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Flyers’ Hayes among NHL players to start 2021-22 season injured

Flyers' Hayes among NHL players to start 2021-22 season injured

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 04: Philadelphia Flyers Center Kevin Hayes (13) looks on in the first period during the game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers on May 04, 2021 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Flyers announced injury updates on Tuesday, including that center Kevin Hayes is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks following abdominal surgery.

With 2021 training camps and preseason games rapidly approaching, this seems like a reasonable time to review injuries that could spill into the 2021-22 NHL regular season. Such a refresher might not be such a bad thing for fantasy hockey enthusiasts, among others.

Kevin Hayes among Flyers injury updates

That six-to-eight week window could put Kevin Hayes at about a mid-November return for the Flyers. It could mean that Hayes might miss anywhere from 7-15 games. That announcement indicates that Hayes underwent surgery on Tuesday (Sept. 21).

The Flyers noted that Samuel Morin (right knee surgery) also faces a six-to-eight week recovery window. Meanwhile, Wade Allison is out indefinitely due to a right ankle sprain.

The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor believes that the ideal scenario would be Morgan Frost sliding into the 2C spot while Hayes is recovering (sub required). Unfortunately, that might not be the most realistic scenario. After recovering from injury issues of his own, Frost might struggle to prove he’s truly ready for NHL action.

If Frost can’t make that jump and temporarily replace Hayes, then O’Connor points to Claude Giroux. At this point in his career, Giroux seems best off staying on the wing. Even so, he has plenty of experience at that position.

[If nothing else, Giroux has contract year motivation.]

There could be a domino effect without Hayes, especially if Frost sputters. In Hayes’ absence, the Flyers might feel forced to lean upon Derick Brassard and Scott Laughton more than they’d like.

While we’re in the early portion of preview/prediction season, the Flyers already inspired an interesting range of expectations. Some believe that some big changes (Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen) will mean big improvements. Others aren’t so sold, especially those who don’t really think Martin Jones serves as great insurance if Carter Hart struggles like he did last season.

Losing Kevin Hayes, even for a portion of the 2021-22 regular season, certainly doesn’t help the Flyers. That said, if he comes back healthy, maybe he can make a bigger impact than he did last season?

Crosby, Malkin, other NHL injuries likely to spill into 2021-22 regular season

For a more comprehensive injury list, check out NBC Sports Edge’s list. Also note that more injury announcements could surface, as teams are ramping up for training camps.

Anyway, here are some refreshers on some of the NHL injuries likely to spill into the 2021-22 regular season (and in some, sadder cases, possibly beyond).

  • The Penguins could be primed for a slow start of their own. Sidney Crosby underwent wrist surgery in early September, with the initial estimate being a six-week absence. If that window holds, Crosby might not miss too many games. It might not help his rhythm, though, and he’s one of many athletes who are creatures of habit.

Evgeni Malkin’s status is also murky after he underwent knee surgery in June. The Penguins are no strangers to Crosby and/or Malkin missing time with injuries, but that’s still not the most promising way to start the 2021-22 NHL season.

  • It can’t be denied that Jack Eichel’s unresolved neck surgery situation is a key factor in any trade, or lack thereof. What happens if the Sabres ask Eichel to play, even if it’s to assure potential trade partners? Which surgery route would he take? Eichel’s preferred method could theoretically mean a much quicker recovery time, while the typical fusion route would eat up most of the 2021-22 NHL regular season.
  • On one hand, Carey Price’s likely to be ready (or close-to-ready) after knee surgery. On the other hand, it’s unclear if Shea Weber will ever play for the Canadiens again, including in 2021-22.

[PHT’s 2021 NHL Free Agent Tracker]

  • Could Ben Bishop miss the 2021-22 season for the Stars, or even be heading toward retirement? The Stars haven’t made that clear just yet. Signing Braden Holtby only fuels speculation about Bishop’s availability.
  • Tuukka Rask indicated that he’d like to eventually sign with the Bruins. His injury status keeps that murky, however.
  • For all of the Oilers’ changes on defense, losing Oscar Klefbom possibly for all of 2021-22 could nullify most/all gains.
  • Like with Sidney Crosby, Auston Matthews’ progress is worth watching after wrist surgery. He could be fine, but the timeline is tight enough that a setback could cost some games. It’s remarkable that Matthews won the Maurice Richard Trophy despite nagging wrist issues.
  • As savvy as it was for the Kraken to pick Yanni Gourde, he needs time to recover from shoulder surgery. Not ideal for a Kraken team that’s fairly aggressive in trying to compete (to an extent) right off the bat.
  • Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch could miss about six months after shoulder surgery.
  • Reports indicate that the vast majority of NHL players are getting vaccinated heading into the 2021-22 season. That said, the occasional coach and player decided not to, including Zac Rinaldo.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.