Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Morning Player Notes in the Draft (Apr 5)

A knee-on-knee collision with Calgary's Mark Giordano sent Anaheim's Cam Fowler to the dressing room in the 3rd period of Tuesday night's game and there are fears that the injury is going to be significant, especially ahead of a potential first round battle between the Ducks and Flames in the playoffs.  The collision sparked a pretty ugly finish to the game, but one that paid off well for those teams in the PIM pool, as there were plenty of minutes to collect.  We'll wait to see what the final verdict on Fowler's injury will be now.

Benson's team is currently searching for a top 10 finish this season and now currently sits in 10th place, after a good start to the last week of the season.  This is the first injury on the page, which may put a damper on those hopes.

Lower-body injuries were the reason why both Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan were not in the Arizona Coyotes' lineup on Tuesday night, but it does give them plenty of reason to play young prospects like Clayton Keller or Lawson Crouse down the stretch, when the games don't mean much for the team in the playoff race.  Both Vrbata and Doan are day-to-day, no other updates other than that.

Vrbata belongs to Stuart and Doan is Benson's second injury on this post, both are vying for that 10th place spot, to which Stuart trails by 7 points in 12th place.  The Coyotes have two games left and it wouldn't be surprising if neither played either game, but that wouldn't be fair to those veterans, so we'll see.

The Calgary Flames were going to try something new, playing the Anaheim Ducks and that was starting Chad Johnson instead of Brian Elliott, but that plan only lasted about five minutes, as Johnson had to leave, thanks to a lower-body injury.  The Ducks were still able to pull out a win at home and the Flames haven't released any new information on the injury status of their back-up goalie.  The Flames are now resigned to a wild card spot in the West, but they will jockey with Nashville to see who they play in the 1st round.

John's season has been a bit of a disappointment, especially losing out on the goalie survivor pool, no thanks to Johnson as well.  John's best possible finish is 16th, where his team is 4 points out.

With the Chicago Blackhawks already having wrapped up the Central Division and the Western Conference titles, they could afford to rest some players, as they prepare for, what could very well be, a long playoff run.  Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson were both scratched from the lineup, the latter having personal reasons to be from the team, but both were more than deserving of the night off, especially against a lesser team like the Avalanche.  Both are day-to-day, one would think that they will feature in at least one of the last two games of the regular season.

Stuart lost another skater game with the absence of Keith, while Brenda & Seward, already having fallen out of the money race, lost a skater game with Hjalmarsson's leave of absence, which didn't help much.  They still sit 10 points out of the money, with five days left.

Colorado rookie Mikko Rantanen has had a very good season, scoring 18 goals and 36 points in 73 games, despite being on an underachieving team.  He missed out on Tuesday night's game against the Blackhawks, thanks to a lower-body injury and the rest of his final week is up in the air, but there is no reason to rush him back and risk further injury, if it isn't needed, since the Avalanche have locked up last place in the league some time ago.

Rushing back Rantanen wouldn't help Wilton very much either, although he could jump Tony's team and into 23rd, if this week went really well, but that's about as good as it gets.

The Minnesota Wild lost defenseman Jared Spurgeon to a lower-body injury, the flavour of the night, in their 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.  The coaching staff has come out and said that they don't believe that the injury is too serious and Spurgeon will accompany the team on their current road trip, but his availability for their next game, Thursday night in Colorado, will be up in the air.  Given the opponent and the time before the playoffs, I would have to think that the Wild will sit Spurgeon for precautionary reasons.

Talking about best possible finishes, it looks like Cam will top out at 10th place, if his team can get away from the Basement Dweller nod, which they are currently projected for after Tuesday night.  His team only has 1 point through two nights and is now 8 points back of the top 10.

Before play got started on Tuesday night, the Philadelphia Flyers had announced that they would be without defenseman Brandon Manning, due to an upper-body injury.  Manning has been in and out of the Flyers' lineup to injury and healthy scratch all season and hasn't been all that effective, due to his inconsistent appearances.  The Flyers have a couple of games left this week, but it wouldn't be surprising if they left him on the shelf for the last few days of the week.

Manning was picked up by Brenda & Seward in the Waiver Draft and it really didn't work out for them.  They only managed to pick up 3 assists in 41 games worth of action, but he does lead all their defensemen with 56 PIM since activation.

Pittsburgh forward Bryan Rust left Tuesday night's game against the Blue Jackets in the 2nd period with an undisclosed injury. Reports from after the game suggest the injury may be related to a 1st period hit from Brandon Dubinsky, but there was no confirmation from the team on the nature of the injury or when it actually occurred. We'll await more details.

Dale C.'s team took a bit of a tumble, among those teams jockeying for 17th place in the final standings. Dale's team is now 21st, 3 points back of 17th, and if it was really ambitious, it could chase down 16th with a hot streak, since it's only 7 points back.

The Chicago Blackhawks are not the only team starting to rest and heal bodies ahead of a playoff run, as Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson was held out of the lineup on Tuesday night in Toronto, due to a lower-body injury.  He's currently day-to-day and may not see much time down the stretch, especially if the injury is something that needs some attention.  I would, however, expect him to be ready to play in Game 1 next week after this rest.

Stacey M. didn't need him to rest, as her team would love to track down 14th place, if possible, try and get as high as they can.  That's about it though, she's already got money coming back with the goalie survivor pool.

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