In this weeks edition of Carried Off the Ice, there are updates on players who will return from injury shortly and provide the same boost as if the team traded for a player.
Get the stretcher (latest injuries):
Patrice Bergeron suffered a concussion Tuesday night, and this is his fourth concussion. He was centering the second line with Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin, and was enjoying a career season (per game pace, at least) as he has 31 points in 35 games. That production rate is 10% higher then his previous career high set last year. With Bergeron out expect the Boston Bruins to move Seguin from the right wing to center and the newly acquired Jaromir Jagr to line up on the second line.
Sidney Crosby is out indefinitely after taking a Brooks Orpik shot off his jaw. He is now out of the hospital after having surgery to repair his broken jaw. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review quoted GM Ray Shero stating “they expect to have a better idea of his (Crosby) timeline later this week.” It’s entirely possible he is done for the season (regular).
This injury has scary implications for Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins and fantasy owners, as there is potential for a concussion; this would be his third in three years. The good news is that he has yet to show any signs of a concussion but there is still a possibility. Once he starts working out concussion symptoms might start to appear. Keep a close eye on his progress.
Jaroslav Halak left Monday’s game with a lower body injury, likely in the groin area. Halak is probably gone three to four weeks but the St. Louis Blues have a ton of goalie depth as proven by the solid play of rookie Jake Allen and last season’s Jenning’s Trophy winner Brian Elliott. Halak has struggled this season, as this is his fourth lower body injury this season. Both Halak and Elliott have one year left on their contracts and Allen is showing his is ready to take on a bigger role so expect either Halak or Elliott to be moved this off-season.
Ryan Kesler had another scan on his broken foot on Monday according to the Vancouver Province. He was diagnosed to be out four to six weeks and now in week four reports on twitter are saying that he is fully healed. Jay Janower of Global BC News tweeted that “Kesler arrived at the rink, no limp, no crutches but does not have a time frame for when he will skate with the team.” This is great news for the Vancouver Canucks who only made the one move at the deadline.
Vancouver added Derek Roy to address their need for depth at the center position. Roy is just 5’9” and 184 lbs. but is a solid playmaking center that will play on the second line and provide the Canucks depth at center once Kesler returns. Read Dobber’s Fantasy Take on the addition of Roy.
Canucks needed to add size this trade deadline and they didn’t so they are counting on Kesler returning soon to add the toughness and grit they are missing in their top six forwards.
Joni Pitkanen will be out for the season after breaking his heel bone Tuesday night against the Washington Capitals. He was injured will attempting to touch the puck on an icing call (enough is enough NHL get no-touch icing in the rules). Watch the video and you will see Pitkanen wasn’t even hit on the play; just fell wrong into the boards. This is a senseless play that I have written about now in two straight columns as David Booth was hurt on an icing play and is out for the season.
The Carolina Hurricanes have been hit hard with some key injuries this past month and this is Pitkanen’s third injury this season. This is an opportunity for Jamie McBain to find his game, he has zero points in the last 13 games played but he has an offensive upside. McBain is coming off of back-to-back 25+ point seasons and needs to find his way back on to the power play and scoresheet.
Paul Martin underwent wrist surgery and looks like he will be out between four to six weeks. Martin was enjoying a return to offensive glory this season, tying career high six goals and set career high 0.64 points per game.
With Kris Letang injured already, it is Matt Niskanen that is now the Pens number one defenseman. He has just 10 points this season and has yet to show the same offensive production from the 2007-08 or 2008-09 seasons. On Wednesday Niskanen played on the second pairing but lined up on the top power play unit.
Andrej Meszaros is another player who missed the start of the season to recover from an injury only to return and suffer another major injury. He injured his shoulder Tuesday night and will need surgery to repair the torn rotator cuff. Meszaros won’t be returning this season and could be healthy in time for training camp.
The Philadelphia Flyers have had their defence decimated this year and last week Braydon Coburn left the game with a shoulder injury and is out indefinitely. The only fantasy option from the blue line for the Flyers is Kimmo Timonen.
Pull Off the Band-Aid (poised for a return to action):
The Chicago Blackhawks were relatively quiet on trade deadline as they have two superstars getting very close to returning to the ice. Getting Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp back healthy is like adding two top six forwards without giving up anything. Jeremy Morin and Jimmy Hayes lost their spots in the show to make room for Hossa and Dave Bolland. Now that’s a great trade for the Hawks.
Hossa will return to the line up Thursday according to the Chicago Tribune. He has been out since March 18 with a shoulder injury. Hossa is an elite two-way winger who has 13 goals and 23 points this season in 28 games, and he will bounce Michael Frolik from the top line.
Sharp has missed 12 games already due to a shoulder injury and won’t play Thursday but he is getting very close to returning. Chicago Tribune reported that Sharp has been skating for three weeks and can shoot the puck under control and is getting very close to getting into a game. He has been a consistent offensive threat for Chicago and will push Bolland down to the third line.
The Detroit Red Wings did nothing on trade deadline but have several top nine forwards getting very close to getting into the line-up. Todd Bertuzzi, Darren Helm and Mikael Samuelsson are all day-to-day and could join the team in the next week or so. These three veterans have played a combined 11 games this season but bring a combined 32 years experience. Being able to get these players back will give Detroit the depth they are use to having on their top three lines.
Bertuzzi is not expected to play in either Thursday or Friday’s game but he is making progress and has resumed contact drills at practice, so says the Detroit Free Press. He is travelling with the team, which is a good sign that he is close. Funny tweet from Helene St. James “Johan Franzen on having Todd Bertuzzi practice again: “He tried to take my spot in front of the net. I told him to beat it.”
Helm is so vital to Detroit’s success as he has so many intangibles that make them a better team. He has been out with a torn ligament in his back and it was thought that he was close but has suffered a set back. As of Wednesday he has been cleared to push harder in rehab but has no timetable for a return; the hope is he is back in time for playoffs. He has little fantasy value in standard pools but he makes life easier for all of the other elite stars on his team.
Samuelsson got back into the line-up for Detroit on Sunday but that was short lived as he left the second period with an upper body injury. No word yet as to the seriousness of his new injury so for now he is day-to-day.
Detroit has a couple stars dealing with minor injuries as Henrik Zetterberg has been out with a groin injury and expects to play Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes. Damien Brunner is dealing with an undisclosed injury and is hoping to play Thursday as well.
As long as Detroit can keep their playoff spot and get healthy they will be a threat to do damage in playoffs. The Wings may not be considered one of the top contenders but you can never count them out, especially with all that playoff experience that they have.
Craig Anderson has missed about a month due to an ankle injury and with the Ottawa Senators trading away Ben Bishop at the deadline that leaves Robin Lehner as the only active goalie on the roster. Ian Mendes of Sportsnet tweeted “Craig Anderson is healthy & ready to play now according to GM Bryan Murray.” The Ottawa Citizen also reported that Anderson might start as soon as Friday against the Buffalo Sabres.
Kris Letang has been out eight days with a broken toe. His original diagnose was 7-10 days back on March 27 so he should be getting close. He is skating with conditioning coach but nothing concrete has been stated as for a return. The Penguins could really use Letang now with Martin going down, as they no longer have a proven power play quarterback.