Saturday, February 22, 2014

Player Notes in the Draft (Feb 22)

The Columbus Blue Jackets will be another team that will be welcoming home an injured player from the Olympic Games in Sochi, as Russian defenseman Fedor Tyutin suffered an ankle injury, which is expected to keep him on the shelf for the next 2-to-3 weeks.  There is no question that there is risk involved when sending players to play their sport, especially a physical one at that, for any competition other than your own, which will make the conversation of representation in the 2018 Games in Korea all the more interesting.

More bad luck for Leo in his first appearance in the pool this year, as another injury to his last place team won't make him very happy.  At this rate, he may not dig out of the basement, especially if his healthy scratched players before the break can't muster their way into their respective line-ups.

Another Olympic casualty was Norway's only NHL representative, Mats Zuccarello of the New York Rangers.  Zuccarello was one of the hottest players coming out of the NHL and heading to Sochi, but he suffered a broken hand in the round robin, which didn't allow him to play in his country's only playoff game in the tournament... a definite disappointment.  Zuccarello could miss upwards of the next month, with his recovery in line to be about 3-to-4 weeks, only having to heal a fracture, for the most part.

Doug took Zuccarello as the 1st pick in the second Waiver Draft, skipping over Steven Stamkos, and was getting some decent results, getting 8 points from his first 8 games, post-draft.  Doug only sits 5 points ahead of Leo for the basement and now one of his better players is on the shelf and that won't help anything.

From the Team USA locker room, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Paul Martin has suffered a hand injury, which kept him out of games against Canada and Finland to finish the tournament and the injury sounds like it could be serious.  Although there hasn't been any confirmation on what the injury is exactly, expectations are that Martin will not be available until the playoffs, which ends his regular season, in theory.  I believe the team will wait until Martin comes back from Sochi to make that announcement official, but since Penguins Head Coach Dan Bylsma is the coach of Team USA, I'm sure he is well-versed in the situation.

Martin has been a marginal defenseman for Derek Wilton in the draft this year, but since Wilton is in the thick of the race, 6th place, 5 points back, missing out on a body, possibly for the remainder of the regular season, is a huge lump in the throat.  With the assumption that Martin will miss the remainder of the season, I have adjusted his projected games and he has now taken last place with only 297 games to be played.

The Winnipeg Jets are going to open their post-Olympic schedule on Thursday against the Coyotes and they are expected to have defenseman Tobias Enstrom in their line-up, despite dealing with a lower-body injury, which has kept him out of practice, as the team has started to take the ice in preparation.  I think it is worth a mention to have him on here, as Enstrom has had a history of injury and who is to say that this lower-body problem isn't greater than what it seems?  The Jets expect him on the ice this week, so we'll see how that goes.

Dale B. is among the pool leaders in projected games to be played in the last seven weeks of the season and would likely want to be in the top half of the standings.  In order to do that, he'll need Enstrom at 100%, just like Enstrom's team needs him to be healthy for their playoff run.

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