With NHL pre-season action set to begin Sunday, hockey fans are getting fired up for another exciting NHL season. However, some fans will have to wait before seeing some of their team’s star players hit the ice.
Injuries have already begun to stack up for teams in both the Western and Eastern conference. Listed below are three teams that will be missing their players the most in training camp and pre-season action in my opinion.
1. Philadelphia Flyers Captain Claude Giroux is sidelined with a lower body injury and won’t be back for at least two weeks. Veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen remains doubtful for the season due to blood clots
2. Leaf’s forwards Tyler Bozak and David Clarkson both have undisclosed injuries and veteran defenseman Stephen Robidas is still recovering from a leg injury.
3. Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nathan Horton is said to be sidelined into the start of the season as a precaution. Horton has fully recovered from his previous abdominal and shoulder injuries but seems to be suffering back pain at present.
These three teams will be suffering the most in the early stages of the season in my opinion. The Flyers are in a really tough spot. Timonen has been the anchor in the Flyers defense for many years. He’s been a great leader and mentor for his teammates and has helped the younger players improve their game. He finished 10th in points last season with six goals and 29 assists last season. He’ll be very tough to replace moving forward.
Losing Captain Giroux will make training camp a lot more difficult for the team. He’s the team’s star player and playmaker. He finished first in points with 86 last season. And with Scott Hartnell gone as well, it’s going to be very difficult for the Flyers to get some consistent scoring early in the season. Simmons, Voracek and goalie Steve Mason will be leaned on heavily to hold down the fort until Giroux returns. The phrase “when it rains, it pours” is appropriate when discussing the Flyers right now.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have suffered three considerable setbacks. Losing Bozak, Clarkson and Robidas will require some major adjustments. This could not have come at a worse time for the Leafs in my opinion.
Clarkson, who is in desperate need of a bounce back year, needs all the ice time he can get. He missed the first 10 games of the season last year due to suspension and ended with only 11 points to his name. If he continues to struggle with injuries, this could be another painful, non-existent season for him.
I’m not too concerned about Bozak. Defenseman Stephen Robidas is set to miss most of his pre-season preparation time. Now it’s going to be even harder for head Coach Randy Carlyle to insert him into the lineup and find the best spot for him when he returns. It’s already been a very slow recovery process and it doesn’t look to be getting any better. The only positive for the Leafs is that these injuries give players like David Booth and Morgan Reilly a chance to prove their worth to the team.
Nathan Horton was supposed to be one of the Columbus Blue Jackets biggest signings last year. Unfortunately for both sides, it’s turned out to be a big disappointment. Horton ended the season with just 19 points to his name last year.
Since leaving the Bruins the 29 year old’s numbers have been in a steady decline and he’s been forced to spend most of his time battling injuries. I really hope he is able to recover and get back to the numbers he was accumulating when he was in Boston.
These guys are the most significant injured players in my opinion. It will be interesting to see which team proves to have enough depth to counteract these losses. I can’t wait for the action to begin.