Fantasy Hockey Preseason Injuries
Every NHL season begins with a few injuries still lingering from the off-season (or the Stanley Cup playoffs from the previous spring). While the majority of these players should still be drafted this year in most league formats, consider their current injuries a bit of a warning. Here are fantasy-relevant players currently dealing with injury:
1. Andrej Sekera, D, Oilers (knee surgery, out indefinitely)
The veteran from Slovakia placed second on the Oilers in average ice time last season, so he will be missed. Do not expect the 31-year-old Sekera back in action before the New Year. He is recovering from a torn ACL.
2. Derick Brassard, C, Senators (shoulder surgery, doubtful for the start of the regular season)
The Senators were hoping Brassard would bounce back from a sub-par first campaign in Ottawa, but his return will have to wait. He is unlikely to play in October, so perhaps rookie Colin White will take his place at center.
3. Sami Vatanen, D, Ducks (shoulder surgery, doubtful for the start of the regular season)
The Ducks could begin the 2017-18 regular season without both Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm because of shoulder issues that required off-season surgery. Vatanen will be missed, especially on the power play.
4. Hampus Lindholm, D, Ducks (shoulder surgery, doubtful for the start of the regular season)
Arguably Anaheim's best all-around defenseman, Lindholm may return before Sami Vatanen but should still miss the start of the regular schedule. He was second in '16-17 behind Cam Fowler in average ice time for the Ducks.
5. Erik Karlsson, D, Senators (foot surgery, probable for the start of the regular season)
Perhaps no team in the National Hockey League needs one player more than the Senators need Karlsson. His foot surgery was a success, so he should be close to ready when the regular season opens. Phew!
6. Kris Letang, D, Penguins (neck surgery, questionable for the start of the regular season)
The Penguins are hoping their No. 1 rearguard can be ready to play big minutes when the regular season begins. They were able to win the Stanley Cup without him last spring, but do not want to go through that again.
7. John Tavares, C, Islanders (hand surgery, expected to be ready for training camp)
Not only are the Islanders hoping the captain's hand heals up in time to start the regular season, but they also hope he agrees to re-sign with the club for the long run. The Tavares injury is the lesser of the two concerns.
8. Henrik Lundqvist, G, Rangers (knee injury, expected to be ready for training camp)
There was some concern over the 35-year-old's injury, which occurred at the 2017 IIHF World Hockey Championship, but 'King Henrik' seems healthy again. Still, he should be monitored closely in training camp.
9. Robby Fabbri, LW, Blues (knee surgery, expected to be ready for training camp)
The Blues missed Fabbri's offensive spark last season, so the club will welcome him back with open arms when fully healthy. He might be in line for a breakthrough campaign in 2017-18, as long as his knee is 100 per cent.
10. Jakob Chychrun, D, Coyotes (knee surgery, out indefinitely)
The Coyotes hope to get the 19-year-old wunderkind back in 2017-18, but it might not be before the start of the second half. Chychrun is one of Arizona's building blocks for the future, so the team will be careful with him.
11. Joe Thornton, C, Sharks (knee surgery, expected to be ready for training camp)
The grizzled veteran's injury was rather severe: he tore both an ACL and MCL in his knee. Therefore, his recovery could be deemed somewhat miraculous for a 38-year-old athlete. Thornton should be good to go.
12. Marian Gaborik, RW/LW, Kings (undisclosed surgery, questionable for the start of the regular season)
The Kings will not have Gaborik for at least a portion of the preseason and, with the Slovakian veteran's injury history, may decide not to play him at all until the games start to matter for real. Gaborik is in steep decline.
13. Patrik Berglund, C/LW, Blues (shoulder surgery, out indefinitely)
Another off-season shoulder surgery casualty, Berglund is not expected back until December (though his rehab has gone well by most accounts). The veteran Swede is versatile and solid, so he will be missed early on.
14. Travis Zajac, C, Devils (pectoral surgery, out indefinitely)
The Devils were already expected to be among the youngest teams in the NHL up front, so not having the 32-year-old Zajac for the first half of '17-18 (at least) will make New Jersey even younger. He is a big loss.
15. Roberto Luongo, G, Panthers (lower body injury, probable for the start of the regular season)
Florida might not be able to rely upon veteran Luongo much this season, since his lower-body injury (suspected to be a hip problem) seems to be a chronic issue. The Panthers may have to turn to James Reimer a lot.
16. Ryan Callahan, RW, Lightning (hip surgery, expected to be ready for training camp)
The 2016-17 campaign was not kind to Callahan, who was limited to just 18 games because of a hip condition that eventually needed surgery to correct. The 32-year-old should enjoy a nice bounce-back season, if healthy.
17. Niklas Kronwall, D, Red Wings (knee injury, probable for the start of the regular season)
Kronwall's knees will probably never return to full strength, so the 36-year-old Swedish blueliner may have to play in pain for the rest of his NHL days. Detroit is committed to decreasing Kronwall's minutes (and role).
18. Shane Prince, LW/RW, Islanders (ankle surgery, out indefinitely)
He was not a lock to begin the regular season in the Islanders' starting lineup, so now the road to regular ice time will be that much harder after off-season ankle surgery. Prince may not be back until post-All-Star break.
The Coyotes hope to have Richardson back to full strength this season, after sustaining a fractured tibia AND fibula in his right leg last season. Do not be surprised if Richardson gets off to a slow start in 2017-18.
20. Frederik Gauthier, C, Maple Leafs (leg surgery, out indefinitely)
The Maple Leafs signed veteran Dominic Moore to be their No. 4 center, which might not have occurred this off-season had towering Gauthier been healthy going into training camp. He may be AHL-bound upon his return.
21. Derek Dorsett, RW/LW, Canucks (neck surgery, probable for the start of the regular season)
There were concerns that Dorsett's neck injury may have been career-threatening, so the Canucks will be happy to see Dorsett on the ice this preseason. He will probably play a fourth-line role if he is indeed healthy again.
22. Mikhail Grabovski, C/W, Golden Knights (concussion, out indefinitely)
He last appeared in an NHL game in 2015-16 with the New York Islanders, and has battled a concussion problem ever since. While the Belorussian veteran is hopeful of a comeback, Vegas is not counting on it.
23. Joffrey Lupul, RW/LW, Maple Leafs (sports hernia, out indefinitely)
Another player who missed all of 2016-17, Lupul failed a physical with the Maple Leafs over the summer, so his status remains in limbo. His career, with Toronto if not the entire NHL, appears to be over at this time.
24. Ryan Ellis, D, Predators (knee surgery, out indefinitely)
This is a big blow to Nashville, who rely heavily on their top four defensemen to lead the way. Without Ellis, Roman Josi (Ellis's regular defense partner last season) could also suffer from a fantasy standpoint.
25. Erik Karlsson, D, Senators (foot surgery, questionable for the start of the regular season)
What started as casual concern over his off-season surgery has now turned into legitimate worry over Karlsson's potential absence to start 2017-18. Without their captain, the Senators are nowhere near as potent.
26. Anton Slepyshev, RW/LW, Oilers (ankle injury, questionable for the start of the regular season)
Expect the big, energetic Russian winger to miss most (if not all) of training camp--though the Oilers remain hopeful he can start the regular season on time. Slepyshev is a candidate to play with Connor McDavid.
27. Nick Bonino, C, Predators (broken leg, questionable for the start of the regular season)
Nashville took Bonino away from the team (Pittsburgh) that defeated them in the Stanley Cup finals last spring. However, he may not be able to start the regular season on time along with his new teammates.
28. David Krejci, C, Bruins (knee injury, expected to be ready for the start of the regular season)
A knee injury kept Krejci out of Boston's final game of 2016-17 (a Game 6 loss to the Ottawa Senators in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs). However, the Czech veteran seems likely to be ready for Game 1 of '17-18.
29. Kyle Okposo, RW, Sabres (concussion/illness, expected to be ready for the start of the regular season)
It was a tough campaign for Okposo in 2016-17, after the former Islanders sniper went down with a concussion (and then later had complications due to a bad reaction to medication). He now seems ready to go.
30. Boone Jenner, LW/C, Blue Jackets (mid-body injury, expected to be ready for the start of the regular season)
The big-bodied bruiser will be held out of the start of training camp, and might not see much action at all during preseason play. However, his current ailment is not expected to keep him out of the lineup on opening night.
31. Nate Schmidt, D, Golden Knights (ankle injury, questionable for the start of the regular season)
Another victim of an off-season injury, Schmidt will probably be brought along slowly during training camp (because he is expected to log big minutes in his first season in Vegas). He should be ready for Game 1.
32. Jesper Fast, RW, Rangers (hip surgery, questionable for the start of the regular season)
The solid Swedish winger might be a bit ahead of schedule, following off-season hip surgery. Fast is still expected to miss the start of the '17-18 regular season, but could come back more quickly than expected.
33. Markus Granlund, W/C, Canucks (wrist surgery, expected to be ready for the start of the season)
Wrist surgery ended his 2016-17 campaign but Granlund appears to be on schedule to return to action when the puck drops on the '17-18 regular season. The 24-year-old Finn could be a key cog for the Canucks.
34. Peter Cehlarik, LW, Bruins (shoulder surgery, expected to be ready for the start of the regular season)
While Cehlarik's off-season shoulder surgery may not prevent him from being a full participant in training camp, it could hurt his chances of landing a spot on the regular-season roster--at least for the start of '17-18.
35. Carl Hagelin, LW, Penguins (broken fibula, expected to be ready for the start of the regular season)
Incredibly, the speedy Swede played on a broken leg for 15 of Pittsburgh's 25 postseason contests last spring, but he should be ready for the regular-season opener. Still, expect the Penguins to be careful with him.
36. Anthony Stolarz, G, Flyers (knee injury, out indefinitely)
This is really bad timing for Stolarz, who was expected to challenge Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth for a goaltending gig in Philadelphia. Instead, after a second knee surgery, there is no timetable for his return.
37. Alan Quine, C/W, Islanders (upper body injury, out indefinitely)
Another player who was going to attempt to win a roster spot is the Islanders' Quine, who suffered an upper-body injury that will likely force him to miss at least the first month of 2017-18--and perhaps more.
38. Brendan Gaunce, C/LW, Canucks (shoulder surgery, out indefinitely)
The timetable for Gaunce's potential return from off-season shoulder surgery appears to be November 1. However, he might not even have a roster spot to go back to by then. He seems to be in limbo.
39. Ryan Kesler, C, Ducks (hip surgery, out indefinitely)
After appearing in all 82 games last season, Kesler could miss as much as half of the 2017-18 campaign as he recovers from hip surgery. His play tailed off a bit during the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs.
40. Wayne Simmonds, RW, Flyers (undisclosed, day to day)
The Flyers are holding Simmonds out of preseason action for the time being, but are not saying why. A true warrior who pays a hefty price in front of the net on power plays, Simmonds often plays hurt.
41. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, Flames (hip injury, questionable for the start of the regular season)
Calgary is concerned that Tkachuk's hip injury might keep him out of action to begin the regular season. If true, players such as Mark Jankowski and Hunter Shinkaruk may stand a better shot at making the team.
42. Zach Parise, LW/RW, Wild (back injury, questionable for the start of the regular season)
There has to be concern here, since back injuries can be really tricky. Furthermore, Parise is coming off his worst statistical campaign since the 2005-06 season (New Jersey). He may already be in decline.
43. Alexander Steen, W/C, Blues (hand injury, doubtful for the start of the regular season)
St. Louis is already quite banged up in the preseason, with veteran Steen among the latest to go down. The versatile Swede missed only six games last season but owns a history of injury problems.
44. Patric Hornqvist, RW, Penguins (hand surgery, questionable for the start of the regular season)
The tough right-winger played with a broken hand during the Stanley Cup playoffs, but that did not stop him from scoring the Cup-clinching goal against Nashville. It might prevent him from starting '17-18, though.
45. James Neal, RW, Golden Knights (broken hand, questionable for the start of the regular season)
Ironically, Neal was once traded for Patric Hornqvist. Nowadays, they are both dealing with similar hand injuries. At this point, the Golden Knights do not know whether they will be without one of their best scorers.
46. Torey Krug, D, Bruins (facial injury, day to day)
The smooth, offensive blueliner suffered a facial injury during a recent preseason game. While Krug is not expected to miss the start of the regular season, he may be a bit uncomfortable when '17-18 begins.
47. Scott Darling, G, Hurricanes (undisclosed, expected to be ready for the start of the regular season)
The 'Canes are not saying what is currently ailing Darling, but the longer he remains out of action the better veteran Cam Ward's chances of keeping the starting job in Carolina become. It was Darling's job to lose.
48. Anton Stralman, D, Lightning (undisclosed injury, expected to be ready for the start of the regular season)
It appears the Lightning are taking it slowly with Stralman, who has yet to appear in a preseason contest. He is expected to log huge minutes again, so perhaps Tampa Bay is just playing it safe with Stralman.
49. Tyson Jost, C, Avalanche (groin injury, day to day)
He was not only expected to make the Avalanche but also compete for rookie-of-the-year honors in 2017-18, so his groin issue during training camp is taking a bite out of the Jost juggernaut--at least for now.
50. Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, C, Bruins (upper-body injury, day to day)
The Swedish rookie hopeful suffered his injury during recent preseason action, which could hurt his quest for a roster spot. Forsbacka-Karlsson has plenty of competition in Bruins training camp, young and old.
51. Alexander Nylander, RW/LW, Sabres (lower-body injury, questionable for the start of the regular season)
Injured during Buffalo's prospects tournament, Nylander's ill-timed injury will probably prevent him from breaking camp with the big club. He is now expected to begin 2017-18 with the AHL's Rochester Americans.
52. Martin Hanzal, C, Stars (sprained ankle, questionable for the start of the regular season)
Well, that did not take long! Hanzal is notorious for his propensity to get hurt, but this year it happened very early in training camp for his new team. He may still play in the regular-season opener, however.
53. Justin Abdelkader, RW/LW, Red Wings (lower-body injury, expected to be ready for the start of the regular season)
Now a 30-year-old veteran, Abdelkader is being counted on to play a second-line role with young talents Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha this season. Therefore, Detroit needs him back in the lineup A S A P.
54. Colin White, C, Senators (broken wrist, out indefinitely)
The rookie center was expected to break camp with the Senators due to Derick Brassard's shoulder injury, but instead broke his wrist during the preseason. White may miss the next two months of action.
55. Andrew Shaw, W/C, Canadiens (concussion/neck issues, expected to be ready for the start of the regular season)
The energetic agitator was recently given a 100 per-cent health grade after enduring concussion problems last season. Now, he has a neck issue to deal with. It may not be anything, but it could be something.
56. Zach Sanford, LW/RW, Blues (dislocated shoulder, out indefinitely)
Another young player whose chances to crack the opening-night lineup were very good, Sanford instead will be out for up to three months because of a dislocated shoulder. This is a very tough break for him.
57. Jesper Fast, RW, Rangers (hip surgery, out indefinitely)
One of the Rangers' top penalty killers, Fast will likely miss all of October as he recovers from off-season hip surgery. That said, he has been skating for a little while and may be slightly ahead of schedule.
58. Brian Boyle, C, Devils (leukemia, questionable for the start of the regular season)
Sadly, Boyle has been diagnosed with a form of leukemia--chronic myeloid leukemia to be precise. The encouraging news here is that Boyle is determined to be ready for opening night. Best wishes.
59. Nick Paul, LW, Senators (ankle injury, questionable for the start of the regular season)
Big, bruising Paul was a decent candidate to break camp with the Senators, especially with several other Sens forwards banged up too, but his chances have taken a major hit with this latest ankle problem.
60. Jacob Larsson, D, Ducks (knee surgery, questionable for the start of the regular season)
With both Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen absent for the start of 2017-18 due to their respective recoveries from shoulder surgery, Larsson was a lock to begin '17-18 in Anaheim--if he recovers in due time.
61. Jay Bouwmeester, D, Blues (fractured ankle, doubtful for the start of the regular season)
The veteran defenseman once played seven straight seasons without missing any time due to injury, but Bouwmeester has now missed 21 games since the start of 2014-15 (before this latest injury issue).
62. Clarke MacArthur, LW, Senators (neck injury/concussion issues, doubtful for the start of the regular season)
Quickly, veteran MacArthur went from being penciled into a top-nine forward role in Ottawa to being completely left out of the picture due to his failed physical at the start of training camp. What next for MacArthur?
63. Marco Scandella, D, Sabres (hip injury, questionable for the start of the regular season)
Acquired from the Wild in the off-season, Scandella is expected to log major minutes for Buffalo this season. Therefore, his current hip issue is somewhat concerning for the Sabres. They need him healthy.