The Stanley Cup Playoffs have arrived! Will your favourite team have a healthy lineup as they begin their quest for Lord Stanley’s Mug? Find out in this week’s Injury Ward! Follow me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza for the latest injury updates during the playoffs.
Kevan Miller – Will miss the beginning of Boston’s first round tilt with Toronto, as a result of a knee injury. He crashed awkwardly into the boards last week against Minnesota and is currently dealing with some swelling. At this point, we only know he won’t be available to “start” the series, so we could see him at some point down the road if the Bruins are still in contention. Boston will certainly miss an element of physicality without Miller in the lineup.
Sean Kuraly – Bruins GM Don Sweeney revealed that Kuraly is skating and is expected to be back in the lineup at some point during Boston’s series with the Toronto. It is important to note that he’s been out of the lineup with a broken hand since March 21st and while he has been skating, he hasn’t been holding a stick.
Toronto Maple Leafs
While the Leafs will have a healthy lineup when they kick off their first-round series against the Bruins on Thursday, I’d keep an eye on Jake Gardiner. He missed 18 games late in the season with a back issue and could still be dealing with some residual effects of that injury. Again, nothing official has been released by the team, but it’s still a situation to monitor.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Anton Stralman – Still working through a lower-body injury but has been skating on his own. The expectation is that he should be available at some point during Tampa’s first-round tilt with the Blue Jackets.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Adam McQuaid – Hasn’t shown signs of progress from his upper-body injury and did not travel with the team to Tampa Bay. McQuaid suffered the injury after taking an elbow to the head from Andrew Shaw in late March. It doesn’t sound like he’ll be available during Columbus’ series against the Lightning.
Ryan Murray – Remains out indefinitely with an upper-body injury that caused him to miss 24 games this season. The Blue Jackets are definitely a better team with Murray in the lineup, but they’ve played without him for a significant stretch of the season and have adapted accordingly.
Michal Kempny – Will miss the next four to six months after surgery to repair a torn hamstring. He had an underrated impact on the Caps’ blueline, playing 19 minutes a night. Fortunately, the team acquired Nick Jensen at the trade deadline and they hope he’ll be able to offset the loss of Kempny for this playoff run.
Calvin de Haan – There’s a great degree of uncertainty surrounding de Haan’s availability for Carolina’s first-round matchup against Washington. Coach Rod Brind’Amour remains hopeful that de Haan will be healthy enough to “get into a game here or there”, but he doesn’t know anything for sure.
New York Islanders
Tanner Fritz – Had surgery to remove a blood clot from his hand about a week ago and will need about five to seven more weeks for recovery. If the Isles make a really deep run this year, Fritz might be available in the later stages of that run, but I wouldn’t count on that.
Brian Dumoulin – Has had a chance to fully participate in practice as he completes the later stages of his recovery from a lower-body injury. He’ll be a game-time decision for Wednesday’s playoff opener against the Islanders, which means it’s almost a guarantee we’ll see him play at some point during the series.
Zach Aston-Reese – Would it be lazy of me to copy and paste Dumoulin’s update here? I mean his situation is literally identical to Aston-Reese’s – they’re both coming back from lower-body injuries, had a chance to fully practice, and will be game-time decisions on Wednesday night against the Islanders. I guess that’s all you really need to know!
Chad Ruhwedel – Hasn’t been practicing but has been skating and working out. It doesn’t sound like he’ll be available to kick off the playoffs, but he could make an appearance at some point down the road if the Penguins are still in contention.
Rocco Grimaldi – Is close to returning to full health and could participate in practice at some point this week. While it doesn’t look like he’ll be in the lineup for the first game of Nasvhille’s clash with the Stars, he should be available later in the series.
Martin Hanzal – The 32-year-old hasn’t played in almost four months because of a back injury. Considering it’s been so long since he last played, he’d need a lot of time to get back into playoff-shape. There are no reports of him skating or practicing recently, so I think it’s safe to assume he won’t be available for Dallas’s playoff run this season.
Marc Methot – Had “season-ending” surgery to repair a cartilage defect in his knee. As a result, he won’t play in any of the Stars’ playoff games. He only played nine games during the regular season, so his absence won’t throw Dallas’ defensive chemistry out of whack.
Stephen Johns – Hasn’t played a game this season as he’s been dealing with post-traumatic headaches. He probably won’t be available during Dallas’ playoff run.
Brandon Tanev – Has been skating, but will miss Wednesday’s playoff opener against the Blues with a hand/finger injury. He tallied 14 goals this season and is an important part of Winnipeg’s depth-scoring. His status going forward hasn’t yet been revealed, but I’d expect we see him play at some point.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues will have all hands on deck when they kick off their series against the Jets on Wednesday!
San Jose Sharks
The Flames will also have all hands on deck when they kick off their series against the Avalanche on Thursday! However, keep an eye out on Erik Karlsson who missed significant time with a groin injury late in the season.
Vegas Golden Knights
Erik Haula – If Vegas makes a deep run this year, Erik Haula might be available for the later stages of that run. Coach Gerard Gallant said he’ll provide an update once Haula starts skating with the team, but until then the Golden Knights will be without his services. Haula had knee surgery back in November so it’s amazing that we’re even talking about a potential return this season.
The Flames will have their full complement of players when they kick off their series against the Avalanche on Thursday!
Vladislav Kamenev – Has been skating frequently in a non-contact jersey as part of his recovery from shoulder surgery that he had back in December. If Colorado makes a deep run into the playoffs this season, I get the feeling that Kamenev could be an option. However, I wouldn’t expect him to return during Colorado’s first-round series with the Flames because he hasn’t fully participated in practice yet.
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