Here’s this week’s latest in the world of injury updates! If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a message on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza.
Nick Ritchie – Is not travelling with the team as they continue their tour of Western Canada through Calgary on Friday and Edmonton on Saturday. He hasn’t been practicing either, so it’s hard to imagine him making an impact in fantasy leagues for the rest of this season.
Ryan Getzlaf – Has been practicing and is currently travelling with the team as their road trip brings them to Calgary on Friday and Edmonton on Saturday. I get the feeling that Getzlaf will return from an upper-body injury in one of those two games.
Antti Raanta – He’s been sidelined for about four months with a knee injury, and will finally start practicing with the team at some point this week. Darcy Kuemper has been excellent in Raanta’s absence, sporting a 25-19-7 record alongside a 2.40 GAA and .922 SV%. I’d expect Kuemper to close out the regular season, but if the Coyotes make the playoffs, it sounds like Raanta could be an option.
Marcus Johansson – Should be back in the lineup on Wednesday against the New York Rangers. Considering he was a game-time decision for Monday’s clash with the Lightning (meaning he was already close to a return), he should be good to go on Wednesday now that he’s had a couple of extra days off.
Rasmus Ristolainen – An illness kept him off the ice for Tuesday’s matchup with the Senators. Buffalo plays three more games this week; Thursday against the Red Wings, Saturday against the Islanders and Sunday against the Blue Jackets. I’d be surprised if Ristolainen didn’t play in at least two of those three games, but it’s more likely that he plays in all three. Ristolainen needs just one more point to record his fourth-straight 40-point season.
Sam Bennett – While he probably won’t be in the lineup on Wednesday against the Stars, it sounds like Bennett will return on Friday against the Ducks or Sunday against the Sharks. He has recently resumed practicing as he recovers from an upper-body injury. Calgary has already clinched a playoff spot, so while he could play immediately if the remaining regular season games were more important, the team is happy to let him return to full health.
Mikko Rantanen – Out for an “extended period”, meaning he won’t be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Avalanche take on the Golden Knights. Colorado is clinging to the second wild-card spot in the West and is playing some of their most crucial games of the season. I get the feeling Rantanen would be in the lineup if this were just a minor injury, let’s hope it’s not too serious.
Gabriel Landeskog – Has been shooting the puck and participating in some team drills. At this point, it looks like he’s about two weeks away from a return. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’ll be back in time to have an impact on your fantasy hockey championship or the end of the NHL regular season.
Mats Zuccarello – He’s been able to stickhandle for the past week which is a great sign considering he broke his arm about a month ago. He’s still dealing with a bit of pain when he shoots the puck, but he continues to increase the intensity of his stickhandling every day as he returns to full health. He has been making great progress and is currently travelling with the team through Western Canada – a trip that sees the Stars face the Flames on Wednesday, Oilers on Thursday and Canucks on Saturday.
Zach Parise – The Wild hope to see Parise return at some point this weekend, either on Friday against the Golden Knights or Sunday against the Coyotes. Minnesota has a tough schedule to close out the season and will need all hands on deck if they’re going to qualify for postseason action.
Paul Byron – Was knocked down by an uppercut from MacKenzie Weegar of the Panthers as the two dropped the gloves on Tuesday in Montreal. Byron appeared dazed as he stumbled to the locker room after the fight and did not return to the game. While early speculation leads me to believe that Byron suffered a concussion during the fight, it’s officially being called an upper-body injury by the team.
Sami Vatanen – Missed both Monday’s game against the Sabres and Tuesday’s team practice because he was sick. An illness kept Vatanen out of the lineup for a few weeks earlier in the month, but we don’t know if this is related to that.
Chris Kreider – Has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury and his status remains day-to-day. The Rangers face the Bruins on Wednesday night, so we should get an update on Kreider’s status shortly after this article is posted. As I write this, he hasn’t yet been ruled out of Wednesday’s game.
Kris Letang – Is day-to-day with an upper-body injury and hasn’t been practicing. Coach Mike Sullivan declined to comment on whether this injury was related to the on that Letang suffered in late February when he was wrestled to the ice by Shayne Gostisbehere of the Flyers. As you can tell from the video below, it appears that Letang might have injured his neck on the takedown from Gostisbehere. The fact that he had surgery on his neck in 2017 to repair a herniated disc makes this situation all the more concerning. Again, this injury might have nothing to do with the last one, but it is worth mentioning since Letang only played three games in between absences.
Evgeni Malkin – Has been skating and is making good progress as he recovers from an upper-body injury. The Penguins haven’t lost in regulation during this five-game stretch without Malkin and have no reason to rush him back considering they’ve almost secured a playoff spot.
Joe Pavelski – The Sharks are considered contenders for the Stanley Cup this season and will need a healthy lineup to achieve that goal, so they’re understandably being cautious with Pavelski’s recovery from a lower-body injury. San Jose’s captain has been participating in some on-ice drills and it’s possible that he returns on Thursday against the Blackhawks. The team has lost all four games they’ve played during this stretch without Pavelski and are currently riding a six-game losing streak.
Erik Karlsson – The team still hopes for Karlsson to get back in the lineup before the regular season ends, but he’s no longer skating every day. While the team hasn’t officially announced that Karlsson has suffered a setback in his recovery from a groin injury, it’s hard to imagine that this was a planned part of his rehab. He had been skating every day and all of a sudden coach Pete DeBoer announces he won’t be skating every day going forward? If he were progressing well, wouldn’t he be skating more and more in an attempt to get back into form for the playoffs?
Ondrej Palat – Suffered an upper-body injury on Monday against the Bruins. While we don’t know the exact nature of the injury and how long he’ll be out, we do know that he isn’t dealing with a concussion.
Jake Gardiner – Has been skating but not taking contact as he continues to recover from a back injury. The Leafs play six more games before the end of the regular season and I think they’ll try to get Gardiner back in the lineup for at least one of those games, so he doesn’t go into the playoffs completely cold. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’ll return soon enough to have an impact on your fantasy hockey championship this year.
Max Pacioretty – Went down awkwardly on this play as his legs bent at angles that no legs should ever have to experience. Fortunately, the injury wasn’t as bad as it originally appeared and his status remains day-to-day.
Marc-Andre Fleury – Hasn’t been practicing but could join the team in Colorado for Wednesday’s matchup with the Avalanche. Malcolm Subban has posted a 3-1 record in Fleury’s absence but gave up three goals in three of those four games (the fourth game being a shutout).
Michal Kempny – Is dealing with a long-term injury that could keep him out for the rest of the season. The team is waiting on test results to determine whether or not Kempny will need surgery for his lower-body ailment.
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