The latest NHL injury updates on the likes of Parise, Letang, Vanek and more.
The Big Guns (>80% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Jack Eichel – Eichel’s out of his walking boot. His original timeline has him out for up to 5 more weeks. Even though the loss of the boot is a good sign, don’t take that to mean he’ll be back sooner than expected. He’s still got a brace on and even when that comes off, he’ll have to get back into game form.
Patrick Sharp – A hit by Kings defenseman Alex Martinez left Sharp’s bell ringing on Thursday, the 20th, and he still hasn’t resumed skating. He’s been placed on the Injured Reserve, but his 83% ownership on Yahoo worries me. He scored a bunch in 2013-14, but since then has kind of gone the way of Joffrey Lupul and Thomas Vanek; his age is really starting to show.
Kris Letang – Letang’s missed the Pens last five games already with a mysterious upper-body injury that I suspect is a concussion. He’s usually glued to the shelf, but he’s getting ready to step back into games, as he’s been a part of full-contact practise already. I wrote a short series of articles on how to generate your own ranking list (you can find part 3 here), and a big part of that is explaining why Letang is still really valuable despite his Band-Aid Boy status. Basically, if your league isn’t crazy deep, those games that he’s missing can be filled in by a decent defenseman, so you’re not losing as many points as you’d think. Try and grab a guy like Justin Schultz (who will literally take Letang’s spot on the Pens powerplay) to fill in while Letang’s out, and you should be fine.
Zach Parise – Another mystery injury, this one lower-body. Parise is on week-to-week status, and he’s not new to the injury ward either. He’s missed around 11 games a year for the last three years. It still sucks to have it happen this early in the season, but if you’re a Parise owner, you should know what you signed up for.
Jonathan Drouin – Drouin took a nasty hit (below) to the head from the Islanders’ Calvin de Haan and didn’t return to the game last night. It didn’t look intentional, so don’t expect the hammer to come down on de Haan. Drouin also doesn’t seem like he’s suffered a concussion, as he was pretty chipper post-game and Head Coach Jon Cooper will provide an update sometime soon.
Mark Stone – The Sens’ forward also left last night’s game early with what looks to be an upper-body injury, and will also have his status updated by his coach before too long. Consider him day-to-day for now.
The Second Liners (50%-80% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Michael Stone – Stone slotted into the Coyotes’ lineup and dropped back to day-to-day status without time to say hello. He put up a very respectable three points in four games while he was in, but the only break he can seem to catch is that it was an upper-body injury, so it’s not a case where his knee is giving him grief.
Jeff Skinner – We’ve got a mystery upper-body and lower-body injuries, so why not middle-body? Jeff Skinner’s day-to-day with one, and it’s coming just as he’s getting his stats padded. He’s currently the proud owner of a 1.57 points-per-game stat, but buyer beware: The ‘Canes are also scored on 14.7% of their unblocked shot attempts. For reference, that should be sitting at 6-8%, so look for a sharp drop in production even when he does return.
David Backes – After having surgery to remove a fluid-filled sac in his elbow, Backes missed the Bruins’ last four games, but has a shot at playing the Lightning tomorrow. Consider him day-to-day until updated otherwise.
Thomas Vanek – Forget what I said earlier about Vanek; he’s got eight points in seven games this season! Or maybe not, considering he’s always been a very strong starter, but cools off as the season progresses. Either way, he’ll have time to cool off on the shelf, as he’s out week-to-week with a lower-body injury.
The Depth Guys (20%-50% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
The Mr. Irrelevants (<20% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Tyler Myers – Myers is also out for a period with a lower-body injury, but he’s only day-to-day. Either way, this puts pressure on the Jets to sign Jacob Trouba, who only has until December 1st to get a contract signed or he can’t play in the NHL this season. Like Drouin, he’s a highly touted prospect who all of a sudden looks like he’s in tough to make a fantasy roster. I think the Jets and Trouba get it done before the deadline, but who knows?
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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