Just what the doctor ordered for the start of your stretch run, there’s a bunch of key guys out with injuries and almost no one who can replace them. We all knew about Sergei Bobrovsky‘s injury going into the break, but the big news is that Kyle Okposo is going to be out for the next two months with an upper-body injury. The Isles are mum on what exactly happened to Okie, but some fan accounts say it’s likely a wrist problem. That sounds terrible. This is terrible and there’s no replacing him. Ryan Strome might get a shot at the top line, Brock Nelson could see a promotion and Mikhail Grabovski is on his way back to the lineup after missing some time with an injury, but regardless of who ends up playing on John Tavares‘ wing, the slot isn’t going to provide the value boost to whomever gets the bump up without Okie there. Josh Bailey and his newfound value also take a hit here, as defenses will be able to clamp down on him and he’s going to lose the space that Okie and JT created for him, which was a large part of his recent success. All in all this is a crushing blow for the Isles and fantasy owners alike. All you can do is stash him on IR and hope for a speedy recovery, but if it’s his wrist, and that two month timeline is because he needs to recover from surgery we’re in trouble fellow Okie owners. Even if he does get back before the playoffs if he has to shake off rust, get back into game shape and get his shot mechanics back to normal there just isn’t going to be enough time for him to get back up to full speed and his value will be nil for the rest of this season. If that isn’t enough to start your week with a “Dammit all!” here’s the skinny on a few more key guys who are down for a while with injuries:
Sergei Bobrovsky is officially on IR and out 4-6 weeks. Curtis McElhinney is garbage and even if he starts out as the starter, it’s only a matter of time before he rides the pine in favor of 20-year-old Anton Forsberg who has been stellar in the AHL this season posting a line of 18-7-1/2.04/.927% in 27 games. There’s no telling how good or bad Forsberg will be, but his AHL numbers do bring some hope with his recall to big ice. He did get a few starts this year but he got rocked by the Lightening and chased after one period of play coughing up four goals on 15 shots and then took another loss, but this time lasted the entire game at least, surrendering three goals on 29 shots to the Devils. To be fair, both of those starts occurred back in early November when half the Jackets’ key guys were on IR, so there’s that variable to consider. Honestly, I don’t expect much out of Forsberg, but he’s definitely worth adding in most leagues if you need help in the crease.
Dion Phaneuf is out and considered “week-to-week” with an undisclosed upper body injury. Like Okie’s mystery ailment, there’s little info on what exactly happened to Dion and what part of his upper body it happened to. Suffice it to say it’s not a good sign when a guy is “week-to-week.” I don’t know if you have IR+ slots in your league, but I hope you do, because it sounds like Dion should head to the IR but will likely languish as DTD status for a bit. Hopefully he recovers soon.
Kevin Bieksa is also out for 6-8 weeks after surgery to repair an ‘effed up hand. That’s not nearly as crushing as the rest of these injuries, but it sucks to lose any of your guys for a couple months.