game and missed the rest of the season. He broke a wrist the following year that caused him to miss time, and then the following year made it to the NHL, only to break his leg and limit himself to 16 games. The Habs tried to ship the poor-luck player to the Rangers for Phil Watson, but the New York GM at the time declined the trade, thinking the Habs forward was too brittle for the NHL.
That Habs player was Maurice the Rocket Richard. Don’t necessarily give up on Band-Aid boys early in their careers, but make sure you have a decent backup plan in case they turn into a Rick DiPietro.
On to the list.
10. Mark Scheifele
Scheifele is the reason I brought up the Richard story in the intro. Just because an elite talent has injury history earlier doesn’t mean he’ll keep getting injured. In 2014, Scheifele missed 19 games with a knee injury. Two years ago, he missed time due to a concussion. This year he missed about 18 games with a broken collarbone. There’s not a lot of reason to worry yet, but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Baertschi just can’t catch a break, unless that break involves one of his bones. He would be a borderline serviceable fantasy asset if he could ever play a full 82 games. Look at his stats from this year: He has an on-game pace of 22 goals, 45 points, 127 shots, 31 PIM and 14 power play points. He missed a bunch of games earlier this year with a broken jaw, and is now out for the rest of the season with a right shoulder injury. Last year he missed games because of a lacerated foot and a concussion. He also missed 13 games with a neck injury in the AHL during the lockout-shortened season.
8. Andrew Shaw
It’s surprising the 26-year-old Shaw hasn’t had an injury issue until he went to the Canadiens, considering the style he plays and two long playoff runs with the Blackhawks that resulted in Stanley Cups putting extra wear on his body. In the span of the past 15 months, he’s missed time with three injuries: Last year, he missed 14 games in the regular season with an injury, and then the final game of the Habs’ first round defeat with an upper-body injury. This season, he’s missed 19 games with a lower-body injury.
Elliott has had a strange career. He’s been a number one goalie with four teams over 10 years, but only started more than 50 games once. Part of that has been because he’s been in a timeshare for much of his career, but his health also plays a major role. In 2014, he missed a month with a sprained knee. In 2016, he was placed on long-term injured reserve with a lower-body injury. This year, he missed four games at the end of January with a lower-body injury, as well as being out since Valentine’s day recovering from core muscle surgery.
6. Ondrej Palat
When Palat burst onto the scene in 2013-14, he played in 81 games. Since then, he’s missed at least seven games every year. In 2015-16, he missed 20 games, and this year he’s missed at least 23 games (and counting) with a potential high-ankle sprain. He’s practicing with a red non-contact jersey, so that 23 number will continue to climb.
5. Jack Eichel
There’s no word on whether Eichel’s injuries have been to his back from carrying the Sabres by himself. However, there should be some caution when it comes to the 21-year-old wonder kid. Last year, a high ankle sprain caused him to miss 21 games. This year, a sprained right ankle has cost him almost the entire second half of the season. He might make it back in time for the fantasy championships, but Buffalo would be smart to shut him down for the rest of the season.
As a fantasy general manager, what do you do with a player who has obvious chemistry with an elite superstar teammate but can’t stay healthy consistently enough? Schwartz was on pace for easily his best season when he went down with an ankle injury in December that cost him 20 games (another reason why you sell high on a surprise season when you can). His owners should be used to this by now. In 2015-16, he missed 49 games with a fractured ankle. He also missed seven games the previous season with a right foot injury.
3. Jacob Trouba
Trouba is the player I am most surprised isn’t on the Band-Aid Boys list. This is his fifth season in the NHL. He saw action in 81 games in 2015-16, but in the other four years, his highest game total was 65. This year he’s on pace for 64 games, but hasn’t played since Jan. 25 because of an ankle injury. He’s not expected back on Winnipeg’s current road trip, so the earliest he can play is Thursday against Chicago. He’s a restricted free agent this summer, so it will be interesting to see how much his injury history could cost him.
2. Carey Price
When I did a similar list a few years ago, I put Price at the number one spot (he’s since been usurped by another netminder). I count at least eight injuries in 10 years, and I could be missing some. In 2008, he injured an ankle and missed a month of action. He missed the last four games of the 2011-12 season with a concussion. A groin injury knocked Price out of the playoffs against the Ottawa Senators in 2013. He aggravated a lower-body injury during the 2014 Olympics that took him out of eight games for the Canadiens. A few months later, Chris Kreider knocked Price out of the third round of the playoffs against the Rangers. In 2015-16, Price had a knee injury that limited him to 12 games. This year, he missed three weeks in November with a lower-body injury, and hasn’t played since Feb. 20 with a concussion. That’s a lengthy list, and you can never be confident when owning Price in fantasy leagues.
1. Matt Murray
There should never have been any doubt that Murray would be tops on this list. He’s technically a sophomore, but look at his injury history:
2016 playoffs: Concussion
October, 2016: Broken hand
December, 2016: Lower-body injury
2017 playoffs: Missed two rounds of the playoffs with an injury
November, 2017: Lower-body injury
December, 2018: Upper-body injury
February, 2018: Concussion
Some of these were minor (just a game this past December), while some were major (two rounds of the playoffs a year ago). Still, that’s seven separate injuries in less than two years that caused him to miss time. You just can’t trust him to stay healthy.
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