NHL injury updates on Malkin, Price, Nash, Schwartz, Barkov, Couturier, Bozak and others…
We’re winding down towards trade deadline day, where players will start getting sat while their names are tossed around in trade talks. Don’t wanna damage the merchandise, after all. Others, like Johnny Gaudreau, Lance Bouma, and Sean Monahan, are busy getting healthy scratched for disciplinary reasons. Who’s got the serious ouchies around the league?
The Big Guns (>80% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Evgeni Malkin – Malkin will be out for the rest of the week with a lower-body injury. He was just slated to miss the weekend, but I guess the injury is bad enough to warrant the extra time off. Not to worry, both Sidney Crosby and Geno always seem to turn it up to eleven when the other is out of the lineup with an injury. Boy, is he doin’ it too – 22 points in the last eleven games for Sid the Kid. Think he catches Patrick Kane?
Rick Nash – Nash has missed five games with a deep bone bruise, and still has no schedule for a return. In his absence, first-round pick J.T. Miller has been on a tear lately. Miller was a top scorer for Team USA during his stint in the 2013 World Juniors, so it must be nice for Ranger fans to see some of that talent finally actualize. Even more so in the face (pun intended) of the recent injury to Ryan McDonaugh. More on that in a moment.
Carey Price – Carey Price is progressing towards a return from a lower-body injury, which at this point is suspected MCL strain. Knee injuries are in a group with concussions and pulled groins in how badly they can affect a player’s career; they’re easily re-aggravated, can keep a player out for a long time, and never really go away. That being said, Price is relatively close to a return. He just resumed skating, albeit not in pads. Might only be out for another week or two.
Henrik Sedin – Henrik returned to the Canucks, but hasn’t looked like he’s at 100% yet. He’s been missing some great chances and wasn’t great in the faceoff circle. The Canucks controlled 56% of the shot attempts while he was on the ice, but it doesn’t count for much if you can’t put those chances home.
Ryan McDonagh – Wayne Simmonds gave the Rangers’ captain a concussion for Valentine’s Day, covered in romantic knuckle-sandwich wrapping with “SUCKER” written on the tag. The Rangers haven’t commented on a timetable for his return.
Artemi Panarin – Breadman missed yesterday’s game versus the Sharks with an illness. The Hawks rallied by putting a goose egg on the scoreboard. Did no one told them it should be the OTHER team that they should shut out? He’ll be back soon, so maybe it won’t be an issue.
Jason Spezza – Spezza’s upper-body injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Stars’ offence, once as revved up and hot as a redlining V8, is now sputtering and looks like it needs an oil change or whatever fits this dumb metaphor. Tyler Seguin’s got just eight points in his last 15 games and Jamie Benn has just nine. They need Spezza back if they want to keep their fantastic season going strong.
Alex Pietrangelo – Pietrangelo’s knee-on-knee collision with Minnesota forward Charlie Coyle will leave him on the injured reserve for three weeks. He’ll then be evaluated, so it could be even longer. The real impact here will hit rookie Colton Parayko. Similar to the beginning of the year, when Shattenkirk was out, Petro’s absence leaves a lot of empty minutes. Most of them will be tough to play, so don’t expect Parayko there. Instead, see if Shattenkirk gets them. That’ll be your cue that the easy minutes are once again available for Parayko.
Jake Allen – Allen made a surprise appearance at Blues practice. Even Coach Ken Hitchcock didn’t know that he was going to skate, but skate he did. Full goalie gear and everything. While there’s been no official announcement (the fact that Hitchcock didn’t know anything about it isn’t a great sign), skating in gear is a pretty big indicator that, at the very least, we can expect him to switch his status to day-to-day pretty soon.
The Second Liners (50%-80% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
James van Riemsdyk – JVR will still miss around four weeks with a lower body injury. As one of the few Leafs worth his salt this season, his loss is undoubtedly a factor in the Buds’ spiral to a lottery finish. They’re 3-6-2 in the month without him in the lineup, barely better than the 3-7-1 Canadiens. He’d actually be a fantastic trade target, given the Leafs cramped schedule during playoff time in H2H leagues. Unfortunately, they’re also the Leafs, so… maybe not.
Mike Green – Green’s ever-nagging groin is at it again. The frequent visitor to the IR is day-to-day for now. With Kronwall and Green out, the Red Wings’ 5-on-4 play might suffer considerably. Say what you will about him, Green knows how to QB a powerplay.
Mike Cammalleri – The Devils’ winger aggravated his hand injury last week and is having his status checked every few days. He does not have a timetable yet, but his checkup schedule would suggest week-to-week.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – RNH still has nearly two months to go, out with a fractured hand. McDavid has been electric with seven points in his five games since returning, which would allow RNH to relax on the shelf, but with two weekend losses with a combined score of 13-2, the Oilers clearly need his defensive acumen.
Niklas Kronwall – Detroit’s top defenseman is able to return to the lineup from the injured reserve on Valentine’s Day, but is aiming to start skating this week. He’s still on schedule for a return soon after the 14th.
Sergei Bobrovsky – Columbus Head Coach John Tortorella thinks Bobrovsky’s probably out until March. Which will stretch to April. I’d almost put money on it. See above about Carey Price for what I think about groin injuries.
Johnny Boychuk – While Boychuk didn’t do a whole lot in his game returning from injury, it just took him a day to get his feet moving and get a goal. Does it matter than it was in an 8-1 blowout of the Oilers? Here’s Eric Cartman with your answer.
Jaden Schwartz – Schwartz has been going through full practices since we last checked in on him, but he’s still feeling some discomfort and doesn’t wanna pull a Bobrovsky and re-injure himself. He’s day-to-day at this point. He’s been out since October with a leg injury.
The Depth Guys (20%-50% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Marcus Johansson – Johansson returned from an upper-body injury last night versus the Predators. He scored three points, but we’re all worn out being excited about an injured player returning to do that thanks to Connor McDavid last week. Kidding; Johansson owners must be ecstatic right now. In the last 15 games he’s completed, he’s got 18 points. What are they putting in the water down in the US of A’s capital? I can’t wait to see the Vegas odds for the Caps taking the cup home.
Aleksander Barkov – Barkov was pulled from Monday’s game because of a pretty nasty-looking hit by Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader. He’s definitely concussed, but the Panthers won’t comment on the injury. Abdelkader did not get suspended for the hit.
Tyler Ennis – Ennis has a concussion and remains on the injured reserve for the Sabres. He’s been week-to-week for a long time now. I would even go so far as to “upgrade” his status to month-to-month.
Ondrej Pavelec – The big news this week for the Jets has been the signing of Byfuglien’s extension, but the same old boring news has been largely ignored (and for good reason): Pavelec is injured. Lower body. Progressing towards return. No rush, thank you Hellebuyck. Carry on.
Mike Smith – The Arizona Coyotes’ starting goalie is out until at least March. Backup Louis Domingue’s hot start has started to cool off, but he’s still not a terrible pickup, especially if all you’re replacing is Smith.
Jared Spurgeon – Spurgeon’s got a bruise nasty enough to keep him out of at least one game. He got it blocking a shot, which is more evidence that that’s a job for guys who you can afford to lose to shot-blocking-related injuries.
The Mr. Irrelevants (<20% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Reto Berra – Again, not much news on this front. Berra has been out long-term with an ankle injury and has no timetable for a return. With Varlamov’s case closed, you should probably be dropping Berra as the Avalanche’s interim starter anyways.
Tyler Bozak – Like Barkov, Bozak will also miss time with a likely concussion. The Leafs are also not commenting on the nature of the injury. With Phaneuf out and the Leafs’ annual firesale imminent, how many players can they afford to have out of the lineup?
Oscar Klefbom – Klefbom has reportedly suffered “several setbacks” in his recovery from a staph infection. He’s another player I’d switch to month-to-month. The Oilers desperately need him back, maybe even more so than they need Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Case in point: after several GLARING misplays versus Montreal on Saturday, Coach Todd McLellan elected to bench Justin Schultz. Great. Teach the kid a lesson, right? Wrong. The only thing that came of it was McLellan learned just how bad the rest of the Oilers defense really is. I wouldn’t be surprised to find them sacrificing virgin goats in the Oilers’ head office right about now.
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.
(with notes from Scott Maran)
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