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

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

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    Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

    Ilya Mikheyev
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    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

    Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

    Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

    Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

    Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

    Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports

    Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

    The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

    Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

    After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

    Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

    Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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    David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports

    MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

    But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

    “I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

    Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

    “I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

    Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

    Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

    Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

    All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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    Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

    SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

    Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

    The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

    Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

    Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.