Most Costly Early-Season NHL Injuries

by | Nov 13, 2016 | Soapbox | 5 comments

An ankle injury has sidelined Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel.

An ankle injury has sidelined Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel.

We’re only a month into the 2016-17 NHL season, but already several notable players are sidelined by injuries. Some are already proving costly to their respective teams. Here’s a look at the most notable (by team) thus far.

Mike Smith, goaltender, Arizona Coyotes (lower-body injury, injured reserve since Oct. 18). The Coyotes are struggling to cope without their veteran starter. Backup Louis Domingue won only four of 11 starts. Smith’s absence is a key reason the Coyotes are at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Jack Eichel, center, Buffalo Sabres (high-ankle sprain, injured reserve since Oct. 11). The Sabres have several players sidelined but Eichel’s absence is keenly felt. While they’ve got 14 points in 15 games, they’re near the bottom of the league in goals.

Justin Faulk, defenseman, Carolina Hurricanes (upper-body, IR since Nov. 6). The Hurricanes top defenseman, Faulk skates a team-leading 24:10 minutes per game. With the Hurricanes at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, losing Faulk for a significant period could prove fatal to their playoff hopes.

Seth Jones, defenseman, Columbus Blue Jackets (fractured foot, IR since Nov. 6). Jones logs big minutes for the Jackets (24:14 per game) and is among their leaders in hits, blocked shots and takeaways. Out for at least three weeks, they’re going to miss his blueline presence.

Jonathan Huberdeau, left wing, Florida Panthers (ruptured Achilles tendon, IR since Oct. 7). Their top-line left wing, Huberdeau’s absence has been capably filled by Jonathan Marchessault. However, they’re still missing his presence and skills, as evidenced by their mediocre start (7-7-1) this season.

Jonathan Quick, goaltender, Los Angeles Kings (groin injury, IR since Oct. 12). Call-up Peter Budaj’s done a good job filling in for Quick, who’s out until early-January at the latest. At some point, however, Quick’s lengthy absence could start catching up with the Kings.

Travis Hamonic, defenseman, New York Islanders (broken thumb, IR since Nov. 5). Hamonic is the Isles’ best all-around blueliner. Sidelined four-to-six weeks, his absence is a significant blow for this floundering (5-7-3) club.

Clarke MacArthur, left wing, Ottawa Senators (concussion, IR since Sep. 24). The Senators are doing okay without MacArthur (9-5-0), but they were really counting on his veteran leadership and grit this season. His lengthy absence last season was a factor in their missing the playoffs. It could become an issue again in 2016-17.

Jannik Hansen, left wing, Vancouver Canucks (fractured rib, IR since Nov. 6). With the Canucks struggling offensively, losing a 20-goal scorer such as Hansen is a serious setback for the Canucks. Ou four-to-six weeks, by the time Hansen returns, it could be too late to save their season.

Bryan Little, center, Winnipeg Jets. (lower-body injury, IR since Oct. 13). While the Jets have 16 points in as many games, Little’s absence leave them short of skilled offensive depth at center.


  1. That’s quite a list. The Sabres are also missing their smurf C, Tyler Ennis, who could be the poster boy for warnings against employing small stature players.

    A couple of others to keep a close eye on are Artem Anisimov (upper body) of Chicago, and Matt Duchene (concussion-like symptons) of Colorado, if the “day-to-day” drags on.

    • Does the smurf lite list above make them the poster children for warnings against employing medium to large stature players?

    • George let it go. Smaller players are no more susceptible to injury than large players. Ha-ha! Ennis is out with a groin injury. That’s essentially muscle tears & totally unrelated to size.

      Please don’t make me generate a list of every smurf playing in the NHL the last 3 years that hasn’t missed games to injury.

      Yes it is a large mans game, size & skill trump smurf & skill every time but small players are returning to the new faster NHL.

  2. No Jason Spezza, Patrick Sharp, Cody Eakins, Alec Hemsky, Mattias Janmark, and Jiri Hudler on this list of costly injuries? 6 top nine forwards for Dallas on the shelf, and not to forget that Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin were both less than 100% when the season started.

    • Any idea what Hudler’s mystery ailment is?