Some days I really have to shake my head and wonder how some things get missed, especially after looking at the list of players I'm adding to my Injury Prone List this year. I mean, there are plenty of obvious names on here that I haven't picked up on yet, granted it is a slammed together kind of list, but what's a guy to do. I did get a little bit of help this year, picking out some more of those obvious names,so I linked the tweep that threw me some names on Saturday night.
The list of injury prone players should give you a small leg up at your draft, if anything, at least it should give you a reminder of what you are getting yourself into when you look at these names on your list, hoping that it makes you think twice about the gamble you are taking. Of course, every player is his own gamble, but the injury prone players are the guys who provide such a larger risk and a good number of them carry a pretty solid reward too, if they work out in your favour.
In the 2010 season, there were 959 players that played in at least one game, 83 of them were goalies and are kind of hard to gauge in this list, so we'll work with the 876 skaters that played in at least one game. Out of those 876 skaters, 88 of them played 82 games or more (Ian White played 83 games between the Maple Leafs and Flames), which is comparable to 2009, which had 86 skaters do the feat and there were 89 skaters in 2008. So, we're looking at only 10% of the skaters in the league play that many games in year and there are a number of them you wouldn't have on your pool team for straight points, including Colton Orr, Craig Adams, Ian Laperriere or Tom Kostopoulos.
The number of players to play in 80 or more games in 2008 was 141, in 2009, it was 155 and in 2010, it was 150. That's still a very small number of players that play a lot of games in the year and those are guys that I give a little extra credit to when choosing my players. The more games they play, the better chance that they have for scoring points, despite whatever projections I give them.
So, here's my list of 12 new players for the list, some are real head shakers, but they finally made it. I hope you find this as useful as I do, but it's more of a guideline than anything. A hockey pool is a gamble with every player you pick, this is just a little look into my own strategy when I go into my own pool draft.
Well, I don't think there is a better way to start the list than with David Booth, who was on the wrong end of one of the biggest hits in 2010, knocking the smallish forward out for 54 games with a concussion. This does not bode well for Booth and his fantasy value. The kid has tremendous talent, but if there is any sense that he has a soft head, that should be an immediate sign to cut ties with him and move on to someone a little safer. I like the kid, but I am going to zero him out of my list, he's not worth the gamble to me.
Sami Salo is another one of those favourites that will have to take a backseat when it comes to the fantasy draft this year, as his frail body doesn't seem to be keeping him in line for another year of healthy hockey this year. In the 2010 season alone, Salo had gone through a sprained MCL (7 games), eye injury (1 game), groin injury (4 games) and a leg injury (2 games), which doesn't add up to much, other than he seems to get hurt a lot. That limited his game total to only 68 in the regular season, which doesn't look terrible, but now a torn Achilles tendon in the off-season will take Salo out of the Canucks line-up for upwards of six months. I think it's safe to say that we can avoid Salo for a while.
Taking a lot of punishment in front of the opposition net, Johan Franzen should be used to getting hurt. He has seen his fair share of injuries in the past and the 2010 regular season, it was just one major knee injury that kept him out of the line-up for 55 games. Before this, an upper-body injury, a concussion, another upper-body injury, a right knee injury, another concussion, knee injury, hip injury and hand injury round out his list of injuries. Yeah, I think it's fair to say that he is injury prone. There is no doubt that he can put the puck in the net, but I can assure you, he can't do it from the infirmary.
Another guy that has escaped the grasps of the Injury Prone list for a couple of seasons is Joffrey Lupul, who has missed quite a few games in his NHL career to numerous different injuries. In 2010, Lupul missed 59 games due to a bad back. Lupul initially injured his back in late November, missed 7 games, came back for a week and then had to undergo back surgery, which cost him the rest of the regular season. A damn shame, if you ask me. Lupul has also had a concussion or two, one badly sprained ankle and an abdominal strain to his name, which will add him to this list for quite a while. I don't think I will be having him anywhere near my list, even as a sleeper.
Where has Sheldon Souray been when he's not on my list? This is a question that perplexes me, since he has an injury list, which impresses due to the size of it. I could really go on and on about the number of injuries, but here's a good list of what he's gone through in his career right here. Most recently, in the 2010 season, Souray missed 16 games due to a concussion and then the last 29 games with a broken hand, which he got while exacting some revenge for his concussion. Now, Souray wants out of Edmonton via trade, hoping that some other team would want to take on the remaining two years at a salary cap hit of $5.4 million each year, but if you've seen the list of injuries that guy has suffered, would you really want to take him on at that kind of money? Nevertheless, for your fantasy team, I think you can disregard his big shot and possibly find someone with a little bit more resilience.
Playing a physical game is also taking a bit of a toll on Mike Komisarek, who missed 48 games in 2010 due to a quadriceps injury (8 games) and a major shoulder surgery (40 games), which raises a bit of a flag on him. Looking back on his record, Komisarek has missed games due to a hand injury and a lower-body injury in the last few seasons, so he might not be as durable as once believed, which may hinder his usefulness in the Maple Leafs rugged game plan. Komisarek doesn't necessarily put up a lot of points when he is healthy, but he is relied upon to bring his A-game every night to shut down the opposition, which definitely helps the team's goaltending a bunch. If Komisarek is hurt, that's a major gap to fill and a harder job for the keepers. I don't think he was going to be too high on my list anyways, but his list of injuries makes me even more hesitant.
Every year should have at least one goalie, right? Well, the Senators took a gamble on Pascal Leclaire in the 2010 season and I don't think they won as much as they would have liked to. Leclaire only appeared in 34 games for the Senators after coming over from Columbus at the 2009 trade deadline and injuries have a pretty long-standing history with the keeper. Leclaire had to deal with a concussion and a broken jaw in 2010, a major ankle injury in 2009 and numerous other injuries throughout his short NHL career. I really think it is fair to label Leclaire as injury-prone and if you are looking to Ottawa for your goaltending, you might have a lot better luck with Brian Elliot.
Another forgotten favourite of the injury-plague is Martin Havlat, who found a new home in Minnesota last Summer, bringing some more fragility to the Northwest Division. Havlat may not have burdened the Wild terribly in the 2010 season, playing in 73 games for his new employers, but he did make four trips to the sidelines, if only brief stops, thanks to groin, hamstring, illness and hamstring again. It's definitely a risk that you will run if you have Havlat in your sights, but there is plenty of talent to make up for it. Havlat is worth discounting for your own sake these days, since he has played back-to-back seasons of 70+ games. I would give him a 70-game number this year, taking into account his history.
Another name in the refresher pile is Marco Sturm, who has had more than his fair share of injury problems in the past, including the playoffs this past Spring. Sturm is currently sitting through a torn MCL and ACL, which he suffered seven games into the playoffs, which will likely sideline him through October, giving November as his likeliest return date. Sturm has only two seasons of 80+ games in his 12-year NHL career, which says a lot about his ability to stay healthy. I'm not sure if there is an injury he hasn't seen in his career, which is more than enough reason to stay away from him. I won't have him anywhere near players I would like to draft anymore.
A 40-goal and 38-goal season to his name, but Alexander Semin has yet to play in 80 or more games in the NHL and his injury list is quite long in only five NHL seasons. Semin has had plenty of problems with his ankles, a couple back injuries, tailbone, wrist, foot, shoulder and some illnesses, all playing havoc on his time in the Capitals line-up. Semin did top out at 77 games for the Capitals in 2007, but since then he has only registered seasons of 63, 62 and 73 games, still posting some good goal totals, but he still has to be discounted when doing up your projections. If Semin can breakthrough and have himself a full 82-game season, he could be one of the biggest names out there, but I don't trust him, how about you?
I think you have to tread very lightly when you're dealing with Andrei Markov as well. This guy has also seen a lot of damage done to his body in his nine NHL seasons, including 2010, where he dealt with a major ankle injury that caused him to miss 35 games, another lower-body injury for 2 games and then missed a good chunk of the playoff run with a knee injury. The Russian-born defender is a catalyst for offense, but he certainly cannot be catalyst, if he's on the shelf. I would like to disregard Markov altogether, but with how many quality scoring defensemen there are in the league, you might find yourself having to take a gamble on a guy like Markov. Well, don't rush into him at your draft this year, as he is still nursing a major knee injury and isn't expected in the Canadiens line-up until November, so unless you're prepared to wait a month for your best defenseman to get healthy again, maybe you should look for him when he becomes healthy again.
The dreaded concussion has came down upon Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who missed almost the entire 2010 season... other than the first 10:44 of the first game of the season. Bouchard was credited with playing the first game of the year and that's it. The remaining 81 games he was on the shelf and failed to register a point in the year, which helped rank at the bottom of the list of players for the 2011 season and I don't think I would be going after a guy that has had concussion issues. At the end of the 2009 season, Bouchard missed the last 8 games of the season with a concussion as well, which probably means he has a very soft head and that isn't what you want to speak of for your fantasy team.