2018 Fantasy Hockey Injury Report: March 13
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. Brock Boeser, RW, Canucks (back injury, out indefinitely)
It is too bad that Boeser's season appears to be over, since he was having (arguably) the best freshman campaign of any Canuck since fellow winger Pavel Bure (1991-92). The 21-year-old sniper still leads all rookie goal-scorers with 29 tallies and may have done enough to be voted as a Calder trophy finalist. Keeper leaguers should remain excited about Boeser's long-term future in the NHL, but the rest should look to drop him.
2. Mark Scheifele, C, Jets (upper-body injury, day to day)
This is the second time Winnipeg's top center has been sidelined by injury this season. Once again the issue is an upper-body ailment. Are the injuries related? Perhaps, so look for the Jets to take every precaution with their No. 1 pivot between now and the end of the regular season. Therefore, fantasy leaguers should not count on Scheifele's return to action anytime soon. The fantasy value of both Bryan Little and Paul Stastny now rise.
3. Ben Bishop, G, Stars (lower-body injury, day to day)
The Stars are barely hanging onto a Wild Card position in the Western Conference, so losing their No. 1 goaltender this late in the regular season hurts. Backup Kari Lehtonen has now started the last four games (1-2-1) and is doing his best to keep Dallas in playoff position. That said, Bishop will be needed in order for the Stars to secure a place in the postseason dance. For now, Lehtonen becomes a solid replacement, fantasy option.
4. Anthony Duclair, RW/LW, Blackhawks (lower-body injury, out indefinitely)
Injured in a game against Boston recently, Duclair might not be able to return to action before the end of the regular season. That is bad news for Duclair owners, since he was still trying to establish himself as a regular with his new team in Chicago. In 23 games as a Blackhawk, Duclair has posted just two goals and eight points. The 22-year-old Duclair can become a restricted free agent this summer, but has he done enough to re-sign?
5. Antti Raanta, G, Coyotes (lower-body injury, day to day)
This injury is truly terrible timing for Raanta, who won his last three starts before going down to his latest lower-body injury. The Finnish puck-stopper has dealt with both injuries to his lower and upper body this season, so questions about his durability continue to bubble up to the surface. That said, Raanta is a talented netminder when healthy. Arizona recently acquired Darcy Kuemper as insurance, which seems like a great move now.
6. Kyle Okposo, RW, Sabres (concussion, out indefinitely)
So far, Okposo's seven-year, $42 contract (signed in July, 2016) has been an unmitigated disaster for the struggling Sabres. He has gone through injury, illness and even personal problems since coming to Buffalo, and now is battling concussion issues. At 29, Okposo should have plenty of time to recover before the start of 2018-19. That said, concussions can be tricky. Okposo owners should bail on him in all formats (until further notice).
7. Pavel Zacha, C, Devils (upper-body injury, day to day)
New Jersey's two-way Czech center has been a big part of the club's turnaround in 2017-18, but he is now sidelined because of injury. The 20-year-old Zacha has only registered six goals and 19 points in 60 games so far this season, but he has more offensive upside for keeper leaguers. That said, some may decide to drop him after '17-18--especially in shallower leagues. The No. 6 overall pick in 2015 remains somewhat of an enigma.
8. Mark Stone, RW, Senators (leg injury, day to day)
Ottawa's most consistent performer, night in and night out, may (quietly) be having his best NHL campaign amid turmoil and incessant losing this season. It is even more impressive considering that Stone missed nine games earlier in 2017-18 because of a knee problem. With the Senators completely out of the playoff mix this time around, there is little incentive to rush Stone back into the lineup. Fantasy owners need a contingency plan.
9. Martin Hanzal, C, Stars (back injury, out for the rest of the season)
When healthy, Hanzal is a quality player who might even have some decent fantasy value in the right situation. However, he is rarely healthy. The 31-year-old Czech center will be out a long time now as he recuperates from spinal fusion surgery on his back (and he may not even be available when 2018-19 starts). Hanzal's absence may allow veteran center Jason Spezza to finally get out of Ken Hitchcock's dog house in Dallas. Maybe.
10. Dominik Simon, LW, Penguins (lower-body injury, out indefinitely)
The rookie winger was doing his best to remain in the lineup of the two-time, defending Stanley Cup champions prior to going down to injury. Now, Simon is likely to be on the outside looking in when Pittsburgh begins its drive for a three-peat next month. Still, the 23-year-old Simon might have already done enough to be considered a top-nine winger in Pittsburgh moving forward. Drop him in yearly leagues, but Simon might be a keeper.