IR report: Patrick still out, Dube will play, world juniors, etc.

by Mike Drover on December 24, 2016
  • Feature Story
  • IR report: Patrick still out, Dube will play, world juniors, etc.
ir-report

Team USA will be without Canuck prospect Brock Boeser at the world junior tournament due to wrist surgery that is expected to keep him out of games at least eight weeks.

 

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Christmas? No, I’m talking about the world juniors, of course.

I believe strongly that world junior hockey is some of the best action you can watch for your fantasy hockey club. There’s no better time to see a collection of the world’s best prospects all in the same place.

Let’s get down to some news.

Current consensus No. 1 overall draft pick in 2017, Canadian center Nolan Patrick, will not suit up for Team Canada this holiday season. I wrote about Patrick briefly in the last IR report so I won’t go too far into details here, but Patrick has been sidelined most of the season with a sports hernia. Patrick is getting close to returning for the Brandon Wheat Kings but was not cleared by doctors earlier this month to participate in the WJC camp.

* * *

Interestingly enough, consensus No. 2 pick Timothy Liljegren will also not dress for Team Sweden. Liljegren has missed a large chunk of time with mononucleosis, and while Liljegren is ready to play now, he remains on the reserve list for Team Sweden. Liljegren will be eased back into the game for his home club Rögle BK and still projects in the top five next summer.

* * *

More bad news earlier this month, this time for Team USA, as Canucks’ top prospect Brock Boeser has gone down with a serious wrist injury. Boeser required surgery to repair the wrist and will miss at least eight weeks during his recovery. Boeser was lighting it up for the University of North Dakota, scoring seven goals and nine assists in just 13 games so far.

* * *

Thinking positively now, forwards Dillion Dube and Blake Speers will both play for Team Canada. Both Dube and Speers were questionable with injury coming into December. Dube managed to take to the ice late in November after a seven-week absence, and amassed 11 points in 10 games for the Kelowna Rockets. Speers, who had wrist surgery in late October, got back into practice in the second week in December and is just coming in under the wire for Team Canada. You have to worry about his effectiveness after just coming off such a long layoff. Speers has alluded to some lingering pain in a wrist and the injury is still on his mind. The injury to Speers will be a storyline to watch early in the WJC tournament.

* * *

Among prospects not involved in the WJC now, Avalanche defense prospect Andrei Mironov suffered a wrist injury this month. The former fourth-rounder in 2015 captained the Russian national team in the Karjala Cup and was named the best defender of the tourney. Mironov had four points in 11 games for Dynamo Moskva of the KHL and was a plus player. Bad news for the Avs, who need their defense prospects to develop, and develop quickly.

* * *

Bruins’ prospect Frank Vatrano returned from injury this week and has already been called up to the big club. I wrote a small piece on him here. Vatrano is one of the Bruins’ best prospects after having a monster season last year. Frankie wasted no time getting on the board, recording a goal and nearly 14 minutes TOI. Keep an eye on Vatrano; he could provide sneaky scoring value on an already-surprising Bruins’ club.

* * *

Former 31st overall pick, Yegor Korshkov, will miss the next two months with a broken leg. The young Maple Leafs’ prospect was having a breakout season in the KHL, scoring six goals and 12 assists in 18 games for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Yaroslavl is looking good to make the KHL playoffs this season, and losing Korshkov will be a big hit for the team. Korshkov’s impact season in the KHL is good news for the Leafs, who expect Korshkov to be an impact NHLer within the next two seasons.

* * *

Speaking of the Leafs, Josh Leivo returned from his mystery injury and has played five AHL games and one NHL game. Leivo has yet to make an impact at the AHL or NHL level this season and is still looking for his first point.

* * *

The Blackhawks have lost center prospect Nathan Noel for four to six weeks with an upper body-injury. Noel, a point-per-game player in the QMJHL, had taken a step forward in his development to this point and will need to bounce back to keep his progression on track. On a side note, Noel hopes to become the only active NHLer from my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador. After Adam Pardy was demoted to the AHL and Daniel Cleary failed to make the Red Wings this season, Noel becomes one of the best chances for Newfoundland and Labrador to get back into the game. I’m cheering for you, Nathan.

* * *

Cam Dineen, a Coyotes’ prospect and top defenseman for the North Bay Battalion, will miss some time with a lower-body injury. While there hasn’t been a timeline put on Dineen’s recovery, he was unable to put any weight on his leg after a brutal-looking knee-on-knee hit. Dineen will likely miss six to eight weeks retroactive to Dec. 15.

* * *

Charlie Hudon returned from a cracked sternum in December only to go down with a second injury just three games later. Hudon collided with teammate Chris Terry and suffered a severe ankle sprain. While this sounds pretty bad, Hudon hopes to return before the month is out. That being said, I wouldn’t bank on seeing Hudon before the new year.

* * *

Tyler Bertuzzi has not yet returned for the Red Wings. Bertuzzi suffered a high ankle sprain late in November and was originally slated to miss three to five weeks. That timeframe would make him eligible to return just after the Christmas break, however things have been quiet on the Bertuzzi front. High ankle sprains are tough injuries and he could be a week or two behind schedule.

* * *

Former second-rounder Anton Rodin finally made his debut for the Vancouver Canucks, going pointless in only 7:18 of ice time in a 4-1 loss to Calgrary. Rodin has been a big-name prospect in the Canucks’ organization for several years now but has been held back due to injury. Most recently, Rodin suffered knee swelling during this year’s training camp which has kept him out of all but three games for Utica. Rodin put up good numbers in the SHL over the past three years but has yet to make a mark on either the AHL or the NHL.

* * *

Talented Russian rookie Pavel Buchnevich has been sidelined since mid-November with back and core issues. Buchnevich was off to a blazing start on a Rangers’ team that was having no trouble putting the puck in the net. The Rangers offered an update on his status a few days ago, claiming that Buchnevich will not be available to the team until at least the second week in January. Core and back issues can be tricky so I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up being closer to February before we see him again.

* * *

Former Ducks’ first-rounder Max Jones is out for the London Knights with an arm injury. Jones has a whopping 26 points in 15 games and had been enjoying a bit of a breakout year. Jones is a hard-nosed player and likes to get into the dirty areas of the ice. While having a feisty forward like Jones is great for a team like the Ducks, his added aggression has come at a price this season with suspensions and injuries now starting to add up.

* * *

In other injury news, undrafted consensus first-round pick Sasha Chmelevski suffered an injury earlier in the month. Chmelevski is expected to go somewhere in the 15 to 20 range overall in the draft next summer and has been having a strong year for the Ottawa 67’s. The injury is not expected to significantly impact his draft outlook at this point.

* * *

Finally, here’s some holiday cheer to share with you all. Craig Cunningham of the Tucson Roadrunners, who went into cardiac arrest on the ice late in November, is expected to make a full recovery. Unfortunately, the 26-year-old Cunningham has to hang up his skates, but has been released from hospital and gets to spend the holidays with friends and family members. According to some reports, Cunningham had to undergo over 85 minutes of CPR. Check out this emotional video of his mother thanking trainers, emergency responders, and hospital staff for saving her son’s life.

 

What a truly amazing story. Best of luck to Craig and his family in the future.

* * *

That’s all for this month! If you’ve got any other breaking injury news, please feel free to tweet me at @NHLFantasyGuy or drop me a line below in the comments. Thanks to all for reading, have a safe and happy holiday season.

Mike Drover