For a team in the thick of the playoff hunt in the toughest division in the league, the New York Rangers could not deal with another injury to a key player.
But the team knew that something was wrong when Kreider complained about feeling something in his right arm after the first period of New York’s 1-0 shootout victory against the Washington Capitals, and it turned out to be some of the worst news possible—a blood clot.
“Kreider will be put on blood thinners to deal with the clotting,” Duke orthopedic surgeon Dr. Selene Parekh said. “This may require surgery, and he can expected to be out for three to six months.”
In response, the Rangers called up forward Vinni Letteri, who has 12 goals and 21 points for New York’s AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Currently, the Rangers sit tied for fourth place in the Metropolitan Division and the first wild card spot with their crosstown rival the New York Islanders, while the Carolina Hurricanes hover just three points behind with one game in hand. Kreider is tied for fourth on the team in points, and second in goals while commanding the first line alongside center Mika Zibanejad.
Forward Michael Grabner—who leads the team with 17 goals—is expected to move up into Kreider’s position, but it will be tough to replace his net front presence.
Fantasy-wise, Kreider will be a big loss as well. Kreider was owned in more than 70 percent of all ESPN fantasy leagues prior to his injury, and depending on how head coach Alain Vignealt shapes his line combinations, Grabner could be a good pickup on the waiver wire.
Owned in just more than 25 percent of all leagues, Grabner has elite speed that makes him a constant breakaway threat. Assuming he moves up to the first line with Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich—who has been back and forth this season—Grabner will be armed with an elite duo that should help him raise his paltry three assists this season.
Another interesting option is former star Rick Nash, who will be bumped up to the Rangers’ first power play unit, which has been fantastic all season. Nash’s underlying numbers suggest a bump in production as well, as his shooting percentage is more than four points lower than his career average, being just two seasons removed from a 40-goal season.
Patrick Chung undergoing multiple surgeries-Dr. Patel
Patrick Chung of the New England Patriots suffered a forearm fracture during the Super Bowl, and he is set to undergo surgery this week. This will involve placing plates and screws across the bones to allow them to heal in the proper position. This could be something similar to an injury that Rob Gronkowski had several years ago, but all of the details are not available.
A few weeks later he will also have surgery to address a shoulder problem that he had been dealing with throughout the season. This is most likely a partial or complete injury to the labrum in the shoulder or the rotator cuff. These tend to be injuries that athletes can play through with some pain and address in the off season.
Regardless, he is expected to miss the OTAs and be back for training camp.
Cam Newton undergoes shoulder surgery-Dr. Parekh
Melvin Gordon is banged up
Melvin Gordon has been fighting through a bunch of leg injuries all year, but this week might be his toughest yet. On 11/25 against the Arizona Cardinals Melvin Gordon suffered a right MCL injury on a tackle by Arizona defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche. This caused Gordon to miss the next 3 weeks. Then, in a week 17 game Gordon appeared to suffer a mild right high ankle sprain. Last week, against the Ravens, Gordon appeared to already be slowed down with his injuries to his right leg and was wearing a right knee brace. Then, during the first quarter CJ Mosley made a tackle that appeared to cause a left MCL sprain. He returned to the game but was not the same Melvin Gordon we have seen earlier in the year. Melvin Gordon is active and will play against the Patriots but expect him to be limited and not nearly 100%. We will likely see more Austin Ekeler than usual.