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. Charlie McAvoy, D, Bruins (sprained knee, out indefinitely)
A potential rookie-of-the-year finalist, McAvoy has been diagnosed with a sprained MCL and will be re-evaluated in four weeks time. That means his status for the rest of the regular season and the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs is now in some doubt. Fantasy leaguers should look elsewhere for help along their blueline because Boston will not take any unnecessary risks with their prodigal rearguard. This is a tough blow for the Bruins.
2. Max Pacioretty, LW, Canadiens (knee injury, out indefinitely)
The season from hell for the Canadiens captain is now likely over, as Pacioretty suffered a knee injury last week against the New York Islanders that is expected to sideline him for 4-6 weeks. In other words, season over for No. 67. The question now becomes: has Pacioretty played his last game as a member of the Habs? Trade rumors swirled around him throughout '17-18, and the expectation is that he will be moved during the draft.
3. Roman Josi, D, Predators (upper-body injury, day to day)
The Predators are being somewhat coy with regards to Josi's injury (at first, they reported that he was sitting out for 'rest purposes'. Later, they acknowledged he is suffering from an upper-body ailment). This might not be good news for either Nashville or Josi fantasy owners. While his long-term prognosis still appears to be fine, he may not play much during the Preds' final 17 games of the regular season. They need him ready for the playoffs.
4. Luke Kunin, RW/C, Wild (torn ACL, out for the rest of the season)
This one has keeper-league ramifications, though it is probably not much of a factor for the rest of the '17-18 fantasy hockey season. A quality prospect who can play either wing or center, Kunin is expected to need seven months to recover after surgery. That means his status for the start of 2018-19 is now up in the air, making him a very risky player to keep during the off-season. At this point, keeper leaguers should start looking elsewhere.
5. Colin Wilson, RW/LW, Avalanche (concussion, day to day)
The Avalanche have surprised most hockey pundits this season with their quality play amid a slew of injury problems. Wilson is merely the latest after missing Sunday's important contest against Nashville (his former team) because of his concussion issue. The 28-year-old has been a versatile forward for Colorado coach Jared Bednar this season, though his point production has not been great. His fantasy value has all but disappeared.
6. Jan Rutta, D, Blackhawks (lower-body injury, day to day)
The first-year Czech rearguard has now missed 11 of Chicago's last 13 games because of his lower-body ailment. In fact, he returned a few days before the February 26 trade deadline (perhaps with the hope of being moved to a contender). However, Rutta stayed put and was placed back on the injured list. Clearly, he was/is not healthy enough to help in a playoff chase and, at this point, may be shut down for the rest of the regular season.
7. Sven Baertschi, LW, Canucks (shoulder injury, out indefinitely)
It has been a rough campaign for the slick, Swiss winger in 2017-18. Baertschi missed 11 games in December because of a fractured jaw, and then was a healthy scratch once in mid-February. Now, he is expected to miss the rest of the regular season because of a painful shoulder injury that may need surgery in the off-season. Baertschi remains a fantasy sleeper heading into 2018-19, but his breakthrough potential has taken a big hit.
8. Victor Mete, D, Canadiens (fractured finger, out indefinitely)
The rookie journey has ended for Mete, who is expected to miss the rest of the regular season after fracturing his finger last week. He surprised many by cracking Montreal's roster after training camp at age 19, and then was a standout performer in helping Team Canada earn a gold medal at the 2018 WJC. Upon his return to the NHL, Mete has looked like a seasoned veteran on many nights. He now has some deep keeper-league appeal.
9. Jay Bouwmeester, D, Blues (hip injury, out for the rest of the season)
Remember when 'J-Bo' was one of the National Hockey League's 'Ironmen' (a player who never missed a game)? That now seems like a long time ago, as Bouwmeester's '17-18 campaign is over after just 35 games. The 34-year-old veteran started the season on the wrong foot with an ankle injury that forced him to miss 21 games. Then he missed nine more with an undisclosed issue and even missed one game for personal reasons.
10. Zachary Aston-Reese, LW, Penguins (upper-body injury, out indefinitely)
It is too bad that the rookie winger got hurt when he did, because Aston-Reese was starting to establish himself as a presence in front of the opposing goal. His grit, penalty-killing skills and skill came in handy during his first 10 NHL contests. The 23-year-old could still become a factor for the two-time, defending Stanley Cup champions this spring, but his fantasy season is now all but lost. Aston-Reese owners should now consider dropping him.