Contributed by Philip Barrington
Okay, let’s get down to business! Here are the latest injuries in the NHL.
Teemu Selanne (Anaheim Ducks) (16g, 7a, 23 pts)
Selanne needs some horseshoes or some rabbit’s feet right now because he cannot catch a break. Three games in from returning from a hand injury, Selanne was the recipient of a Ryan Whitney slapshot in his jaw. Selanne met with his oral surgeon and is hoping that the bands in his jaw can be moved at some point this week. He is targeting a return to the Ducks’ lineup during their current six game road trip, but I would suggest that fantasy owners bench him for the time being. Let’s hope that he will be ready to play after the Olympic hockey tournament. In terms of a replacement, Dan Sexton is a player who should benefit from the additional icetime on the second line with Saku Koivu and Bobby Ryan.
Marc Savard (Boston Bruins) (9g, 13a, 22 pts)
Fantasy owners should be excited with the news that Savard participated in a full practice on Monday. Since all went well, Savard believes that he should be fit to play on Friday. He was centering a line with Miroslav Satan and Daniel Paille during Monday’s practice. Savard is a playmaker and a top-flight center, and with the addition of a goal scorer like Satan, albeit an aging goal scorer, the two could develop into a formidable duo. Fantasy owners need to watch how Savard responds to his first on-ice contact to ensure whether the knee is 100 percent healthy and to see if Satan and Savard are on the same page offensively.
Milan Hejduk (Colorado Avalanche) (15g, 15a, 30 pts)
Hejduk had successful arthroscopic surgery to clear bone chips from his right knee last week. He is expected to return to the Avs’ lineup after the Olympics. Hedjuk is a streaky scorer and he was in a bit of a scoring slumber since he had not scored a goal since December 26. However, Hedjuk is still a top-six forward for the Avalanche, and when he returns, he will continue to be a fixture on the number one line and power-play unit. Stash Hedjuk on your bench for the time being until after the Olympics.
Mike Ribeiro (Dallas Stars) (10g, 23a, 33 pts)
Ribeiro underwent surgery to repair a throat contusion, which also included his tracheotomy. While Ribeiro was not having the best of seasons with 33 points in 43 games, he was a solid fantasy forward and has been missed in many fantasy lineups. Stash him on your bench for the time being, and if you are looking for a replacement, Jamie Benn or James Neal would be good options to consider in your lineups if they are available on the waiver wire.
Niklas Kronwall (Detroit Red Wings) (5g, 8a, 13 pts)
Kronwall is expected to return the Wings’ lineup on Tuesday against the Coyotes. Kronwall has been out with a knee injury since November 21. This is a huge lift for the Wings, but this is even bigger news for fantasy owners. Kronwall will anchor the second unit power-play and will potentially play 20 to 25 minutes per game. Kronwall was heating up offensively before his injury. If he is available in your league, pick him up immediately and insert him into your lineup.
Nathan Horton (Florida Panthers) (17g, 29a, 46 pts)
Horton will be sidelined for the next four to six weeks with a fractured tibia. Florida GM Randy Sexton stated that Horton will not require any surgery and part of his recovery time will occur during the Olympic break. Horton was having a fabulous season and it looked like he was breaking out as a solid offensive player. This is still a big blow for fantasy owners, so bench him for the time being and hopefully after the Olympic break concludes, Horton should be ready to return to the Panthers’ lineup.
Patrik Elias (New Jersey Devils) (10g, 16a, 26 pts)
Elias has been out of the Devils’ lineup due to a concussion. The team has made it aware that Elias is feeling better, but he has not resumed skating to date. He is a solid fantasy player, but as fantasy owners should know, the recovery time for concussions varies depending on the player. Some players recover quite quickly like Jonathan Toews, or some take a much longer time to recover like David Booth. There is no timetable yet, so fantasy owners should just bench Elias and wait for further news on when Elias will start skating lightly.
Pascal Leclaire (Ottawa Senators) (11-10-1 3.07 GAA, .890 SV% and 0 SO)
Leclaire skated on his own before Monday’s practice, but the team has not set a date on when he will return to the Senators’ lineup. However, Mike Brodeur and Brian Elliott have played extremely well during Leclaire’s absence. The Senators are currently on a six-game winning streak and if Elliott continues his strong play, then Leclaire may be in for a goaltending battle when he gets back. Leclaire is a solid number two goaltender in any fantasy lineup, but remember that Steve Mason’s strong play facilitated the Blue Jackets trading Leclaire to Ottawa and the same could happen here for the Senators. It may not happen this year, but this is a situation that fantasy owners need to monitor carefully because Elliott could end up sharing the number one duties with Leclaire.
Chris Kunitz (Pittsburgh Penguins) (6g, 14a, 20 pts)
Kunitz underwent surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle. He had already missed 14 games in November and December before this injury. He is not expected to return until after the Olympics, however, stash him on your bench because he once he returns he will most likely find himself on a line with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. With 20 points in 30 games, Kunitz is a serviceable forward on any fantasy lineup.
That is all for now. Enjoy the Olympics!