Mark Scheifele may return as early as Friday.
The Big Guns (>75% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Nathan MacKinnon – It’s been about a week since MacKinnon went down with a shoulder injury, and he’s already skating. Obviously, you don’t need your shoulder to skate, but it allows him to maintain his physical shape, so he can return to action as soon as the shoulder has healed. The timetable hasn’t changed at all, so it’s going to be at least another week (three at the most).
Corey Crawford – While it’s promising that he’s been skating the past few days, there’s still no timetable for his return. Coach Joel Quenneville mentioned that once Crawford practices with the team his return will soon follow, but he’s still days away from practicing. The team wants him to be 100% before returning, so hopefully we won’t see any more of this injury in the future.
Shea Weber – He’s out of the protective boot and working out off-ice, but hasn’t resumed skating just yet. In Weber’s long absence, Jeff Petry has had stretches of dominance interrupted by some glaring defensive errors. All things considered, Petry has done an admirable job of filling in for Weber, but it’s hard to promote his long-term value on the offensively challenged Canadiens. While he does have six points in his last five games, don’t expect that kind of production going forward.
Mark Stone – The Senators’ leading scorer (44 points in 44 games) has missed eight games while waiting for swelling in his knee to go down. He wasn’t expected to miss this much time when the injury was originally reported, but the fact that he’s skating is encouraging. Expect him to be back very soon.
Cory Schneider – The Devils goaltender hasn’t skated since Thursday (February 1), but has been working out off-ice. Coach John Hynes expects Schneider to practice late this week or early next week, so I’d anticipate it’s at least another week before he actually returns to action. Keith Kinkaid has gone 3-1 since the injury, but it’s hard to have confidence in him when he allows four to the Senators (who were without Bobby Ryan and Mark Stone).
Mark Scheifele – There’s a good chance he returns to the lineup on Friday when the Jets take on the Blues. Blake Wheeler played extremely well at center while Scheifele was out, and the team continued its winning ways. Scheifele and Wheeler have some great chemistry together so I’d expect Wheeler to move back to Scheiefele’s wing. Coach Paul Maurice has the final say of course, so follow me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza to see how the lines look with Scheifele back.
John Gibson – Has been skating and working out since suffering an injury on January 30. Don’t read too much into the fact that he was placed on injured reserve, as he’s eligible to return for the team’s next game (Friday against the Oilers). The Ducks were just swept on their tour of Atlantic Canada, surrendering 14 goals in those three games. While Ryan Miller has been a serviceable backup overall, this particular stretch hasn’t been kind to him.
Frederik Andersen – There’s some uncertainty surrounding Andersen’s status for Wednesday’s game after Corey Perry made contact with him on Monday. Coach Mike Babcock expects him to be available, but he hasn’t consulted doctors just yet.
The Second Liners (40%-75% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Mikko Rantanen – The Avalanche forward missed Tuesday’s game against the Sharks because he was ‘banged up’. The injury doesn’t appear to be too serious considering he was ruled out right before puck drop. Had the injury been more severe, the team probably would have announced his status the day before. While Nathan MacKinnon has been receiving all the praise in Colorado, Rantanen has quietly totaled 50 points in 51 games this season. It’s starting to become clear why the Avalanche drafted him tenth overall in 2015.
Jeff Carter – Still too early to talk about a return, but he continues to skate and make encouraging progress. It’s important to realize that Carter has missed 46 games this season, so he can’t just come back when the injury has healed, his conditioning needs to be at a high level. The next major update will be when he returns to practice.
Kevin Shattenkirk – While he is still on crutches, the Rangers’ defenseman has begun upper-body work after surgery on his torn meniscus. It’s always encouraging to see the progress, but he’s still very far from a return.
Joe Thornton – There’s no guarantee that Thornton returns this season after undergoing knee surgery. The 38-year-old continues to spit in the face of age-related decline as he was on pace for 62 points before the injury. Unfortunately, as players get older they don’t heal as easily, which doesn’t bode well for Thornton following a major surgery.
The Depth Guys (10%-40% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Conor Sheary – Out week-to-week with a lower body injury. After making a name for himself last season with 53 points in 61 games, Sheary has disappointed owners with just 19 points in 52 games this season.
Roberto Luongo – The Panthers’ goaltender has been taking shots from teammates (not with teammates – that would be unprofessional). The hope is that Luongo participates in a full practice this week, which would signal a return shortly after. Harri Sateri has been fantastic since his early struggles, currently riding a four-game winning streak in which he has allowed just six goals on 120 shots (.950 SV%).
Bobby Ryan – The Ottawa Senators’ forward has ligament damage which will keep him out for three weeks. Given Ryan’s injury history, I’m pretty sure you can guess where that “ligament damage” occurred. Hopefully Ryan can get a fresh start next season, and leave this injury-riddled campaign in the past.
The Mr. Irrelevants (<10% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Follow me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza for the latest injury updates!
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