For the latest line combinations and injury updates, follow me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza! Here are this week’s updates from around the league…
Hampus Lindholm – Missed Sunday’s game against the Avalanche with a lower-body injury. I haven’t been able to find anything else in terms of timetable and the severity of the injury. Hopefully, we get some more information in the coming days.
Cam Fowler – Had surgery to repair fractures to his orbital bone, cheekbone, and upper jaw bone. While the team hasn’t released an official timeline just yet, I’ll remind you that last season, Ryan Getzlaf needed six weeks to recover from a cheekbone fracture (which also required surgery). It looks like Brandon Montour will take on a bigger role with both Lindholm and Fowler injured.
Antti Raanta – Practiced with teammates on Tuesday morning, but it doesn’t look like he’ll start against the Golden Knights on Wednesday. I expect he’ll be available on Friday when Arizona faces Colorado, but whether or not he starts is a different matter. While Darcy Kuemper has had a few bad starts this season, his 2.70 GAA and .917 SV% are actually pretty good!
Zdeno Chara – Suffered an MCL injury against the Avalanche last Wednesday, and is expected to be out for a month as a result. I know a 41-year-old Chara isn’t as effective as he used to be, but I’d definitely be concerned for both Jaroslav Halak and Tuukka Rask as key injuries to Boston’s best defensive players start to pile up. Just something to keep an eye on.
Patrice Bergeron – The Bruins’ forward suffered a rib and sternoclavicular (base of the neck where the collarbone meets the breastbone) injury and will be re-evaluated in about a month. Bergeron had 19 points in 26 games prior to the injury, and his absence will obviously break up one of the league’s best lines. It appears David Pastrnak will now play with David Krejci and Anders Bjork, while Brad Marchand will skate with Joakim Nordstrom and Jake DeBrusk. If you’re looking for someone to ‘replace’ Bergeron, Krejci will probably take on a much bigger role. However, Bergeron is an extremely special player that you just can’t replace. He has such a huge impact at both ends of the ice, and the team is going to need big contributions from their whole roster over the next month.
Charlie McAvoy – While he won’t play on Wednesday night, his status for Friday against the Penguins and Saturday against the Bruins is “questionable”. It’s encouraging to see he hasn’t been ruled out of those games already, especially since he’s now practising with the team. While this is all very encouraging news, keep in mind he’s recovering from a concussion, so it’s difficult to pinpoint when exactly he’ll be back.
Victor Rask – Was a full participant in Tuesday’s practice, which means his return is just around the corner. He has been medically cleared, so expect him to see him in the lineup within the next few games. Honestly. I’m most interested to see whether Rask’s return pushes Sebastian Aho back to the wing.
Alex Goligoski – Will be a game-time decision on Wednesday.
Ben Bishop – Will miss about a week with what seems to be a lower-body muscle strain. Anton Khudobin has been a great back-up this season, with a 2.37 GAA and .925 SV%. Unfortunately, Dallas faces some potent offences over the next week, including Pittsburgh, Ottawa, and Colorado. So, I’m not sure if you want to jump on Khudobin unless you’re really desperate for goalie help.
John Klingberg – Will be out for at least five to six more weeks as he recovers from hand surgery. There seems to be some uncertainty surrounding Klingberg’s timetable, so don’t be surprised if he needs more than six weeks off before he returns. I know I endorsed Miro Heiskanen as Klingberg’s replacement, but it appears Esa Lindell is now on the top power-play. Lindell has three points in his last two games, but I’m still not convinced he’ll stay on the first unit for the duration of Klingberg’s absence. I think Heiskanen will get another chance.
Thomas Vanek – Will “probably” be in the lineup on Wednesday when Detroit faces Boston.
Vincent Trocheck – Suffered a scary injury against the Senators which required surgery to repair “significant damage” to his leg. We don’t know exactly how long he’ll be out, but I’d expect his absence to be measured in months, not weeks.
Jonathan Quick – Has been taking part in a few intense drills, and there’s a chance he starts practising on Wednesday or Friday. As bad as the Kings have been this season, rookie Cal Petersen has been incredible in three starts, sporting a 1.64 GAA and .951 SV%. I’d like to see how he handles the Gabriel Landeskog – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen on Wednesday, before adding him to my own roster. I definitely like Saturday’s matchup against the Canucks for Petersen.
Paul Byron – Has been skating, but won’t face the Devils or Sabres this week. I wouldn’t expect him to face the Bruins on Saturday either. I’ll probably have another update for you next week before he actually returns to the lineup.
Shea Weber – Hasn’t yet been cleared for contact but has been putting in a lot of work on the ice. I’d expect him to return to the lineup within a week or two. Expect Montreal’s power-play to improve once Weber returns, his cannon from the point is something the Habs have been missing.
P.K. Subban – I understand that GMs don’t want to reveal too much about certain injuries because it might cause the rest of the league to target their player in a certain area. But boy is it frustrating when the best update we get on one of the league’s best defenseman is, “I think we’re making progress. It could be a little while longer. Not totally sure of the situation. I hope it’s not going to be too much longer.” That’s all Predators’ GM David Poile has given us for now, let’s hope for more information in the coming days.
Viktor Arvidsson – Out six to eight weeks with a broken thumb. It looks like Craig Smith will take Arvidsson’s spot on the top line alongside Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg for now. I wouldn’t rush to pick Smith up just yet, I don’t think he’ll hold onto this spot for the entirety of Arvidsson’s absence.
Sami Vatanen – Skated by himself on Tuesday morning, but didn’t participate in practice. As a result, I wouldn’t expect him to be in the lineup against Montreal. His status should be day-to-day going forward.
Nico Hischier – Will play against Montreal on Wednesday night.
Mats Zuccarello – A groin injury will keep him out against the Islanders on Wednesday night. He hasn’t been practising, but the injury doesn’t appear to be anything too serious.
Brian Elliot – Will miss the next two weeks with a lower-body injury. The injury came at an extremely unfortunate time, as Elliot’s had a .944 SV% and 1.55 GAA in his last seven games.
Sidney Crosby – Was a full participant in Tuesday’s practice and looks extremely close to a return, but his status officially remains day-to-day. With that being said, he was skating on the top power-play unit in practice and took line rushes with Jake Guentzel and Patric Hornqvist. Usually, a player doesn’t get that involved in a practice unless they’re about to return. Don’t be surprised if he plays against the Stars on Wednesday.
Patrick Maroon – Has been skating as he continues to recover from an upper-body injury, hopes to return soon.
Jaden Schwartz – Will miss the next three games (Wednesday against the Predators, Friday against the Predators, and Saturday against the Jets) with an upper-body injury, after which he will be re-evaluated.
Alexander Steen – Day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Andrei Vasilevskiy – Fractured his foot in practice, and will miss the next four to six weeks of action as a result. There’s definitely a huge drop-off in talent between Vasilevskiy and interim starter Louis Domingue, but playing behind a strong Tampa team should help Domingue put up some wins over the next few weeks.
Auston Matthews – Next week would mark four weeks since Matthews suffered his shoulder injury, but don’t expect him to return right at that four-week mark. At this point, the team is just taking it day by day and monitoring how he feels. He doesn’t think his shot is as strong and accurate as it was before the injury, so there is progress to be made.
Brock Boeser – Has been skating, but it doesn’t look like his week-to-week status has been lifted. I expect to have a more detailed update for you next week.
Alexander Edler – Skated on Monday morning and is currently with the team as they begin their California road trip on Wednesday against the Ducks. He hasn’t been ruled out for the trip, so there is a chance he makes his return against San Jose on Friday or Los Angeles on Saturday. A more realistic timetable would see him return during the team’s five-game homestand following the road trip.
Evgeny Kuznetsov – I’m going to go ahead and copy/paste Oshie’s update in here because Kuznetsov’s status seems to be the exact same as Oshie’s right now. Let’s see how many of you notice. Hasn’t been skating and is officially day-to-day. Don’t expect him to play against the Blackhawks on Wednesday. Likely dealing with a concussion.
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