Here’s this week’s latest injury news from around the league. As always, follow me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza for injury updates as soon as they’re made public!
Rickard Rakell – Won’t be back before Christmas. Rakell’s point totals have gradually improved since he tallied 31 points in 71 games during the 2014-2015 season. After he put up 69 points in 77 games last season, I was expecting him to finally break the 70-point barrier this year. Much to my surprise, he was only on pace for 55 points before he injured his ankle a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know about you, but I’m trying to acquire Rakell in my fantasy leagues – I don’t see his value getting any lower.
Cam Fowler – Like Rakell, he isn’t travelling with the team and probably won’t be back before Christmas. He should start skating soon, so early-January seems like a realistic time for his return.
Patrice Bergeron – The Bruins’ top center has been skating recently and there’s a real possibility he participates in Wednesday’s practice. If he is able to practice, we might see him in the lineup before Christmas. The Bruins next three games will be played on December 20th against Anaheim, December 22nd against Nashville, and December 23rd against Carolina. David Krejci has been excellent since filling in for Bergeron on the top line with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. He’s currently on a seven-game point streak – during which he has ten points.
Zdeno Chara – Has been skating but isn’t quite as close to returning as Bergeron is. I wouldn’t expect him to be back before Christmas.
James Neal – Missed Tuesday’s game with an upper-body injury. Expect another update sometime in the coming days. He has only seven points in 34 games this season.
Sam Bennett – Missed Tuesday’s game with an upper-body injury. Expect another update sometime in the coming days. He has 10 points in 33 games this season. Yes, I did just copy Neal’s update and paste it here. They’re in the same situation okay!
Jordan Staal – Was skating alongside Brock McGinn and Micheal Ferland during Monday’s practice. Concussions are unpredictable. So, I don’t want to give you any false hope with an unrealistic timeline, but I expect him to be back in the lineup before the Christmas break.
Micheal Ferland – Was skating alongside Brock McGinn and Jordan Staal during Monday’s practice. Concussions are unpredictable. So, I don’t want to give you any false hope with an unrealistic timeline, but I expect him to be back in the lineup before the Christmas break. I feel guilty just copying Staal’s update and pasting it under Ferland’s name, so I’ll also tell you that Jordan Martinook has been playing with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen – a role which Ferland had filled for most of the season. Martinook hasn’t really produced, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Ferland is back on the top line soon.
Curtis McElhinney – Is ready to return! With that being said, Petr Mrazek did just shut out the Coyotes on Sunday, so don’t be surprised if he also starts against the Red Wings on Thursday night.
Corey Crawford – Has a concussion. There’s definitely some concern surrounding Crawford’s long-term health because he also missed a large chunk of last season with a concussion. However, just because he recently suffered a concussion, doesn’t mean he’s going to be out for longer this time. Each concussion can require a different recovery process, even it’s for the same person. In my opinion, the Hawks should hold off Crawford’s return until they are absolutely 100000% sure he’s fully healthy. Through 23 games this season, he has a 6-14-2 record with a 3.28 GAA and .902 SV%.
Artemi Panarin – Is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Anthony Duclair took Panarin’s spot on the top line alongside Cam Atkinson and Pierre-Luc Dubois on Monday. He had two shots and no points in 16:36 of ice-time.
Jason Spezza – Missed Tuesday’s game against the Flames because he was sick. I wouldn’t expect him to miss too much more action because of the illness.
John Klingberg – Has been practicing and is targeting to return Thursday against the Blackhawks or Saturday against the Wild. Klingberg had 13 points in 16 games prior to the injury, his return should provide a big boost to Dallas’ offence.
Jimmy Howard – Injured his back while warming up for Tuesday’s game against the Flyers. The 34-year-old has been playing really well this season, he has a .922 SV% through 23 games.
Mike Green – Will miss the next three to five weeks with a lower-body injury. He had an impressive 16 points in 23 games prior to the injury.
Nick Bjugstad – Could return to the lineup on Saturday when the Panthers take on the Red Wings.
Alec Martinez – Is out with an upper-body injury and will be re-evaluated in a few days.
Ilya Kovalchuk – Has been skating, and is probably a week or two away from a return.
Matt Dumba – Will be out at least a week with an upper-body injury. He leads all defensemen with 12 goals in 32 games.
Filip Forsberg – Should return early in January. He’s played only 26 games this season and still leads the team with 14 goals. Craig Smith sits in second with 10 goals in 34 games.
P.K. Subban – Has been skating and it looks like he’s making good progress from an upper-body injury. Subban has played in just 18 of the team’s 34 games but should return sooner rather than later.
Corey Schneider – Has been placed on Injured Reserve with an abdominal strain. Schneider has struggled mightily this season, sporting a 4.66 GAA and .852 SV% through nine games.
Kevin Shattenkirk – Will miss the next two to four weeks with a separated shoulder.
Matt Duchene – Could return to the lineup on Friday when the Senators take on the Devils. Duchene has been fantastic this season with 34 points in 29 games.
Brian Elliot – Had a setback in his recovery from a lower-body injury and as a result won’t be back before the end of 2018. Carter Hart – one of the league’s best goalie prospects – made his NHL debut on Tuesday, he stopped 20 of 22 shots in a 3-2 win against Detroit.
Patric Hornqvist – Hopes to return from an upper-body injury on Wednesday. In any case, he should be back in the lineup soon – most probably before the Christmas break.
Sven Baertschi – Has been progressing well from a concussion but isn’t expected to be in the lineup before the Christmas break.
Max Pacioretty – Seemed to awkwardly stretch his groin on this play. After starting the season with five points in his first 17 games, it looked like he had turned the corner with 14 points in his last 13 games. Expect an update from the team within the next few days.
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