Could there be any players that will make their return from injury before the All-Star Break?
The Injury Ward is rather full this week, but I’ll do my best to update you on all of our patients. With the All-Star Break right around the corner, a lot of these short-term injuries will be given time to heal. Teams don’t update us as often when players are out with long-term injuries, but when they do, I’ll have it for you on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza!
The Big Guns (>75% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Corey Crawford – The Blackhawks goalie has been working out off the ice and could start skating again very soon. Coach Joel Quenneville said “I think he is getting closer. He was in again today, had a good workout, feeling much better. When we get him on the ice soon here, hopefully, then we’ll get a better assessment.” The Central is currently the most competitive division in the NHL, with each team showcasing a positive goal differential. The Colorado Avalanche just went on a 10-game winning streak, and still sit fifth out of eight teams. While we still have many games to play, the Blackhawks are seven points out of a playoff spot and have a tough road ahead of them. Crawford’s last game was on December 23, and Chicago has allowed 3.16 goals against per game since then (12 games). In my opinion, the team won’t make the playoffs without Crawford, but they also can’t afford to rush him back if he’s not feeling 100 percent.
Filip Forsberg – Has been participating in practice, but not taking any contact. Robby Stanley observed that Forsberg’s stick-handling didn’t seem affected at all by the injury, let’s hope that holds true for other aspects of his game.
Taylor Hall – Will be reevaluated Wednesday after missing the last two games with a hand issue. The injury doesn’t appear to be serious, and the team doesn’t believe it will keep him out long-term. Hall has had an amazing first half to the season with 48 points in 41 games, the Devils are going to need him as they push for the playoffs.
Martin Jones – A minor lower-body injury has prevented the Sharks’ goaltender from starting recently. Perhaps it’s a good idea to let him rest on Thursday for an extended recovery into the All-Star break. It hasn’t been an ideal season for Jones, as his 14-11-4 record, 2.68 GAA and .910 SV% pale in comparison to Aaron Dell’s 12-3-3 record, 2.32 GAA and .923 SV%.
Mark Stone – Nothing too serious here, Stone had run into the boards which caused some swelling in his knee. The swelling has understandably reduced mobility, so the team wanted it to go away before he played. While there’s a chance he’s ready for the Bruins on Thursday, it’s even more likely he’s good to go after the All-Star break.
Cory Schneider – Early speculation hints that the Devils’ goalie suffered a lower-body injury on this goal from Brad Marchand. While Coach John Hynes didn’t have any updates following the game, you can follow me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza for the actual details of the injury when they come out. Keith Kinkaid is already out with a groin injury…
Jaden Schwartz – Has been medically cleared to play! While he could play against the Avalanche on Thursday, the Blues will need to make a roster move to make space for Schwartz, so keep an eye out for their transactions. In case you’ve forgotten how well Schwartz had been playing before the injury, I’ll remind you that he had 35 points in 30 games.
The Second Liners (40%-75% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Kevin Shattenkirk – The Rangers’ defenseman underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee and is out indefinitely. He had been playing through the tear all season, and it finally got to a point where short-term solutions weren’t having the desired effect. While he hopes to be back before the end of the year, this is a pretty major surgery that could keep him out until next season.
Ondrej Palat – Huge loss for the Lightning as they lose a great defensive forward for the next six to eight weeks. He looks to have sustained the injury in this ‘encounter’ with Jared Spurgeon. With all the success stories in Tampa Bay this season, Palat was very quietly on pace for 52 points and will be hard to replace.
Morgan Rielly – Won’t be back before the All-Star break after being placed on injured reserve. While the injury isn’t serious, the team isn’t willing to rush him back before he’s feeling ready. Rielly had really stepped up for the Leafs this season, making the most of his new power-play time. His 31 points in 47 games had him on pace for a 53-point campaign. Not too shabby!
Tyson Barrie – There’s a chance he’s in the lineup on Thursday when Colorado faces St. Louis. In the event he doesn’t return then, expect him back immediately following the All-Star break. Barrie’s 27 points in 34 games this season are made even more impressive by the fact that he was sidelined during Colorado’s ten game winning streak, so his stats aren’t inflated from that run.
Cam Atkinson – I feel it Camming? The Blue Jackets forward has been a full participant in practice and skating diligently over the past few days. He had surgery to repair a fractured bone in his foot on December 27, and was expected to miss four to six weeks. While we might be on the shorter end of the timetable, the procedure involved two screws being inserted into his foot, so expect him to ease back into action when he does return.
Charlie McAvoy – The Bruins’ defenseman underwent a procedure on Monday to treat an abnormal heart rhythm, and will need about two weeks to recover. While Mathew Barzal and Brock Boeser have been generating a lot of attention in the Calder race, it’s hard to overlook McAvoy’s 25 points in 45 games.
Sebastian Aho – Won’t be back before the All-Star break (January 26-29). The Hurricanes’ forward suffered both a lower-body injury and concussion after a hit from Mark Giordano. Coach Bill Peters doesn’t think the lower-body injury is too major and expects it to heal within a few weeks. The concussion on the other hand is a completely different matter that comes with an unpredictable timeline. Although Aho isn’t skating, he is on the road with the team.
Joe Thornton – Well, this certainly doesn’t look good. It looks like Thornton injured his knee late in the game on Tuesday, and did not return. You know the drill, follow @BrennanDeSouza for the timetable when it becomes available.
Semyon Varlamov – Might be healthy enough to face the Blues on Thursday, but does it really make sense for him to play one game before the All-Star break? Considering Jonathan Bernier is 9-1 in his last 10 starts (allowing just 16 goals in that span), the Avalanche will probably give Bernier the final start before the break.
The Depth Guys (10%-40% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins –The Oilers’ forward will be out for five to six weeks with cracked ribs and a bruised sternum. No reason for Edmonton to rush him back as they enter the Rasmus Dahlin sweepstakes, much to the chagrin of every other NHL fan base.
James Reimer – Left Tuesday’s game after appearing to pull something in his leg on this play. His reaction makes me think this could keep him out for a few weeks, but I wouldn’t go adding the next goalie on the depth chart (Harri Sateri) just yet.
The Mr. Irrelevants (<10% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Justin Abdelkader – Is a possibility for Thursday against the Blackhawks, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Considering that’s Detroit’s final game before the All-Star break, it makes more sense to just give him the extended rest.
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