Ales Hemsky had 22 points in 22 games before his season ended because of a shoulder injury. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Injuries are a bummer. There’s no two ways about it. And every season injuries hit a few teams hard – real hard. Some squads, the deeper or more talented ones, muddle through and come out the other side with a modicum of success. But others, whether due to a lack of depth or injuries to top players, just can’t get over the hump.
This season there were some surprises. The New York Rangers were the healthiest team in the NHL through the early part of the last week of the regular season – and that’s with Marian Gaborik on the roster – but they’re still life and death to make the post-season. Tampa Bay is the second-least injured team in the NHL, but won’t be playing past April 11.
The following numbers were provided to us by the teams themselves and represent the number of man-games lost to injury this season. All include this past weekend’s games, a few also include Monday’s contests. This is THN.com’s Top 10 most injured NHL teams.
10. New Jersey, 249 man-games lost to injury
Despite being an under-the-radar player, the Devils’ biggest loss was defenseman Paul Martin, who missed 59 games with a fractured left forearm.
9. New York Islanders, 250
Team captain Doug Weight has missed 43 games and counting, but the poster boy for absence on the Isles is supposed No. 1 netminder Rick DiPietro, who played just eight games this year.
8. Columbus, 253
It’s been a mixed bag for the Blue Jackets. Fredrik Modin missed 40 games prior to being traded to Los Angeles; Mike Commodore missed 25 games, including two due to fatigue and five for undisclosed reasons.
7. Montreal, 255
The Habs may have been home and cooled out in terms of the playoffs if not for injuries. Sniper Mike Cammalleri missed 17 games with an MCL injury, but it was the loss of defenseman Andrei Markov for Games 2 through 36 that caused the most trouble.
6. Carolina, 288
A lot of Canes lost time, but Cam Ward missing 31 contests was the biggest blow: when healthy, there were only four games in which he didn’t see action.
5. Vancouver, 292
Vancouver’s blueline has been decimated by losses all season, with shutdown guy Willie Mitchell being the biggest. Up front, Daniel Sedin missed 19 games; would the twins be Nos. 1 and 2 in scoring if that hadn’t happened?
4. Detroit, 307
The Wings weathered an injury storm that saw Tomas Holmstrom, Valtteri Filppula, Dan Cleary, Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller, Jason Williams, Kirk Maltby and, most importantly, big Johan Franzen all miss extended periods.
3. Minnesota, 316
Another team that had to deal with injuries to a number of players and has never had the chance to ice its full lineup. Brent Burns was missed most after losing 28 games to a concussion and six more to a hip injury.
2. Colorado, 340
The Avs have done what no one expected and qualified for the playoffs, despite dealing with a variety of injuries to a number of players. The Avs were at least lucky the time missed by its best skaters was minimal. David Jones leads the infirmary parade this year with a torn ACL that has kept him out of the past 52 contests.
1. Edmonton, 494
The Oilers have the inside track on the No. 1 overall draft pick thanks in large part to injuries. Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Tom Gilbert have played every game this season, but front-liners who missed extended time include Ales Hemsky, Sheldon Souray, Mike Comrie, Lubomir Visnovsky (before being traded) and Ladislav Smid.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.
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