Breaking news this week: Penguins can’t fly! By that I mean a large portion of Pittsburgh’s hockey team won’t be doing any sort of travelling as they’re currently sidelined with injuries. To see the latest injury updates from around the league as soon as they’re made public, follow me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza
Sam Steel – The 21-year-old is travelling with the team as he recovers from a mid-body injury. The Ducks have three games left in their road trip, which takes them through Pittsburgh on Thursday, Columbus on Friday, and Boston on Monday. The fact that he’s travelling with the team makes me think he’s expected to return in one of those three games, but we’ll see what happens. He has been skating and should be in shape to return whenever this injury becomes less of an issue. Anaheim has no reason to rush him back into the lineup as they’re off to an impressive 3-0 start to the 2019-2020 campaign.
Lawson Crouse – The Coyotes forward is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. New season, same old vague injury updates! I’m not too familiar with Crouse so I referenced our fantasy guide and learned that the 22-year-old is projected to be a very effective power forward – especially once he gets more ice time. Crouse managed an impressive 288 hits last season despite see just 13 minutes of action each night. Speaking of Dobber’s fantasy guide, I can’t stress enough how useful it is. Pick up your copy here!
Antti Raanta – A lower-body injury prevented him from starting the season with the Coyotes. Raanta had a rehab stint in the AHL where he registered a shutout in his one game with the Tucson Roadrunners. He has a .925 SV% and 2.37 GAA through 59 games in Arizona and is a top fantasy goalie when healthy – let’s hope that’s the case this year. Darcy Kuemper is more than capable of taking over for Raanta, so don’t be surprised to see a timeshare in Arizona’s net this season.
Tuukka Rask – Had to be helped off the ice by teammates after Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the Golden Knights. Coach, Bruce Cassidy said Rask either pulled a muscle or got dehydrated, but it isn’t expected to be anything serious.
Conor Sheary – The Sabres forward was off to a strong start with three points in his first three games of the season, but will be out on a week-to-week basis with an upper-body injury. Sheary had 53 points in 61 games with the Penguins back in 2016-2017, but no longer has the luxury of playing with Sidney Crosby. Buffalo will need depth scoring from guys like Sheary if they’re going to make the playoffs this year.
Brandon Montour – Still another two to three weeks before he returns from a hand injury. Buffalo’s blueline has looked pretty good through their first three games of the season, so I’m curious to see if it takes another step forward once Montour returns.
Kirby Dach – The third overall pick of this year’s draft probably won’t make his NHL debut on Thursday against the Sharks as he’s still getting in shape for regular-season action. Dach suffered a concussion during preseason play and wasn’t able to prepare for the 2019-2020 campaign as much as the rest of the league. The good news is that he’s healthy and just needs to get in a little more practice before he plays his first game as a Blackhawk.
Josh Anderson – Missed Monday’s game against the Sabres with an upper-body injury and is currently listed as day-to-day. Anderson should continue to provide multicategory coverage when healthy as he registered 230 shots and 214 hits last year.
Corey Perry – Has skated twice this week since fracturing his foot in early September. Perry will be re-evaluated on Thursday, after which we should have a more concrete timetable for his return. When he does get back into the lineup, keep an eye on his deployment to get a better idea of his fantasy value going forward. If he does manage to slot into the top-six, he could provide some sneaky production in deeper leagues.
Adam Larsson – Will miss the next five to seven weeks as he recovers from a fractured fibula. While Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse remain the best fantasy options on Edmonton’s blueline, keep an eye out to see how guys like Ethan Bear and Joel Persson play in Larsson’s absence.
Nolan Patrick – The 21-year-old forward will be out on a week-to-week basis as he deals with a migraine disorder. Fortunately, doctors believe that with proper treatment the disorder can be kept under control.
Alex Galchenyuk – Had been dealing with a lower-body injury recently and it sounds like the team has decided to keep him out of the lineup on a day-to-day basis. A lot of people were expecting big things from Galchenyuk this year considering the offensive talent that surrounds him in Pittsburgh, but we’re going to have to wait until the roster is healthy to see if those high expectations are met.
Patric Hornqvist – Is day-to-day with a lower-body injury that he appeared to suffer when he was hit with a shot against the Jets on Tuesday. He wasn’t seen wearing a walking boot or anything like that, so hopefully, he won’t be out for too long.
Evgeni Malkin – Suffered a soft tissue injury to his leg when he went into the board awkwardly during Saturday’s game against the Blue Jackets. He’s expected to miss at least a month of action as a result. With all the injured Penguins, Pittsburgh’s second line now features Dominik Kahun, Jared McCann and Brandon Tanev. It looks like Dominik Simon will feature on the top power-play unit alongside Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, Kris Letang and Justin Schultz. I would wait a couple of games to see how those lines are shuffled before making any waiver wire additions.
Robert Thomas – Has been practicing and feeling better but won’t play against the Senators on Thursday. He’s coming off an impressive rookie campaign where he registered 33 points in 70 games despite seeing just 13 minutes of action a night.
Brayden Point – Has been practicing on the team’s top line with Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos, so there’s a good chance he’s in the lineup on Thursday against the Leafs. It would be Point’s season debut as he missed the beginning of the season recovering from offseason hip surgery.
Nate Schmidt – Is week-to-week with a lower-body injury that he suffered in Vegas’ season opener against the Sharks. He sustained the injury in the first period after a knee-on-knee collision with Logan Couture. Schmidt is an underrated defenseman who is capable of putting up a point every two games.
Bryan Little – Has been progressing well from a concussion but it’s always difficult to pinpoint exactly when a player is going to return from one of those. Patrik Laine – who should play on Little’s wing when he’s healthy – is off to a great start this season with six points in four games.
Josh Morrissey – Was originally expected to play against the Penguins on Tuesday but ended up sitting out for precautionary reasons. He suffered an upper-body injury during pre-game warm before Sunday’s clash with the Islanders and has been sidelined since. He has practiced and the injury doesn’t sound too serious. Expect Morrissey to return to the lineup on Thursday when Winnipeg hosts the Wild.
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