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Power Rankings: Significant injuries

Mark Stone

Mark Stone

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings will break down some of the big injuries every team has had to endure in 2021-22.

I tried to select players who missed an extended amount of time (10 or more games at a time), but that wasn’t always possible.

The players aren’t necessarily ranked by skill level. Overall importance to the team was factored into the rankings, while their team’s inability to survive without them was also considered.

1 - Mark Stone – W – Vegas Golden Knights:

The Golden Knights have dealt with many important injuries this year and they didn’t have much cap space to fill those holes. As of right now, they’re not in a playoff spot which is shocking. Stone’s back injury was awful for him and his team. In total, one of the best all-around forwards in the game missed 45 games with a lower-body injury and a back ailment. He also had Covid-19.

2 - Carey Price – G – Montreal Canadiens:

You can take your pick here, as the Habs have been without Price and Weber. Price made his long-awaited return against the Islanders at home on Friday night, but the damage has been done for Montreal. His off-season knee surgery kept him out for a lot longer than originally thought.

3 - Nikita Kucherov – W – Tampa Bay Lightning:

Kucherov played in the first three games of the season but he missed the next 32 games with a lower-body injury. The 28-year-old has looked good and he’s registered 47 points in 39 games in 2021-22. He’s still one of the top offensive forces in the game.

4 - Igor Shesterkin – G – New York Rangers:

Shesterkin missed eight games late in 2021, which is significant because he’s one of the leading contenders for the Vezina Trophy this year. Backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev is good, but his numbers don’t compare to Shesterkin’s.

5 - Aleksander Barkov – C – Florida Panthers:

Between Nov. 18 and Dec. 16, Barkov played just one game. He dealt with a knee injury and he also suffered an undisclosed ailment at some point. Even though he missed a good chunk of the season, the Panthers still find themselves well ahead of everyone in their division.

6 - Jack Hughes – C- New Jersey Devils:

Hughes got hurt in the second game of the season and he ended up missing 17 outings with a left shoulder injury. He’s now done for the year with a knee injury. Still, he was able to make an impact in a short amount of time. He has 56 points in 49 games this season.

7 - Evgeni Malkin – C – Pittsburgh Penguins:

Malkin missed every game between the start of the season and Jan. 8, but he hasn’t missed a beat since returning. He just wrapped up a suspension and he’s now picked up 37 points through 37 games.

8 - Gabriel Landeskog – W – Colorado Avalanche:

Nathan MacKinnon also missed a couple of different stints but Landeskog has been out for a longer stretch. He’s missed the last 15 games with a knee injury. As long as he’s healthy for the playoffs, the Avs won’t mind holding him out for a bit.

9 - Filip Forsberg – W – Nashville Predators:

Forsberg is having an amazing year, but it might be his last in Nashville (he’ll be a UFA at season’s end). He missed nine games with an upper-body injury between Nov. 3-22 and he also sat our four games later on with Covid-19. Despite that injury, the Preds are still clinging to a playoff spot.

10 - Drake Batherson – W – Ottawa Senators:

Batherson was putting together an outstanding season before he suffered an ankle injury that kept him out for 28 games. He also missed three games with an illness. The Sens forward now has 15 goals and 25 assists in 38 games.

11 - Drew Doughty – D – Los Angeles Kings:

Doughty underwent wrist surgery earlier this month and he’s officially been ruled out for the rest of the season. The 32-year-old finishes the year with a solid 31 points in 39 games, but the Kings will miss him in the playoffs (assuming they get in).

12 - Miro Heiskanen – D – Dallas Stars:

Heiskanen missed 11 games with mononucleosis, but he was able to return in late March. The 22-year-old is such an important part of the Dallas blue line, as he averages almost 25 minutes of ice time per game.

13 - Blake Wheeler – W – Winnipeg Jets:

Wheeler is the heart and soul of the team, which is why it hurts that he missed three different stretches. He was out for five games with Covid-19 early in the season, nine with a knee injury and he just returned a three-game absence due to an upper-body injury. The Jets will be disappointed with the way this campaign turned out.

14 - Jared Spurgeon – D – Minnesota Wild:

Spurgeon went through a stretch where he played in four of 19 games because of a lower-body injury. He’s a significant piece of that Wild blue line, as he averages over 21 minutes of ice time this season. It’s hard not to root for smaller players! He’s a good one.

15 - Nicklas Backstrom – C – Washington Capitals:

Backstrom missed all of October, November and half of December with a hip injury, but he’s surpassed the 40-game mark. His production has dipped a bit, as he’s accumulated 29 points in 40 games. He’s still going to be one of the keys for Washington in the playoffs.

16 - Tony DeAngelo – D – Carolina Hurricanes:

DeAngelo missed an 11-game stretch due to an abdomen injury, but the Hurricanes still found a way to survive. He’s still having a great offensive season, as he’s picked up 47 points in 57 games.

17 - Ryan Ellis – D – Philadelphia Flyers:

Ellis was supposed to make a huge impact on the Flyers blue line this year, but he’s been limited to just four games with a lower-body injury. He still managed to put up an impressive five points.

18 - Erik Karlsson – D – San Jose Sharks:

For San Jose to surprise this year, they would’ve needed Karlsson to step up in a big way. Unfortunately, past and current injuries prevented that from happening. He missed a good chunk of the season because he underwent arm surgery and he also sat when he had Covid-19. He’s currently out with a lower-body ailment. His better days are clearly behind him.

19 - Brock Boeser – W – Vancouver Canucks:

The Canucks have been relatively healthy this year, but they’ve still underachieved. Boeser is currently out with an arm injury (he’s missed the last five games). He could return very soon. The Canucks need him because their playoff chances are on life-support.

20 - Alex Tuch – W – Buffalo Sabres:

Tuch was acquired from Vegas in the Jack Eichel deal but the Sabres had to be patient before they saw him in action. He was only able to make his debut in late-December and he’s played relatively well since then.

21 - Jakub Vrana – W – Detroit Red Wings:

Vrana was a major acquisition in the Anthony Mantha trade, but he missed the start of the year with a shoulder injury. He has 10 goals and four assists in 18 games this season. He should be an x-factor when fully healthy next season.

22 - Tuukka Rask – G – Boston Bruins:

Rask was limited to just four appearances this year before deciding to hang up his skates for good. No disrespect to Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark, but they don’t have the same pedigree as Rask.

23 - Torey Krug – D – St. Louis:

Krug just returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with an upper-body injury. He’s managed to pick up four points in his first two games in the lineup. The Blues are in a great spot to make the playoffs. They just need to stay healthy.

24 - Jakob Chychrun – D – Arizona Coyotes:

There was talk that the ‘Yotes may move their top defender this year, but that never materialized. The 24-year-old had a hard time staying in the lineup, as he’s played just 47 contests this season. He’s been out Mar. 14 with an ankle injury.

25 - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – C – Edmonton Oilers:

The Oilers priority is keeping Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl healthy but RNH is an important part of the squad too. He missed a 12-game stretch with a shoulder injury, but he’s been back since late March.

26 - Sean Monahan – C – Calgary Flames:

The Flames have had a great year and they’ve been relatively healthy throughout. But they lost Monahan earlier this month after he underwent season-ending hip surgery. He struggled when in the lineup this year, as he had eight goals and 23 points in 65 contests.

27 - Jake Muzzin – D – Toronto Maple Leafs:

Muzzin was held out of the lineup for a month and a half because he was dealing with a concussion. He made his return earlier this month but missed one game last week with an undisclosed injury. He’s an important part of that Leafs blue line.

28 - Jaden Schwartz – W – Seattle Kraken:

The Kraken had a typical expansion-like season, so even a healthy Schwartz wouldn’t have made a big difference. He missed two games with a lower-body injury, 25 games with a hand injury and he’s missed the last 10 with an upper-body injury.

29 - Jonathan Toews – C – Chicago Blackhawks:

Look, Toews isn’t the same player he once was. That’s very clear. Not having him for long stretches still hurts the Blackhawks as a team though. He missed 11 games with a concussion and he has 31 points in 64 games this year. Chicago is going to be stuck with this contract for a while.

30 - Alexandre Texier – W – Columbus Blue Jackets:

Texier has missed four games with an illness and he’s been out for 34 games with a finger injury and personal reasons. He has 11 goals and nine assists in 36 games this season.

31 - Maxime Comtois – W – Anaheim Ducks:

Comtois had a decent 2020-21 season, as he collected 33 points in 55 games. Things haven’t gone nearly as well this year. He missed 16 games with a right-hand injury between mid-November and mid-December. That seems to have affected him.

32 - Kyle Palmieri – W – New York Islanders:

Palmieri’s numbers have dipped over the last few seasons but he’s still an important depth piece on this team. He missed a 10-game stretch with a lower-body injury and he missed three more for personal reasons.