2017 Fantasy Hockey Injury Report: February 6
Gabriel Farnesi takes a look around the NHL and gives his take on the top injuries around the league.
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. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Avalanche (upper-body injury, out indefinitely)
It is a shame that MacKinnon went down recently, since he was challenging for the NHL scoring lead at the time. MacKinnon's injury, reportedly a shoulder issue, is expected to keep him out 2-4 weeks. Rookie center Alexander Kerfoot might be the prime beneficiary of MacKinnon's absence, provided he continues to play between captain Gabriel Landeskog and right-winger Mikko Rantanen on Colorado's top line. Kerfoot is worth a pickup.
2. Pavel Buchnevich, RW, Rangers (concussion, out indefinitely)
The 22-year-old Russian winger suffered a concussion against the Toronto Maple Leafs last week and has already missed New York's next two games. At this point, Buchnevich could be out for a prolonged stretch of games. It is too bad, since he was well on his way to his breakthrough season in the NHL (50 GP, 13-19-32). Rookie winger Vinni Lettieri was called up once again to help curb the loss of a few Rangers forwards.
3. Bobby Ryan, RW/LW, Senators (hand injury, IR)
There is something bizarre going on with regards to Ryan and hand injuries. The veteran winger seems to suffer a new hand injury every week! His latest issue occurred against his old team (Anaheim) last week and could keep him out for a significant period of time. The 30-year-old winger is enduring one of his worst NHL campaigns for a team going nowhere quickly in the Senators. At this point, Ottawa may shut Ryan down for the season.
4. Patric Hornqvist, RW, Penguins (lower-body injury, out indefinitely)
The in-your-face, front-of-the-net nuisance on Pittsburgh's top-ranked power play could miss more than a week due to an injury suffered against Washington last week. Hornqvist, 31, has been replaced in the lineup by rookie Zachary Aston-Reese. However, it is Jake Guentzel who will now man the front of the net whenever Pittsburgh has the man advantage. This could be a golden opportunity for Guentzel to snap out of his scoring slump.
5. Brian Elliott, G, Flyers (returning from a lower-body injury)
The Flyers are welcoming veteran Elliott back in the lineup this week, after the 32-year-old puck-stopper missed Philadelphia's last four games due to his lower-body ailment. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Flyers went 0-3-1 during Elliot's absence. Michal Neuvirth has struggled to pick up the slack lately, while third stringer Alex Lyon did not fare well in his first taste of the NHL. Elliott fantasy owners should feel confident moving forward.
6. Conor Sheary, RW/LW, Penguins (lower-body injury, IR)
Like teammate Hornqvist, Sheary is going to miss time due to a lower-body ailment. While Sheary was not seeing much action on the Penguins' vaunted power play, he had been playing with captain Sidney Crosby lately. That job now belongs to Bryan Rust, whose recent offensive outburst was mostly done from the fourth line. Now promoted, can Rust prove (once and for all) that he is a legitimate, top-six winger in the NHL?
7. Sam Gagner, C/W, Canucks (concussion, out indefinitely)
Another player dealing with a concussion lately, Gagner's absence hurts both himself and the Canucks franchise. That's because the slick playmaker was a potential trade target of several contending teams looking for center help. Now, this injury complicates matters. The Canucks will probably hold onto Gagner at this point. The likes of Brendan Gaunce, Nic Dowd and Markus Granlund should see more ice time with Gagner out.
8. Jimmy Vesey, RW/LW, Rangers (concussion, day to day)
Like teammate Pavel Buchnevich, Vesey is currently dealing with his own concussion issue. He missed his first game against Dallas on Monday and might miss several more games. It has been a rough sophomore campaign for the 24-year-old Vesey, as he continues to fight the inconsistency tag. The Rangers, who are fading from the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, may become sellers prior to the February 26 trade deadline.
9. Adam Lowry, C, Jets (upper-body injury, IR)
Lowry just returned to action last week after missing eight games because of his upper-body injury (which seems to have resurfaced). He has now been placed back on Injured Reserve. With the 24-year-old center out of the lineup once again, Andrew Copp will once again move from left wing to center on the third line during Lowry's absence. The good news for Winnipeg is that No. 1 center Mark Scheifele could be back relatively soon.
10. Anders Bjork, LW/RW, Bruins (upper-body injury, IR)
A preseason Calder trophy candidate, Bjork began 2017-18 on Boston's No. 1 line alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. However, he failed to cement that role, was injured in mid-November, was demoted to the AHL in early January and has spent a few games in the press box as a healthy scratch. Now he is injured again. The 21-year-old winger might not be much of a fantasy factor this season but remember him for next year.