NHL injury report - the latest on Letang, Palat, Couture, Streit, Reimer and others...
Loyal readers, hockey cultists and what-have-you, here’s your injury report for the week, with a special section for a Pens forward who made the right call yesterday.
The Big Guns (>80% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Kris Letang – It was only a matter of time before Letang showed up here again. He missed the weekend’s games versus Anaheim and LA, but by all accounts, it doesn’t seem much more than day-to-day. That being said, with a player like Letang, it’s probably best not to hold your breath.
Connor McDavid – No updates to the generational clavicle this week, but with Dylan Larkin posting 15 points in his last 18 games, you have to wonder if McDavid has a shot at the Calder upon his return.
Carey Price – Some excellent work here by Habs Eyes on the Prize, on the job Mike Condon has been doing in Price’s absence. The Habs’ franchise netminder and reigning MVP is out for another five weeks with an LBI.
Tyler Johnson – After missing significant time (seriously, it seems like I’m writing about this guy every week), Johnson returned to the Lightning on Sunday versus LA. Might as well not have though, with zeroes across his entire stat line.
Logan Couture – After a long recovery from a freak accident at practice that left him with a broken fibula, Couture is ready to step back into the NHL. He scored an assist and took a couple of minor penalties in his return Tuesday night.
The Second Liners (50%-80% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Mark Streit – The Flyers’ #1 option on the powerplay is still around three weeks away from seeing action (rehabilitating after pubic plate surgery), although he has resumed semi-regular skating and is feeling good about it.
Ondrej Palat – Palat was cleared for contact on December 2nd, but still has not been deemed fit for play. Coach Jon Cooper suggested that he could return this week, but it’s “questionable” that he will on Thursday.
Jaden Schwartz – Schwartz is still on the IR with a broken ankle. No idea yet on a return date for the Blues’ forward, but the original timetable was three months, so sleep on him until at least January.
Frederik Andersen _ Andersen got hit by the injury bug pretty hard, missing seven games since November 21st with the flu. He served as the backup on Sunday versus the Pens, so it won’t be much longer before he’s ready for starting action.
The Depth Guys (20%-50% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
James Reimer – Reimer has missed time with an undisclosed injury, but Mike Babcock expects him to play “sometime next week”. Between Sparks’s inexperience and Bernier’s gaffes, he’ll have very little competition upon his return.
Nail Yakupov – The Oilers’ most disappointing first-overall pick was scheduled to return in 2-4 weeks, and that was two weeks ago. So any minute now, he should be back. Keep your ear to the twitterverse for updates on this one, though Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal says it likely won’t be until after Christmas.
Olli Määttä – Määttä, master of the umlaut, has returned to the Penguins’ lineup and has two goals and is averaging 20:04 minutes per game since.
Nick Bjugstad – The hulking Panthers forward had been out of commission since last Tuesday with an upper-body injury. Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant has specified that the injury is not a back injury, but will not go any further in identifying it. George Richards of the Miami Herald has some ominous suspicions, but will say no more on the subject either.
Martin Hanzal – Despite Coach Dave Tippett’s words, Hanzal was NOT available to play on Tuesday. That being said, a coach wouldn’t say something like this unless either A) the player was real close to returning; or B) The player is Kris Letang or Joffrey Lupul, in which case all bets are off.
Nazem Kadri – I’m not sure if you’re lucky enough to be in one of the seventy-six percent of leagues that have Kadri available, but if you are, go pick him up and stash him on the bench. He’s playing excellent hockey and the bounces will go his way eventually. He missed practice on Sunday with the stomach flu, but is good to go.
The Mr. Irrelevants (<20% owned in Yahoo Leagues)
Travis Zajac – The Devils’ center is out for an unknown amount of time after landing awkwardly on his arm. New Jersey is calling it an upper-body injury and “indications are that the veteran center is not seriously hurt”, according to Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger.
James Wisniewski – For the 16% of you who still own Wisniewski: I’m 99% sure he’s not going to be of value to you this season. If you’re in a keeper league, great! If not, drop him.
Joffrey Lupul – Toronto’s Band-Aid Boy extraordinaire is out again on the IR, but has resumed skating and will likely be back in the lineup next week per Head Coach Mike Babcock. The injury is undisclosed this time, but it’s apparently been chronic. I’m usually a staunch defender of injury-prone players, as long as they suffer injuries to different places. A chronic, nagging injury is a HUGE red flag for me. Take it from a former Lupul-owner, he’s not worth the headache.
Trevor Daley – Daley got his bell rung when Chris Thorburn’s knee unintentionally hit him in the side of the head on Sunday. He missed last night’s game against the Predators, and is not skating yet. However, Coach Quenneville doesn’t think that Daley was knocked out by the hit, so they’re not considering it a serious injury.
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis has been on the road to recovery from blood clots that have kept him out of the lineup for large chunks of time, dating back to January of 2014. I’m sure you’ve heard about this already but, as of yesterday, he has officially stepped away from playing hockey. His concerns over his health and his family led him to this decision, and it’s absolutely the right one. From all accounts, he’s an amazing human being and I wish him nothing but happiness ahead. However, don’t take this to mean we’ll be missing him; he’s not going anywhere. He said that he intends to remain a part of the Penguins organization and help them win a Stanley Cup. That help will just come from off-ice activities now. Check out the DobberHockey analysis of the impact this will have on fantasy lineups here.
As always, thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter for injury updates and general hockey-related tomfoolery! @AjayDaCosta, in case that address bar is too far away.
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