Some of you didn’t buy Dobber’s fantasy hockey guide this year, and it shows. Seriously, I’m tired of watching you lose matchups to Kevin from Accounting. That guy knows absolutely nothing about hockey and he somehow manages to beat you every week with his trash team of unsustainable performers. Why don’t you go teach Kevin a lesson and pick up Dobber’s midseason guide? Readers of our midseason guide have seen immediate improvement in their love life as well as work life. Studies show 12 out of every 11 people that purchased the guide were immediately congratulated by their boss and given a promotion. If you have any pride, you’ll get Dobber’s midseason guide!
Now that that’s out of the way, here’s the latest injury news from around the league!
Rickard Rakell – The Ducks forward skated on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Pontus Aberg during Saturday’s practice and it appears likely he’ll be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Ducks host the Senators. Rakell posted 38 points in 39 games during the second half of last season, I’m expecting big things down the stretch this year.
Nick Schmaltz – A lower-body injury will keep the Coyotes center out of the lineup for the rest of the season. Schmaltz had 14 points in 17 games since arriving in Arizona. Don’t forget about that production when it comes time to draft your fantasy team next year.
Charlie McAvoy – Has been skating frequently on his own and hopes to participate in Wednesday’s practice. While he appears close to a return, the trainers need to see how he responds to the physical contact that comes with a full practice. It’s a real possibility that he returns to the lineup on Thursday against Washington or Saturday against the Leafs.
Jack Eichel – The Sabres erred on the side of caution as they kept Eichel out of Tuesday’s clash with the Devils. Eichel had been skating earlier in the day, so the injury doesn’t appear to be too serious. Consider him day-to-day for now and don’t expect him to be out for too long.
Mike Green – There’s a possibility he returns to the lineup on Saturday when Minnesota hosts the Red Wings. With 16 points in 23 games this season, Green has been an underrated source of production in Detroit.
Nick Bjugstad – Has been seeing a specialist for his upper-body injury. The hope is that he participates in Wednesday’s practice and returns to the lineup this weekend (Friday against the Flames/Sunday against the Canucks).
Vincent Trocheck – Definitely won’t be back before the all-star break. So, you do have a bit of time if you’re planning on picking him up and stashing him on the IR.
Mackenzie Blackwood – Skated on Tuesday but was held out of the lineup as the Sabres hosted the Devils. Once Cam Johnson is sent down to the AHL, Blackwood should be ready to return. Through six starts, Blackwood has an impressive 1.83 GAA and .947 SV%. He is without a doubt the only intriguing goaltending option in New Jersey right now.
Taylor Hall – Is expected to start skating soon and has been working out in the meantime. The lower-body injury has kept Hall out for two weeks (seven games) but shouldn’t be a problem for too much longer. I’ll probably have another update for you next week after which his return should soon follow.
Cory Schneider – Has been skating but hasn’t faced shots just yet. I know Schneider has struggled this season, but you have to remember he’s coming off serious hip surgery. I was listening to Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman interview Roberto Luongo on the 31 Thoughts podcast and was surprised to hear Luongo say it takes about two years to fully recover from a surgery like that.
Kevin Hayes – The Rangers forward is dealing with a nagging upper-body injury that affects him to a different degree each day. Coach David Quinn made it clear that this is just a day-to-day situation and it shouldn’t keep him out long term. Hayes has been having a career-season with 33 points in 39 games. As an upcoming UFA, many contending teams will try and acquire the 26-year-old for a playoff run.
Justin Schultz – After three months on the shelf with a broken ankle, Schultz skated for the first time on Saturday. The injury was originally expected to keep him out for four months, and that still appears to be the case – one month left!
Frederik Andersen – While the Leafs goaltender has been feeling better every day, this is his first groin injury so he’s relying heavily on advice from the trainers. Toronto isn’t at risk of falling out of a playoff spot, so they’d be wise to rest Andersen and ensure his health for the playoffs. He’s been incredible this season, with a 20-9-1 record and .923 SV%. Don’t expect him to be out too much longer.
Elias Pettersson – The rookie sensation suffered a minor MCL sprain after getting tangled up with Jesperi Kotkaniemi of the Montreal Canadiens on this play. He’s expected to be out for the next week or two. Pettersson has taken the league by storm this season. He has 22 goals and 20 assists through 38 games.
Nicklas Backstrom – Missed Tuesday’s game against the Flyers due to an illness. Doesn’t sound like anything too serious so he should be back within the next game or two (Thursday against Boston/Saturday against Columbus).
Nikolaj Ehlers – An upper-body injury will keep the Jets forward out of the lineup until early to mid-February. It appears as though Kyle Connor will take his spot on the top line beside Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler.
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