The latest NHL injury news on Vlasic, Phaneuf, Nugent-Hopkins, Gallagher, Carlson, Seguin and others…
At this point in the year, a player who’s week-to-week might as well be out for the season, and even those who are day-to-day should be giving you some pause. It’s crunch time folks, and these players aren’t gonna help.
The Big Guns (>80% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Dustin Byfuglien – Big Buff’s back from an undisclosed injury, but has yet to put up a single point in four games. He does have 15 shots on goal and is being given 25 or so minutes a night, so don’t expect this to last.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – OEL returned from his shoulder injury in full force as he had an assist and was plus-3 Tuesday night versus Edmonton. That stat line helped the Coyotes move to 19-0-4 in their last 23 games against the Oilers.
John Klingberg – Despite walloping the reigning Stanley Cup Champs 6-2, Klingberg missed out on any points in his first game back from a lower-body injury. With Seguin out, you’d think his stats would take a hit, but Seguin had just 23 points in 33 games since the turn of the New Year. Start Klingberg with the confidence that you usually would.
Tyler Seguin – I guess this would be a good time to segue into Seguin’s injury. Ew. That’s a 15% cut in his Achilles tendon. He’s done for the season. He HAS said that “I can’t really picture myself missing game one”. If only the guy picked ahead of him could say the same.
Patrick Sharp – Sharp is back from a stint with a lower-body injury. He’s got five shots on goal and an assist in the three games since. With him in the lineup, the Stars can weather the loss of Seguin for a little while. If they don’t manage to snag the top spot in the Central (a.k.a. the Thunderdome), then they’ll need their full lineup for round one of the playoffs. However, unless you’re in a playoff pool, that won’t matter to you. Keep starting your Stars.
Carey Price – It’s getting late in the day, as they say, and Price is not looking like he’ll make it back before bedtime. Montreal GM Marc Bergevin is not shutting him down until the end of the season, but we’re practically there already. Don’t look to him to save your season.
Alexander Steen – Steen’s shoulder injury has kept him out of the lineup for 13 games as well. He’s hoping to get a chance to shake off the rust before the playoffs, but he still can’t shoot without discomfort. I doubt he’ll make it back in a fantasy-relevant way before the end of the season.
Sami Vatanen – The Ducks’ defenseman is still day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Eric Stephens of the OC Register thinks it “is starting to take effect” on the Ducks’ defense corps. Still, I can’t imagine they’d rush him back; the Ducks have been raking in the wins and keeping him out longer might even help them in negotiations when Vatanen asks for a huge raise (and you know he will).
Cory Schneider – Schneider’s been out with a knee injury, and that status won’t change for the Devils’ next two games, but he could be back next week. He’s got an MCL sprain, and those (like groin injuries and concussions) are tricky and easily re-aggravated. Even if he returns, it might not be for long.
The Second Liners (50%-80% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Evgeni Malkin – Malkin has an upper-body injury and won’t be back until the first round of the playoffs, so definitely drop him in one-year leagues if you haven’t already.
Justin Faulk – The productive blueliner is hoping for a return on Thursday. His ankle injury has been annoying in that it’s been long-term, but the whole time it’s seemed like he could return at any point. Fantasy teams who have injured reserve spots could have stashed him there for weeks now.
T.J. Brodie – Brodie is continuing a dominant fantasy season as he returns from a mid-body injury. In the three games since, he’s put up two assists and is plus-3. His 42 points in 61 games is a 57-point full-season pace. Keeping in mind his slow start makes this even more impressive. Keep playing him if you have, and start if you haven’t!
James van Riemsdyk – JVR is done for the season, and has been for quite a while now. Move along. Nothing to see here. Definitely not the Leafs actively tanking.
Brendan Gallagher – Gallagher has a lower-body injury, but has been skating before practice. It’s not like he’s gotta rush back to shake off the rust before playoffs, so don’t look for him to make an early return. His week-to-week status might make him a write-off this season.
Brian Elliott – Elliott’s shutout is just what he needed to get in his return. Still signed for next year, poolies nonetheless hope he won’t have a lot of regular season games to play before he finds himself on another team. Games like that one really raise his value.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – The Nuge can’t get a break; he left last night’s game against the Coyotes in the second period with an upper-body injury. Coach Todd McLellan offered no update after the game, so keep your ear to Twitter for more.
Jaroslav Halak – Done for the season with a six-week lower-body injury. The Isles’ Band-Aid Boy goalie was bound to get hurt. It just sucks that it’s smack dab in the middle of fantasy playoff season. See if any teams in your league who had a first-round exit have a spare starting netminder that they’ve dropped off their team to help supplement yours.
The Depth Guys (20%-50% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Vlasic has a minor lower-body injury that the Sharks are giving him the time to recover from. The Pacific isn’t exactly a tight race to get a playoff spot, so the Sharks aren’t rushing him back. It could be another week, but Head Coach Pete DeBoer is calling it day-to-day.
Mike Cammalleri – The Devils’ top forward is finally officially written off for the season. The Devils have done a great job this season despite not having very much star power, and half the thanks here goes to Cammalleri, who I thought was a serious sell-high at the beginning of the year. His production seemed wildly unsustainable, but he’s really been solid for New Jersey. Hope to draft him next year!
Bryan Little – Little has a pretty big injury. A fractured vertebrae is going to keep him out for the rest of the season. Winnipeg was threatening to be the only Canadian team in the playoffs, but now they’ll fall short of that, in no small part due to injuries to Little, Nikolaj Ehlers, Mathieu Perreault, Byfuglien, and the loss of Andrew Ladd.
Ryan Callahan – Callahan missed practice yesterday, indicating he’s a little while from returning from a lower-body injury. The Lightning probably hope he can return to game form before the playoffs start, but like I said before: at this point in the year, week-to-week can mean end-of-season.
Dennis Wideman – Tough bit here for Wideman, who served 19 games of a suspension that was arbitrated down to ten. He was only back in the lineup for three games before a triceps injury knocked him back out. He might also be concussed, which some suspect led to the incredibly violent outburst towards the referee that led to his suspension in the first place. Either way, he’s done for the season.
Radim Vrbata – Vrbata’s been fighting a slew of injuries to stay in the Canucks’ lineup, apparently, but a knee injury will finally sideline him for the year. Man, the Sedin twins are about to be put on the injured reserve with back problems with how much they’ve been asked (and are about to be asked) to carry the team.
David Perron – A crash into the boards means that Perron’s shoulder injury might keep him out for the season. He’s week-to-week. He won’t be sorely missed, having put up just one point in his last six games.
Alexander Edler – After suffering a broken leg in early February, Edler is done for the season. Vancouver’s a bottom feeder this season anyways, so the only people who’ll miss him are his fantasy owners, who can find plenty of waiver fodder to replace him.
Jason Pominville – Pominville’s lower-body injury is almost healed as he has begun skating with his teammates. If he gets a full practice in today or tomorrow morning, he could return tomorrow evening as the Wild host the Flames.
Leo Komarov – After struggling to stay in the Leafs’ lineup with a lower-body injury, Komarov got discouraging tests results and could be done for the year. If you ask me, he was lucky the tank just ran over his legs.
Marek Zidlicky – Zidlicky has an upper-body injury and is still out indefinitely. They need him back if they’re to hold off the surging Penguins, who are being led by a Hart-worthy performance out of Sidney Crosby.
The Mr. Irrelevants (<20% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Jason Demers – Dallas’s defenseman has a shoulder injury that’ll keep him out of the lineup for the rest of the season and even a bit into playoffs. The Stars defense corps in getting thin; I’m sure they’re glad they added Kris Russell at the deadline. Pat yourself on the back, Jim Nill. You’ve earned it.
Valtteri Filppula – Filppula’s upper-body injury will keep him out for a short time longer. He has been practicing, albeit in a non-contact jersey. Still, that’s a great sign. I’d expect him back in the lineup as soon as this week; the Lightning are playing just a bit above .500 hockey in March, and even THAT is thanks to the loser point. They can’t expect a return to the Stanley Cup Final playing like that.
Kris Russell – My big replacement recommendation from last week was held out of the Stars’ game against Chicago with a lower-body injury. The decision was made at game time, so don’t expect him to be out long.
Sam Bennett – Bennett added an assist to his season totals in his return to the Flames’ lineup. Despite missing almost all of last season, he’s been a bright light for the Flames’ future this season.
Nikolaj Ehlers – The Jet’s star rookie is eyeing a return tomorrow (pun definitely intended). However, there’s nothing set in stone yet, and his eye injury might keep him out a short while longer. Consider him day-to-day.
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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