2017 Fantasy Hockey Injury Report: November 7
Gabriel Farnesi takes a look around the NHL and gives his take on the top injuries around the league.
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:
Carey Price, G, Canadiens (lower-body injury, day to day)
This injury may explain why the goaltender many regard as the best in the National Hockey League is off to such a horrendous start (11 GP, 3-7-1, 3.77 GAA, .877 Sv%) in 2017-18. Meanwhile, the Canadiens will continue to fill the void with veteran backup Al Montoya and rookie Charlie Lindgren (who is coming off a sterling, shutout performance against the Blackhawks in Chicago). Once healthy, expect Price to get back on track.
Brad Marchand, LW, Bruins (upper-body injury, day to day)
One of the most underrated point producers in the NHL, Marchand was off to another glowing start (12 GP, 8-6-14) this season but is now out of the Bruins lineup. Since Boston had been trying two different right-wingers on their No. 1 line alongside center Patrice Bergeron and Marchand--David Pastrnak and Anders Bjork--both will now get the opportunity to play on the top unit with Marchand out (with Bjork moving over to LW).
Rasmus Ristolainen, D, Sabres (upper-body injury, day to day)
The talented Finn might be Buffalo's most indispensable player: more than center Jack Eichel, goaltender Robin Lehner or center Ryan O'Reilly. That is because the Sabres have no one to take up the slack along the blueline, where Ristolainen had been averaging 27:12 of ice time so far in 2017-18 (second only to Washington's John Carlson). Without him, Russian rookie Victor Antipin stands to gain a lot of ice time (and fantasy value).
Justin Schultz, D, Penguins (returning from a concussion)
The defending Stanley Cup champions have been exposed without Schultz, arguably their best offensive defenseman. During his recent six-game absence, the Pens went 2-3-1 and have looked very lethargic in the process. However, Schultz appears to be on the verge of returning from his concussion. Upon his return, he could get veteran Ian Cole back as his regular partner (and may split top PP QB duties with Kris Letang).
Gustav Forsling, D, Blackhawks (head injury, day to day)
The young Swede was off to a solid start to the 2017-18 campaign and was seeing time on Chicago's second pairing (for the most part). However, the undersized Forsling could miss several more games (he has already been absent for the Blackhawks' last three contests) as he recuperates from his head injury. Without Forsling, the likes of Jan Rutta, Michal Kempny and Cody Franson have all seen an uptick in responsibilities.
Travis Hamonic, D, Flames (lower-body injury, IR)
Yet another solid defenseman who does more than just put up points for his hockey club, Hamonic spent the first 13 games of '17-18 adjusting to the Western Conference (after spending his first seven NHL campaigns with the New York Islanders). He is now out for some time with an injury sustained in practice. Hamonic's injury has opened the door for rookie Swede Rasmus Andersson to get called up. Will Andersson make an impact?
Brett Pesce, D, Hurricanes (concussion, out indefinitely)
Half of Carolina's impressive shutdown pairing (along with Jaccob Slavin), Pesce had only one assist in his first 10 games this season prior to going down with a concussion (he registered 18 assists and 20 points in 2016-17). Pesce's absence will place even more of a burden on Justin Faulk as the team's top right defenseman. He, Slavin and rookie Haydn Fleury should all see an increase in minutes and responsibilities with Pesce out.
David Backes, RW/C, Bruins (colon surgery, IR)
The Bruins are once again forced to play without veteran Backes, who is now out indefinitely following colon surgery. The 33-year-old forward missed eight games due to injury last season--his first in Beantown. Young forwards Danton Heinen, Tim Schaller, Sean Kuraly, Jake Debrusk, Jordan Szwarz and Austin Czarnik are among the players Boston will now look to for secondary scoring. Backes may not have much value left.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D, Sharks (head injury, day to day)
Steady veteran Vlasic has so far missed one game, but is expected to miss a few more (at least) as he recovers from a head injury. A staple on San Jose's top shutdown pairing with Justin Braun, Vlasic also sees time on both special teams and is a quality minute muncher for the Sharks. Rookie Joakim Ryan has done well to pick up some of the slack, especially with fellow left defenseman Paul Martin (ankle, IR) also currently sidelined.
Niklas Hjalmarsson, D, Coyotes (upper-body injury, IR)
Like Hamonic, Pesce and Vlasic, Hjalmarsson is not an offensive juggernaut (but rather a sound defensive presence who can do all of the little things to help his team win games). Unfortunately, Arizona has not won many so far in 2017-18 and the man nicknamed 'Hammer' was off to a rough start with his new team prior to his injury. The three-time Stanley Cup champion with Chicago may offer decent fantasy value later in '17-18.