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|
|Calvin de Haan||D||12/11/2019||X||Indefinite|
|Brent Seabrook||D||12/26/2019||X||Out season|
|Brandon Saad||LW||12/26/2019||X||Mid Jan|
|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|
|DAL||Martin Hanzal||C||12/21/2018||X||Out season|
|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|
|MIN||Jason Zucker||LW||12/17/2019||X||Late Jan|
|Jonathan Drouin||LW||11/16/2019||X||Late Jan|
|Matthew Peca||C/LW||12/12/2019||X||Late Jan|
|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|
|STL||Vladimir Tarasenko||RW||10/28/2019||X||Early Apr|
|TOR||David Clarkson||RW||10/1/2019||X||Out season|
|VAN||Micheal Ferland||LW||12/14/2019||X||Mid Jan|
|WPG||Nathan Beaulieu||D||1/2/2020||X||Early Feb|
|Andrew Copp||C||12/3/2019||X||Mid Jan|
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.
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.
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.