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 78 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.
Mathew Barzal rested on Wednesday in what is being deemed a maintenance day. The New York Islanders center caused a bit of a scare when he was not seen at practice. It looks like everything is a go for Thursday, so do not panic. Twitter and social media did enough of that for most fantasy hockey players Wednesday morning.
Joe Thornton suffered a knee injury a couple weeks ago. He was placed on injured reserve and had surgery on the knee. The problem is that what was initially called an MCL strain or tear may be worse than thought. Kevin Kurz from The Athletic pointed out that arthroscopic knee surgery is not typical here. So what was cleaned out, or what surgery was performed? Either way, it does not look like a return is imminent. What San Jose does at the trade deadline will be telling.
Patric Hornqvist is out at least several weeks with a lower-body injury. He hurt what was believed to be his knee. That is the speculation, anyway. Pittsburgh placed him on injured reserve Tuesday and said he will be out longer than a week. With streaming options in abundance, it is fine to stash the forward on injured reserve.
Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich suffered concussions and will be out at least another week. Both were starting to play better again, and then this occurred. It will mean New York’s depth has a chance to crack the top six and provide some much-needed scoring. New York may have to explore the trade route sooner rather than later given all of the team’s injuries. And, yes, they should be selling. Concussions sometimes yield problems down the road and have no set timetable. Watch to see when either player starts to skate. That will give a better idea as to when they’ll return.
Then there’s Bobby Ryan, who maimed his hand yet again (fourth time in less than two seasons). This latest setback will cost the Ottawa forward about two to three weeks. That number is not set in stone, so it may be prudent to check back regularly on social media.
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. Flu cases should start to decline over the next several weeks.
Marc Staal now has a cervical strain on top of his lower-body issue after taking a hard hit from Nashville’s Alexei Emelin. He could be out for a while, which moves up Brady Skjei and even Anthony DeAngelo. Staal was at least filling some peripheral fantasy categories before the latest malady.
Alec Martinez placed on the injured reserve last week? No, not yet. However, the lower-body injury will not keep him out more than another few days. The fact that the injury looked worse was scary. Do not panic. The defenseman skated on Wednesday and was a game-time decision on Wednesday night. It won’t be long now.
Dan Girardi succumbed to a lower-body injury but is still day-to-day. It is just a small setback and nothing more.
Cory Schneider succumbed to the flu bug a few weeks ago. Schneider was day-to-day. The goaltender was struggling mightily when again the illness bug struck. 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. Eddie Lack may start over the weekend, or possibly even sooner given Keith Kinkaid’s struggles.
Corey Crawford has not returned, and there is still little news as to when that will happen. Could Crawford have a head or vertigo issue? No one is sure. The good news is that Crawford was recently seen skating. This still does not open up what a possible timetable could entail. However, it is positive news. One question is this: Does one risk Crawford at all if Chicago is too far out of a playoff spot? At press time, they were seven points out. Stay tuned!
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.