Each week of the National Hockey League regular season, we will take a look at some of the most important injuries that have occurred in the last seven days, as well as key players that have returned from injury and updates on the conditions of other fantasy-relevant players (when applicable). Here is this week's batch:
1. Corey Crawford, G, Blackhawks (upper-body injury, IR)
There is some mystery surrounding Crawford's current ailment, though it is suspected that he is dealing with a concussion. Both Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass have seen action since Crawford's last game (December 23), so it is too early to tell which understudy will take the top job and run with it while Crawford is out. Forsberg is the more likely candidate, though fantasy leaguers should wait it out and see how things shake down this week.
2. Mark Scheifele, C, Jets (upper-body injury, IR)
Even though the Jets are currently leading the Central Division, they will surely miss Scheifele during his absence. Captain Blake Wheeler, a natural right-winger, has moved to the middle of the ice to help compensate for Scheifele's absence. Fellow pivot Adam Lowry has replaced Scheifele on the first power-play unit, while prospect Jack Roslovic has been recalled for depth purposes. Winnipeg will replace Scheifele by committee.
3. Ryan Ellis, D, Predators (returning from a knee injury)
Despite all the success Nashville has enjoyed so far this season (without Ellis in the lineup), it appears the Predators will make major changes to their blueline corps to accommodate No. 4's return to action. Nashville is expected to split up the Roman Josi-Mattias Ekholm pairing in favor or Josi-Ellis (last season's top unit), while Ekholm moves to the third pairing alongside Anthony Bitetto. Ekholm's value could take a nosedive here.
Pittsburgh's top two offensive defensemen are due back in the lineup this week, but for how long? Trade rumors continue to swirl in the Steel City, with Letang's name figuring prominently in discussions. Keep a close eye on this situation, since Schultz could benefit greatly from a Letang trade (reclaiming a spot on the top PP unit).
5. Chris Kreider, LW, Rangers (blood clots, out indefinitely)
Kreider's injury is a scary reminder that professional hockey players are just people, too. There is no timetable for the power forward's return to action, so (at least for now) versatile forward J.T. Miller has moved back to the wing (he had been playing center for a large chunk of the first half of 2017-18). Rookie Vinni Lettieri has also been recalled but his ice time may be limited (even with Kreider out). Winger Jesper Fast is healthy again.
6. J.T. Compher, C/RW, Avalanche (upper-body injury, out indefinitely)
This is a big loss for the Avalanche, as Compher was doing a nice job as Colorado's No. 2 center behind Nathan MacKinnon recently. Without Compher in the lineup, rookies Alexander Kerfoot and Tyson Jost will need to step up. Furthermore, the Avs will need continued production from center Carl Soderberg (who is bouncing back from an awful performance in 2016-17 (80 GP, 6-8-14). Soderberg is currently on pace to produce 41 points!
7. Anthony Mantha, LW/RW, Red Wings (groin injury, day to day)
The big, powerful sniper missed Detroit's last two contests due to a groin issue, which has allowed rookie Tyler Bertuzzi to see time on the Red Wings' top line alongside Swedish veterans Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist. The trio has looked good in Mantha's absence, so look for the latter to be potentially bumped down to the second line upon his return. That may give the Wings better balance for the second half of 2017-18.
8. Zach Parise, LW/RW, Wild (returning from back surgery)
He is no longer a big fantasy factor but Parise should be a welcomed addition to the Wild lineup. That is because Minnesota is currently in a dog fight to claim one of the two Wild Card berths in the Western Conference. The veteran winger is expected to start his campaign on the third line alongside Charlie Coyle and Chris Stewart. The 33-year-old Parise may be a decent pickup if he gets hot, but wait for him to start producing before claiming him.
9. Artem Anisimov, C, Blackhawks (upper-body injury, IR)
The big, two-way Russian has missed Chicago's last two games and his absence has allowed Nick Schmaltz to move back to his natural center position. In fact, the line of Ryan Hartman-Schmaltz-Patrick Kane has looked dangerous since Anisimov went down--which does not bode well for the 29-year-old veteran pivot. If he returns to the Blackhawks lineup and is placed on the third line, most of his fantasy value will disappear quickly.
10. Johnny Boychuk, D, Islanders (lower-body injury, IR)
Suddenly, the Islanders are struggling with injuries to key blueliners. First it was Calvin De Haan who went down with an upper-body injury, and now Boychuk is dealing with a lower-body issue. Without the latter in the lineup, Isles coach Doug Weight has decided to pair up his top two offensive defensemen (Nick Leddy and Ryan Pulock). The results have not been positive For the Leddy-Pulock duo (2 GP, 0-1-1, -7 collectively). Ouch!