Injuries to key players are beginning to pile up.
Here’s this week’s latest in the injury world! If you don’t see a certain player below (ahem Corey Crawford), there probably haven’t been any major developments in their progress. Once there is a significant update, I’ll be sure to have it for you on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza!
The Big Guns (>75% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Patrice Bergeron – The Bruins’ captain will miss at least the next two weeks with a fractured right foot, after which time he will be reevaluated. Apparently, initial x-rays revealed no major issues so Bergeron didn’t sit out against the Sabres on Sunday. Following that game against Buffalo, more detailed scans were conducted and the fracture was observed. Bergeron has hit another level offensively this season, his 27 goals in 55 games put him on pace to score 40 over a full season. Riley Nash seems to be the beneficiary in Bergeron’s absence, as he was promoted to the top line between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak on Tuesday, and had two points to show for it. Nash (not Rick!) is currently owned in just 4% of Yahoo! leagues, and could provide some sneaky value for your playoff stretch. I’d recommend following me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza, so you can find out exactly how much time Bergeron will miss following the reevaluation.
Nikita Kucherov – First off, stop panicking. Everything’s going to be alright. The NHL’s leading scorer left Monday’s game against the Leafs with an upper-body injury, but reports indicate it isn’t anything serious – nothing’s broken and he doesn’t have a concussion. In fact, there’s a strong possibility he’s feeling well enough to face the Sabres on Wednesday, but an evaluation in the morning will determine that. To find out whether or not the injury will cause Kucherov to miss time, follow me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza.
Auston Matthews – Shoulder separation has the Leafs’ forward officially listed as day-to-day. However, Nick Kypreos revealed that this type of injury typically requires two to four weeks of recovery. The recent acquisition of Tomas Plekanec and a huge cushion in playoff standings mean there is no reason to rush Matthews’ return. You should know the drill by now. Follow me @BrennanDeSouza, so you can follow Auston’s recovery.
Carey Price – The Canadiens’ goaltender is out indefinitely with a concussion. I personally just dropped him in a one-year league because I don’t expect him back this season. Next season he’ll be 31 and signed under a mammoth contract, so why risk his health now? In my opinion, it would be foolish to bring him back in 2017-2018 when the team has virtually no chance of making the playoffs. In the unlikely event Price does return, I honestly don’t have very much faith in him behind a very shaky defense core. I’m as surprised as you that the former Hart trophy-winner has a 2.98 GAA and .904 SV% through 43 games this year.
Jack Eichel – Is no longer wearing a protective boot, but there are still no guarantees on when he will return. We’re just over two weeks into the original four to six week-timetable, but again that timetable is far from set in stone. The way I see it, the Sabres have no reason to rush Eichel back this season. We’re talking about a 21-year-old superstar who the team wants to build around, a centerpiece for years to come. Why make him play meaningless hockey now and risk further injury that could jeopardize his career going forward? If I were a betting man I’d wager that Eichel has played his last game of the 2017-2018 season.
Mike Smith – Really no major updates in his recovery as I couldn’t find any reports of him skating or practicing recently. A lot of people are inferring that because the Flames didn’t trade for a goalie at the deadline, Smith will be back soon. I’m not sure if that’s a valid conclusion. There are so many details we don’t know surrounding the goalie market. Who exactly was available? What was the asking price? Perhaps GM Brad Treliving simply wasn’t willing to pay a high price for what was available, and decided against mortgaging the future. The main message from Calgary is that they don’t know when Smith will be back, but are hoping it’s sooner rather than later. Jon Gillies has been very good recently, allowing just five goals over the span of three games.
Shea Weber – The Canadiens’ defenseman will miss the rest of the season as he undergoes surgery to repair a tendon in his foot. According to the team’s medical staff, while it was originally believed Weber would be return this year, his progression wasn’t satisfactory. They expect him to make a full recovery in time for the 2018-2019 campaign. As a Habs’ fan it’s almost embarrassing to see how this team handles injuries. I mean the initial injury occurred on opening night for goodness sake!
John Gibson – Coach Randy Carlyle expects Gibson to skate sometime this week. If everything goes according to plan, Gibson should be available to play in Anaheim’s next game – Friday night against the Blue Jackets. Aside from one poor performance against the Oilers, Ryan Miller has been excellent in Gibson’s absence, sporting a .957 SV% over four appearances.
James Neal – Missed the second half of a home-and-home with the Kings after making contact with Jake Muzzin in the first half. The exact nature and severity of the injury isn’t apparent yet, but expect an update soon.
Matt Murray – Is out with a concussion after being hit with a puck in practice. While Murray’s .909 SV% and 2.82 GAA aren’t very impressive, the team in front of him always means he always has a chance to win. While I assume Tristan Jarry takes over starting duties in Murray’s absence, Casey DeSmith might make a case for himself.
The Second Liners (40%-75% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Tyler Johnson – Should be considered day-to-day after his ankle was stepped on, Monday against the Leafs. At first, he couldn’t put any pressure on his leg, but he was able to finish the game thanks to adrenaline. The team will see how he feels Wednesday morning and hopefully provide us with an update.
Mike Green – I was honestly surprised Green wasn’t moved at the deadline, but it appears his neck injury lessened his trade value. Coach Jeff Blashill said Green is very close to a return and should be considered day-to-day.
The Depth Guys (10%-40% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Joe Thornton – Sharks’ GM Doug Wilson expects Thornton to return this season, but is reluctant to put a timetable on that return. Thornton has been working extremely hard and plans to resume skating in the coming weeks.
Micheal Ferland – Looks like he will miss a third-straight game on Wednesday with an upper-body injury. It’s not expected to be too serious and he seems close to skating, consider him day-to-day for now.
Josh Anderson – Out four weeks with a knee sprain. Fortunately, the Jackets just traded for Thomas Vanek who now sits second in team scoring behind only Artemi Panarin. Does Anderson’s injury mean a bigger role for Vanek, or will they use him as a power-play specialist?
Richard Panik – While he missed Arizona’s past two games with a knee injury, he has since been a full participant in practice. Coach Rick Tocchet believes Panik is in playing shape, so expect to see him return to the lineup Thursday agains the Wild.
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