The Bad News
Henrik Zetterberg owners will have to learn to get on without him for some time, as it was announced this week that the Detroit Red Wings winger’s back injury caused him to be moved to the long-term injured list. Therefore, he won’t be eligible to return to the lineup until Dec. 28.
The last time Vincent Lecavalier played something resembling a full season was the 2009-10 campaign, one in which he suited up in all 82 games (and totaled 70 points) for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Injuries continue to be an issue for him, as the Philadelphia Flyers forward is expected to miss the next few weeks with a non-displaced fracture in his back. Lecavalier, who has missed 44 games over the course of the past three years, is struggling to stay healthy during his inaugural year with the Flyers.
Corey Crawford will miss the next three weeks or so due to a lower-body ailment. Meanwhile, fellow Chicago Blackhawks netminder Nikolai Khabibulin has only appeared in four games this season and hasn’t seen any action since the middle of November. However, he is well on his way toward returning from a lower-body injury. This means Antti Raanta looks like the primary backup to Corey Crawford right now, and there’s no reason to think a healthy Khabibulin will be a useful fantasy option once he and/or Crawford gets healthy.
Ilya Bryzgalov’s return to fantasy relevance has been kind of unbelievable. But here we are. However, he of the .939 save percentage on the season (albeit in four games) is recovering from a concussion he sustained more than a week ago. There is no timetable for his return, but it is reasonable to suggest the Edmonton Oilders goaltender will be able to get back in the lineup by the end of the month.
Ryane Clowe has been out of the New Jersey Devils lineup for the better part of two months due to a concussion. However, there is no indication the veteran winger is ready to return at any point in the near future.
It seems likely Nashville forward Filip Forsberg will spend the rest of the 2013-14 campaign in the AHL. Forsberg, who was acquired from the New Jersey Devils this past offseason, is recovering from an upper-body injury. The plan is for him to be sent down once he’s healthy. Forsberg (who was five points in 12 games) is a legitimate Calder Trophy candidate for the 2014-15 campaign.
There is no reason to think Vancouver defenseman Alex Edler will be able to overcome a recent lower-body injury and return to the lineup at any point in the near future. He’s been a frustrating player to own due to his ever-fluctuating offensive production, so it’s probably beneficial for fantasy owners to look elsewhere for points on the blue line. He has been replaced by Andrew Alberts for now.
No news on Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick (other than that he was moved from the injured list to the long-term injured list). It’s reasonable to suggest Quick will be ready to return to the lineup around the first of the year. Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones will continue to receive starts in net for the Kings in Quick’s absence.
Alex Tanguay suffered a (significant) setback in his recovery from a knee injury that has kept the Colorado Avalanche winger out of commission since early November. Tanguay, who has seen action in just 13 games in his inaugural campaign with the Avs, is dealing with a hip injury now. There is no timetable for his return to the lineup.
Martin Havlat’s out (again). The veteran winger sustained an undisclosed injury late last week.
The Good News
Fans of the Columbus Blue Jackets and fantasy owners invested in Nathan Horton continue to wait for him to recover from offseason shoulder surgery. Thankfully, it shouldn’t be too long until Horton begins contact drills. Mid-January seems like a likely time period for him to make his season debut.
So much for a late December return… Preseason fantasy sleeper an Anaheim Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg, who is recovering from a broken hand, practiced with the team this week. As a result, it looks like the 23-year-old could return to the lineup in the next few games. Nothing is for sure at this point in time, so be sure to keep an eye on how things develop in the coming days.
Marek Zidlicky only was forced to miss one game due to an upper-body injury. The veteran blueliner was sidelined for Saturday’s game against the New York Rangers, but was back for Tuesday evening’s road tilt against Columbus. He’s safe to use again.
The Toronto Maple Leafs received a boost to their top six when winger Joffrey Lupul returned to the lineup Wednesday night. Lupul played more than 18 minutes and took four shots on goal. He’s safe to be used by fantasy owners.
Derek Morris missed two straight games for personal reasons. However, he should return to the Phoenix Coyotes lineup in short order.