NHL Injuries Mounting to Key Players

NHL injuries
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 09: Pittsburgh Penguins Center Sidney Crosby (87) grimaces with an apparent injury after getting hit by Chicago Blackhawks Defenseman Erik Gustafsson (56) (not pictured) during the third period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks on November 9, 2019, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It’s been quite obvious to those following the NHL injuries this season that key players are being eliminated from rosters on a regular basis. Therefore, this can and will affect the success of a team even if they can seem to go forward without key players performing game after game.

Key NHL Players Falling to Injuries

Key players fall to injury, it’s nothing new or alarming. This season which is just half over… has shown multiple injuries to key players. Key players at times decide the outcome of any game. Here’s a list of injuries for each team. It’s exhaustive.

Team Player Position Injury date I.R. Date back
ANA Patrick Eaves RW 9/29/2019   X Out season
Derek Grant C 12/19/2019   X Late Jan
Ryan Kesler C 9/29/2019   X Out season
Nick Ritchie LW 12/8/2019   X Mid Feb
Troy Terry RW 12/31/2019   X Early March
ARI Niklas Hjalmarsson D 10/12/2019   X Mid Jan
Darcy Kuemper G 12/19/2019   X Wk-to-Wk
BOS Torey Krug D 12/23/2019   X 1/2/2020
Charlie McAvoy D 12/27/2019   X Indefinite
BUF Jeff Skinner LW/C 12/28/2019   X Indefinite
Vladimir Sobotka C 11/9/2019   X Indefinite
CAL No Injuries
CAR No Injuries
CHI Drake Caggiula LW 11/23/2019   X Indefinite
Calvin de Haan D 12/11/2019   X Indefinite
Brent Seabrook D 12/26/2019   X Out season
Andrew Shaw C 12/2/2019   X Indefinite
Brandon Saad LW 12/26/2019   X Mid Jan
COL Josh Anderson RW 12/16/2019   X Indefinite
Gabriel Landeskog LW 10/27/2019   X Missed 16 games
Mikko Rantanen RW 10/22/2019   X Missed 16 games
CBJ Josh Anderson RW 12/16/2019   X Late Jan
Cam Atkinson RW 12/19/2019   X Mid Jan
Oliver Bjorkstrand RW 12/22/2019   X Early Feb
Joonas Korpisalo G 12/30/2019   X Mid Feb
Ryan Murray D 12/16/2019   X Indefinite
Alexandre Texier C 1/1/2020   X Indefinite
DAL Martin Hanzal C 12/21/2018   X Out season
DET Jonathan Ericsson D 12/16/2019   X Indefinite
Danny DeKeyser D 10/25/2019   X Out season
Anthony Mantha RW 12/22/2019   X Late Jan
Henrik Zetterberg C 10/8/2019   X Out season
EDM Matt Benning D 11/19/2019   X No return date
FLA No Injuries
LAK Trevor Lewis C 12/21/2019   X Indefinite
Alec Martinez D 11/26/2019   X Indefinite
MIN Jason Zucker LW 12/17/2019   X Late Jan
MTL Joel Armia RW 12/23/2019   X Indefinite
Paul Byron C/LW 11/29/2019   X Indefinite
Jonathan Drouin LW 11/16/2019   X Late Jan
Matthew Peca C/LW 12/12/2019   X Late Jan
Brendan Gallagher RW 1/2/2020   X Indefinite
NSH Colton Sissons C 12/28/2019   X Indefinite
NJD Matt Tennyson D 12/5/2019   X Indefinite
NYI Cal Clutterbuck RW 12/22/2019   X Indefinite
NYR No Injuries
OTT Anders Nilsson G 12/22/2019   X Indefinite
Bobby Ryan RW 11/20/2019   X Indefinite
PHI Oskar Lindblom LW 12/15/2019   X Out season
PIT Nick Bjugstad C 11/21/2019   X Mid Jan
Sidney Crosby C 11/10/2019   X Mid Jan
Jake Guentzel LW 12/31/2019   X Out season
Evgeni Malkin C 10/6/2019   X Missed 13 games
Justin Schultz D 12/19/2019   X Mid Jan
SJS No Injuries
STL Vladimir Tarasenko RW 10/28/2019   X Early Apr
TBL No Injuries
TOR David Clarkson RW 10/1/2019   X Out season
Andreas Johnsson LW 12/6/2019   X Indefinite
Trevor Moore LW 12/29/2019   X Indefinite
Jake Muzzin D 12/31/2019   X Indefinite
VAN Micheal Ferland LW 12/14/2019   X Mid Jan
VGK Cody Eakin C 12/1/2019   X Indefinite
WPG Nathan Beaulieu D 1/2/2020   X Early Feb
Dustin Byfuglien D 11/3/2019   X Indefinite* *Suspension
Andrew Copp C 12/3/2019   X Mid Jan
Mark Letestu C 10/31/2019   X Indefinite
Bryan Little C 11/8/2019   X Indefinite

 

Players Are Falling Like Flies

Some teams have managed to lose key players and still compete very well. Take the Pittsburgh Penguins for example. They lost Evgeni Malkin for 16 games and didn’t fall apart. Then, they lost Sidney Crosby which everyone thought would be the universe crumbling… but not so.

This may sound ridiculous, but the Pens were 10-6-1 before Crosby fell to injury. Since then, the team has gone 14-5-1. Go figure.

Then, recently they lost the services of a significant offensive weapon when Jake Guentzel was lost for the season. That one may really sting.

With injuries, teams either come together and play by committee or fall down, never to get back up. A perfect example of that was the Arizona Coyotes last season who had so many key players fall to injury they were written off as a playoff team. Well, they stuck together and almost pulled it off falling short by four points to get to the postseason.

Again, the Coyotes have seen significant players go on the injured reserve list. First, it was Niklas Hjalmarsson who has yet to return but may be close. He has only played four games yet his team has been ranked near the top of the NHL for defensive prowess.

Then, recently Darcy Kuemper fell to injury and he had been playing very well in net. The Coyotes had to rely on Antti Raanta and Adin Hill, and after a rough three-game losing spell may be back to staying in the tough competitive Pacific Division race. They’ve beaten the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues twice this season.

Other Teams Defeating the Injury Plague

Speaking of the Blues, they’ve done very well without their star forward Vladimir Tarasenko. He may be back to help his team in the playoffs in April and the Blues have persevered without him… what choice did they have?

The Boston Bruins lost their two premier defencemen Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy within four days of each other and getting along without them is not easy. So, over a shorter period of time, the Bruins have managed a 3-0-1 record without both of their excellent defencemen playing. The good news for them is that Krug may be back for their next game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

Another team that has lost a number of players is the Montreal Canadiens. They have lost five forwards and may be looking to add to their roster soon to stay competitive. The most recent player to go down was right-wing Brendan Gallagher. The Habs are still only seven points out of a wild-card spot with 42 games remaining. Jonathan Drouin and Matthew Peca are due back later this month, so they stand a good chance of remaining relevant.

The Winnipeg Jets are also decimated with injuries, as five of their players are not playing. They have also remained in the hunt residing in the first wild-card spot of the Western Conference even though short-handed.

In Closing

The game is getting faster, and players are bigger than ever so injuries will always be part of the game. The integral element of how each team handles the injuries is the key to success. The coaches need to do some nifty juggling of lineups and calling young players up to fill spots vacated by excessive injuries. Sometimes you find a jewel in the rough as the Coyotes did last season when they called up Conor Garland from the AHL. He now leads the team in goals with 14.

Players who get hurt may not be in shape when they come to camp, or don’t eat right. There can be numerous reasons why an injury occurs.

It’s how a team handles it that matters.

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