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 89 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.
Jack Eichel injured his ankle late last week in what is being deemed a high-ankle sprain. The Buffalo Sabres center will miss at least 4-6 weeks (next re-evaluation) and possibly more. The last time the center injured his ankle like this, he missed 21 games, which comes out to a 1/4 of the season. Buffalo may get him back sometime during your fantasy hockey playoffs. At this point, keep Eichel on your IR or IR+, if possible.
Tomas Hertl suffered a hand injury Tuesday night. He is day-to-day at this time. The problem is that he was hiding the hand all day on Wednesday. We’ve seen this before with Taylor Hall, where the injury was scooped out by photographers. Hertl’s situation should be monitored carefully until more information is gathered. No one likes it when there is this much uncertainty. This may also mean that Brent Burns may take on more of a forward role temporarily.
Trevor Lewis is out at least another few days with an undisclosed injury. He suffered an injury late last week, but few seem to know what is ailing him. It has been kept quiet enough. The best bet is to drop the winger since his ice time was dwindling once again. This is an example of a player who could be out longer than anticipated.
Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich practiced on Wednesday in non-contact jerseys. That is significant considering Kreider had thoracic rib redaction surgery and Buchnevich suffered a concussion just two weeks ago. The hope is that Kreider will return sometime before the end of the season. Buchnevich could be back in anywhere from 5-10 days. It just depends on his progression and if the winger has any setbacks. With New York’s extensive injury list, any news trending in the right direction is good news.
Bobby Ryan continues to be sidelined with a hand injury (fourth time in less than two seasons). He will be sidelined about one to two weeks more. That number is not set in stone, so it may be prudent to check back regularly on social media. Ryan’s malady is chronic, which means setbacks could occur regularly. When hands do not heal properly, it is a huge problem. Ryan can be dropped in season-long, non-dynasty leagues.
Ryan McDonagh now has an upper-body injury that has bothered him for weeks and weeks. He should be out for a while, which moves up Brady Skjei, Anthony DeAngelo, Neal Pionk, and John Gilmour. McDonagh has just two goals on the season, but he has been shouldering too much of the defensive load, which arguably has worsened the issue. Understand that McDonagh will likely not be 100% when he does return.
Chris Tanev was placed on the injured reserve last Thursday after injuring his leg. Unfortunately, the lower-body injury will keep him out more than another few days. Tanev’s problem is that he suffers a lot of abuse and wear and tear. It may be best to look elsewhere for a defenseman.
Cory Schneider succumbed to the flu bug a few weeks ago. However, it was found that Schneider had a groin injury, as well, which has persisted longer than anyone has expected. This is a situation to keep an eye on, as the longer he is out, the longer New Jersey searches for answers. Schneider was placed on the injured reserve retroactive to January 23. Based on the timetable possibilities, he might be back in the next 10 days to two weeks. Keep an eye on when he skates next. New Jersey needs Schneider back badly, but they also need him back at 100%.
Corey Crawford practiced earlier in the week, and that offered some encouragement. The Chicago goalie looked extremely limited in the rudimentary drills he was doing. With the Blackhawks so far out of a playoff spot, Crawford may not see the ice again this year. Just keep him stashed away on injured reserve for now.
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.