Let’s check in on the latest fantasy hockey injuries…
The Bad News
Minnesota netminder Niklas Backstrom left Wedensday evening’s game against Toronto with a head injury sustained from a high hit dished out by Nazem Kadri. The severity of the injury remains to be seen. Josh Harding replaced Backstrom in net and earned the victory.
Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick is dealing with either a groin injury or a hamstring injury. Either way, it’s a safe bet he won’t be playing over the course of the next few days. This gives Jonathan Ber… Wait, never mind. Ben Scrivens got the start Tuesday night in Quick’s absence.
It hasn’t been easy being a Rick Nash owner this season. The high-scoring New York Rangers winger has seen action in just three games in 2013, the last being on Oct. 8. Nash is currently working his way back from a concussion, and his recovery took a promising step forward when it was announced he took part in his first practice in more than month on Wednesday. Oh, but he wore a non-contact jersey. It’s a step in the right direction, but a return does not appear imminent.
In case you haven’t had access to a television, computer or mobile device for the past several days, all-world Tampa Bay Lighting forward Steven Stamkos is out for the season with a broken tibia. Check out Dobber’s reaction piece on the Stamkos injury to find out who will step up their production in the absence of Stamkos.
Pekka Rinne’s hip infection and recent hip scope have knocked him out of the lineup for the foreseeable future, but Nashville’s franchise netminder is recovering well. There is no timetable for his return. Carter Hutton has seen the majority of starts in net for Nashville in Rinne’s absence, but he has struggled mightily. Rinne’s return can’t come soon enough.
A foot injury caused Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter to miss a game earlier this week. It’s been described as “nagging,” so it’s fair to wonder whether he’ll miss a bit more time.
Good news: Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner has nine points in 10 games played this season. Bad news: The Hurricanes have played 18 games and Skinner hasn’t seen action for the squad since Oct. 24. His “upper-body injury” has been lingering for a while, but it looks like the talented (but oft-injured) forward may practice as soon as this Friday.
Paul Martin missed the past two games with some sort of undisclosed lower-body injury. No word as of yet when the veteran blueliner will return to the lineup.
The Colorado Avalanche will determine if veteran forward Alex Tanguay will need to undergo surgery on his ailing knee, which has caused him to miss nearly two weeks of action. The decision should be made in the next day or so. Tanguay has nine points in 13 games for the Avs this season, his first with the team.
Not that he’s been particularly effective in his inaugural campaign in Detroit, but veteran center Stephen Weiss will be unable to go for the Red Wings for another week or 10 days. Weiss has been out of the lineup since Nov. 7, but he wasn’t providing much of anything of fantasy value prior to suffering a groin injury.
Brent Burns hasn’t played in almost a month, but he’s getting close to making a return to action. He continues to skate with his teammates in practice, but there’s no telling when he’ll actually be ready to play.
The Good News
Fantasy owners frustrated by the upper-body injury that kept Detroit Red Wings winger Johan Franzen out for five games can breathe a sigh of relief. Franzen was able to return to the lineup Tuesday. He’s having a tough go of it thus far this year, but Franzen could still flirt with 25 goals this season.
Craig Anderson has been dealing with a troublesome neck injury, which has opened the door for Robin Lehner to seize playing time in net for the Ottawa Senators. Anderson has seen action in just two games during the month of November, but he received a vote of confidence from Sens coach Paul MacLean as the squad’s top option at goalie.
Remember Viktor Fasth? He’s been assigned to the AHL to work on his conditioning while he continues to recover from a lower-body injury sustained in mid-October. The Anaheim Ducks netminder’s services aren’t really needed right now with the NHL club, so it’s best he takes the time to hone his craft in Norfolk.
Steve Downie was cleared to return from a concussion and saw action for the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday evening. The veteran winger is safe to use in deeper formats.
Carolina Hurricanes reserve netminder Anton Khudobin looks to be about a week away from returning to practice.
Saturday seems to be a potential return date for injured New York Islanders winger Thomas Vanek. He’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Lee Stempniak is back. The veteran winger for the Calgary Flames missed seven games with a broken foot. He was off to a great start prior to the untimely foot injury (9 points in 10 games).
Beau Bennett was a popular sleeper candidate this season, but a lingering lower-body has derailed him recent weeks. While he played just 11 minutes in his return to the lineup Saturday (seeing most of his action on the same line as Brandon Sutter and Matt D’Agostini), Bennett could be able to crack Pittsburgh’s top six sooner rather than later. That may mean minutes on the same line as Evgeni Malkin and James Neal. Keep an eye on how the Pens are employing the 21-year-old winger in the coming days to see if he finds himself in a fantasy-friendly role once again.
Underrated for fantasy, Radim Vrbata scored 28 points in 34 games a season ago and is just two years removed from a 35-goal season. However, he’s missed the past two games with a lower-body injury. That being said, there was a possibility he would play Tuesday night. He should return to the lineup soon.
If you are in a deep league, keep in mind Daniel Briere just returned to the lineup after missing time with a concussion. Expectations should be limited for the ever-declining veteran, but he’s still a useful depth player for fantasy.
A lower-body injury caused Buffalo Sabres blueliner Christian Ehrhoff to miss last Saturday’s game, but he was able to return to action Tuesday evening.
Evander Kane’s upper-body injury cost him two games, but the Winnipeg winger was able to return to action Friday evening. Kane’s a tremendous young player who continues to improve in his age-22 season and could break out at any moment. He’s been banged up at times this year, but he looks like he’s fine moving forward.