NHL Injury updates: McDavid's hiatus comes to an end. Also, updates on Pacioretty, Carlson, Schwartz, Kunitz, Fowler and others…
As we approach the All-Star Break, let’s take a look at players who’ll need the time off and find out who’s due for a return.
The Big Guns (>80% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Connor McDavid – Connor McDavid has missed his last game! The generational talent will return to the lineup after the All-Star Break as the Oilers face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets on February 2. He will have missed a total of three months because of a broken clavicle.
Max Pacioretty – Pacioretty is day-to-day with a face/head injury. He took a nasty PK Subban slapshot to the face and immediately left the game. The Habs might provide updates on the injury either today or tomorrow, so watch for those.
Rick Nash – Rangers Head Coach Alain Vigneault thought Nash could return for Monday’s game versus Buffalo, but it was not to be. Check in on the star forward’s progress after the Break. He has 33 points in 45 games this year.
Kyle Turris – Turris is out with a lower-body injury. Missing Tuesday’s game meant ending a 307-game ironman streak, so you can bet whatever was ailing him was serious. Thankfully the Break will give him time to heal up.
Carey Price – Carey Price suffered a setback this week to his lower-body injury that will keep him out at least another 3-4 weeks. At the end of that, if Montreal isn’t in the playoff picture, he might be held out for the rest of the season as a precaution.
John Carlson – Carlson is participating fully in practice and could return to game action later tonight as the Caps host the Flyers. He’s had a pretty serious lower-body injury keep him out since December 26.
David Krejci – Krejci returned to the Bruins’ lineup on the 21. In the four games since, he’s put up three points and is rolling over 20 minutes a night. Feel free to start playing him, as he’ll get plenty of time on the power-play.
Aaron Ekblad – The Panthers are sure glad to have Ekblad back in their lineup. They’re won all three games since his return with a combined score of 14-3! In the last 15 games Ekblad has played, the Panthers are a sterling 15-0-0.
Henrik Sedin – Henrik is another player due back after the All-Star Break. Vancouver hasn’t talked about what kind of injury he’s got, but it’s upper-body for sure. Jannik Hansen has found his way onto the top line with Daniel Sedin in Henrik’s absence. He scored a hatty on the Pens over the weekend too, so if you’ve got space for a waiver-wire pickup…
Sergei Bobrovsky – Bobrovsky’ll miss some time with a groin injury. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. At this point, just cut and run, fantasy owners. There’s not a lot to look forward to from Columbus, least of all their injury-plagued goalie.
Jake Allen – Allen can take his own sweet time returning to the Blues’ net. His knee injury is turning out to be the chance that his partner Brian Elliott needed. Elliott is a fantastic Allen-replacement, starting seven straight games and rocking a 0.941 save percentage and 1.94 GAA. The Blues have not updated Allen’s status, so it remains week-to-week.
The Second Liners (50%-80% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
James van Riemsdyk – I’m not sure why it’s taken this long, but the Maple Leafs have placed JVR on the long-term injured reserve. It buys them a bunch of cap space and he’s still slated to be out around 4-8 weeks, so they could’ve done this two weeks ago. Toronto’s 1-5-2 without him, so they’ll need him back soon if they’re to continue their time-honoured tradition of bad-but-not-bad-enough-for-a-high-pick.
Nick Foligno – The Jackets activated Foligno on January 22nd. He’s played three games so far, although his TOI in his last one was dangerously low. He was smoldering hot in the games before his injury, but was also getting tremendous ice time. Have we found Tortorella’s new whipping boy?
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Nugent-Hopkins still has near two months left on his scheduled recovery. He suffered a hand fracture blocking a shot on the penalty kill. Is that any way to ensure the safety of one of your star players, I ask you?
Mark Scheifele – Scheifele was activated from the IR yesterday, but it was Ehlers who turned it up to eleven, scoring a hat trick against Arizona.
Erik Johnson – The hulking Colorado defenseman returned to the lineup on Saturday versus Dallas. If his knee injury still bothered him, Head Coach Patrick Roy gave no quarter; he played almost 24 minutes. He was one of very few Avalanche players to put up a point last night when the Sharks shellacked them.
The Depth Guys (20%-50% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Chris Kunitz – Kunitz has a lower-body injury and has been on game-time-decision status lately. The Pens are done playing their pre-All-Star break games so Kunitz will likely be good to go when they resume.
Cam Fowler – Fowler joined the Ducks on their three-game road trip, hoping to join them in some game action along the way. Unfortunately, it would not be so. However, take it as a good sign that he’s practically ready to go. The Ducks don’t play again until after the break, when they host the rival Sharks. He’ll likely make an appearance then.
Ondrej Pavelec – Head Coach Paul Maurice is gradually intensifying Pavelec’s practises. Maurice says “it’s not a one-day event for a goalie”, and I concur. Look at Bobrovsky or Price for what happens when you try and force it. He will return from his knee injury soon though.
Mike Smith – Smith is still in recover from abdominal surgery. He’s expected to be out until at least mid-February. He’s been skating on his own and could return to full practise in the days following the break.
The Mr. Irrelevants (<20% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Sean Couturier – Couturier has a lower-body injury and will remain day-to-day. The Flyers suffered their first loss to the rival Penguins in 827 days and could’ve used his help to keep their streak going.
Travis Hamonic – Hamonic made his return to the lineup on Friday and scored the game-winner and put up an assist to boot. Here’s a perfect foil to Jonathan Drouin, a player who wants out of their team but recognizes the reality of trading in the NHL and hasn’t put his GM in a position of weakness during negotiations.
Reto Berra – Berra’s been out with an injured ankle. Though he’ll be back soon, the injury, coupled with the absence of Varlamov, forced the Avs to pull third-string goalie Calvin Pickard for fourth-string goalie Roman Will.
As always, thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter for more frequent injury updates and general hockey-related tomfoolery! @AjayDaCosta, in case that address bar is too far away.
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