It is never easy to foresee the unforeseen. Injuries happen every day in the NHL, and here at Fantrax, our goal is to help you try to stay on top of those maladies with our weekly Injury Report. Counting all the latest bumps, bites, and bruises, there were 80 players held out of lineups. Several of those are long-term injuries from a previous year. Those players are likely not going to return or have retired. Here are some of the more notable maladies out there and their possible prognosis. Christmas break is over, which means an expected jump in maladies.
Mark Scheifele suffered a broken collarbone last week and will now miss the next 6-8 weeks. The silver lining is at least there is the bye week and All-Star break, which should cushion some of the impact. However, it still hurts whenever you lose a top player. Looking at cheaper pivots and streaming options would be extremely wise.
Alexander Wennberg is out several more weeks with a back injury. Again, keep in mind that the center could be back just before the All-Star break. Columbus definitely misses the center, as he was heating up finally before the injury. With Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson injured, as well, Columbus is playing a more conservative brand of hockey currently, which will impact the team’s fantasy significance.
Martin Hanzal succumbed to the same injury he’s suffered through since training camp. Here we go again.This will mean more playing time for the other Dallas centers. Let’s be frank: Hanzal’s fantasy relevance has been almost non-existent anyway. Also, note that Artem Anisimov landed on the injured reserve with an upper-body injury.
Filip Forsberg is out 4-6 weeks with an upper-body injury. Forsberg broke either his hand or wrist. That is the speculation anyway. Nashville has moved up Calle Jarnkrok into the first line left wing position for now. He immediately offers a cheap upgrade in salary-cap leagues and daily fantasy circles, as well. Forsberg’s injury impacts what had been one of the hotter power plays in the league over the last month.
Chris Kreider suffered a blood clot in his arm and is out potentially 1-3 months. Information has been spotty with the Rangers forward, as the expectation is that Kreider likely will miss somewhere in the 8-10 week range. Fortunately, New York has been healthy most of the season. Their schedule has helped some in that regard, but they do have some luck on their side. Losing Kreider does hurt, but prospect depth should temper the impact.
Once again, players are succumbing to the flu bug. Unfortunately, at least a half dozen players unofficially are ill along with several that are on this week’s injury report. Radim Vrbata has been sick the longest, at about a week. Vrbata is suffering through one nasty season, and his fantasy hockey owners have been grumbling about it. He can be dropped in all formats at this point. Enough is enough.
Shea Weber injured his foot quite a while ago, and it is still bothering him. The impact has been so great that Montreal announced on Wednesday that the defenseman would be out past the All-Star Break at least. A February return is looking likely, and even then, that is not certain. Weber’s numbers were not great fantasy-wise, but he was not awful, either. From a fantasy outlook, things are looking bleak in Montreal at the moment.
Dustin Byfuglien returned on Tuesday, and there was a little rust. However, the defenseman had a couple of scoring chances, and there was a little zip on that slap shot. There were encouraging signs, so at least Byfuglien looked like he was 100% for the first time in a while. Byfuglien should end up on the score sheet very soon and maybe even the goal column (he has zero goals on the season).
Semyon Varlamov injured what looked like his groin on Tuesday night. He is listed as day-to-day at this time. More information should be known soon. The goaltender was starting to play better when again the injury bug struck. This situation will be monitored even if Varlamov’s injury is not that serious.
Corey Crawford has not returned, and there is still little news as to when that will happen. The best course of action is to keep streaming goalies until a definitive timetable is established. Could Crawford have a head or back issue? No one is sure.
Chris Wassel is on Fantasy Hockey X every week and on various places throughout the internet. Follow him on FanTrax and Twitter @ChrisWasselDFS. A special thanks this week to nhl.com, Brian Metzer, Pete Jensen, Eric Stephens, Dan Rosen, and Selene Parekh of The Fantasy Doctors for all their information. Also, thanks to all the beat writers that make this column possible each week.