Injury updates with fantasy implications
This week we have a few updates on residents of the Dobber Injury Ward, as well as a few new visitors. You’ll notice more big-name goaltenders on this list than usual, which is why I stress the importance of following me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza so you can be the first to see which backup to pick up.
The Big Guns (>75% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Henrik Lundqvist – As hockey players age, their bodies become less resilient to the wear and tear of the sport. Bones are fractured, muscles are pulled, groins are torn. Now getting up there at 35 years of age, old King Henrik is out with the flu. Sorry for the unnecessary build up, illnesses can be boring to write about.
Ryan Getzlaf – The Ducks’ captain has been skating every day, and is on track to return before teammate Ryan Kesler. While the addition of Adam Henrique has provided some relief down the middle, the Ducks have understandably had some trouble scoring goals this season, averaging 2.59 goals for per game (fourth-worst in the league). Coach Randy Carlyle expects Getzlaf to join the team for its next road trip before Christmas (December 14 to December 23), so let’s hope he’s on Santa’s nice list.
Corey Crawford – A nagging lower-body injury will keep the Blackhawks’ goaltender out until at least Friday, when he will be eligible to play against the Sabres. The team expects him to try skating again on Wednesday, and how he feels should give us an idea of when he’ll be back. With goalies dropping like flies recently, it would be wise to follow me on Twitter so you can be the first to scoop those backups. Speaking of backups, Anton Forsberg has performed well in Crawford’s absence, allowing just three goals in two starts (despite losing both contests).
Cam Talbot – The Oilers’ goaltender has another week left in the original two-week timetable, but it could be longer. He’s had an awful start to the season (3.00 GAA and .903 SV%), and hopefully this time allows the “Carey Price” effect to take place. Jobs are on the line in Edmonton as the team’s 11-14-2 record is hard to swallow with a talent like Connor McDavid on the roster. In Talbot’s absence, Laurent Brossoit has disappointed, allowing five goals in back-to-back games.
Jonathan Drouin – A lower-body injury has caused the Canadiens’ forward to miss the last three games. While he was supposed to skate on Tuesday, he came down with a virus and was sent home instead. While Drouin is supposed to be the main source of offense on an offensively challenged team, Montreal has managed 19 goals in his absence. With their recent string of wins, there’s less pressure to rush Drouin back into the lineup.
Ryan Johansen – The Predators’ forward is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. While Johansen didn’t seem to have any visible signs of injury after the game, the team hasn’t been very forthcoming with injury details this season. They called Nick Bonino “day-to-day” for a month. So, plan for the worst and hope for the best!
Matt Murray – Has been skating on his own (without pads), so still a few steps to take before he returns to the lineup. In his absence, Tristan Jarry allowed one goal in back-to-back starts against the lowly Sabres before surrendering four to the Rangers on Tuesday night. With how hot the Islanders offense has been this season, I don’t know how confident I would be in starting Jarry against them on Thursday.
The Second Liners (40%-75% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Jeff Carter – Although some were expecting a six- to eight-week absence for Carter to recover from surgery (to repair a cut in his leg), it might be a bit longer. As of right now, Carter is not close to skating and the team feels it’s still too early to put a firm timetable on his return.
Justin Schultz – As I write this, the Penguins have announced Schultz is out with a lower-body injury. It seems a collision in Tuesday’s game against the Rangers caused his leg to bend awkwardly, but we’ll find out more as he is evaluated.
Andre Burakovsky – could be back as early as next week after breaking his thumb weeks ago. I never have high hopes for players coming off a serious hand injury like this because it’s harder to get shoot and pass with the same power and precision right away. Johnny Gaudreau, Bobby Ryan, and Brendan Gallagher are all examples of players that saw their production suffer after a hand injury.
Mika Zibanejad – As Larry Brooks has so adequately expressed, “measuring progress in recovering from a concussion is an inexact science where one step forward can immediately be followed by two steps back.” At this point, the Rangers are monitoring his status daily, seeing if he can take the next step in returning to the lineup. While he has been exercising off the ice, that doesn’t tell us much about when he’ll be back. David Desharnais has benefited from Zibanejad’s absence, registering five points in his last three games.
Jared Spurgeon – The Wild defenseman has another week left in the two-week recovery from a groin strain. He was having a great season with 15 points in 23 games, but this provides an opportunity for Matt Dumba who has 3 points in 3 games since Spurgeon’s injury.
Roberto Luongo – The Panthers goaltender seemed to suffer a groin injury in Monday’s game against the Islanders. It’s never a good sign when a goalie is helped off the ice like that, so chances are this is going to keep him out long term. While I write this, there’s no word on an exact timetable, but it should be coming very soon (if it’s not out already). Despite a sparkling .928 SV% in 15 games this season, age (38) starts to become a worry when injury strikes.
Ryan Kesler – Ryan Getzlaf’s return should act as an indicator for when Kesler is ready for action. While Getzlaf will return before Kesler, they will both travel with the team during their next road trip (December 14 to December 23). Expect John Gibson’s stock to rise when he has the great two-way abilities of Ryan Kesler working for him again.
The Depth Guys (10%-40% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Zach Parise – The good news is that this was really just a leg injury and has no relation to previous issues with his back. While he is no longer feeling pain in his leg after a herniated disk pressed on a nerve in there, we still don’t have a timetable for his return.
Mikael Backlund- An illness was very close to keeping the Flames’ center out of the lineup on Monday night, and while he is travelling to Toronto, there is a chance he doesn’t play Wednesday against the Leafs. Keep an eye out for updates before puck drop.
David Perron – While he did seem ready to go after Tuesday’s practice, he wasn’t in the lineup against the Ducks. Perhaps the team didn’t want the injury-plagued Ducks to rub off on him and cause any reaggravation. Whatever the case, it seems likely he returns Friday against Nashville.
Hampus Lindholm – The Ducks’ defenseman missed Tuesday night’s game against the Golden Knights with an upper-body injury. Coach Randy Carlyle said he doesn’t expect it to be a long-term issue, and hopes it will settle down in the next couple of days.
Adam Larsson – The Oilers’ defenseman will miss Wednesday’s game against the Flyers and could be out for the next few games. While there’s no definite timetable available, I should mention he participated in warm-up before Edmonton faced Toronto (November 30), but didn’t play in that game and has been out since.
The Mr. Irrelevants (<10% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
- Ramblings: Tentpole Defensemen (Mar 16)
- Ramblings: Evander Kane Pops Four; Kuznetsov Injured; Forsberg Friday - March 17
- Ramblings: Second-Half Sam, Kicking the Tires on Kinkaid (Mar 18)
- Mikkel Boedker and the Sharks Have a Potent Week Ahead
- Desert Dogs
- The Journey: Undrafted College Players to Watch
- Saturday's NHL Game Picks - March 17
- Geek of the Week: Is Mikko Rantanen the Real Deal in Multicategory Leagues?