One could say that the NHL lockout really didn't benefit anyone inside of hockey. However, you might be able to argue that those injured were fortunate enough to get some extra rest in order to heal. I'm sure they would rather have had a paycheck, but we here in Fantasy Hockey land don't care much about that. That being said, lets take a look at some injuries to key players and how they're currently doing.
Gaborik and the Rangers couldn't have planned it better if they tried. Reports are that Gabby will be healthy and in the lineup when the season opens up. As you might recall, he suffered a torn labrum during last season's Stanley Cup playoffs but played through, then had offseason surgery to repair. You should expect some early season rust but that might be offset by the arrival of Rick Nash. If you can get him at a discount, do it.
Well the good news is that Pronger will be attending camp for the Flyers. But that's where the good news ends. He won't be suiting up or even putting on a pair of skates. He'll just be there for moral support. It's been well over a year since he suffered the concussion but reports are he still has headaches. My guess is that we've seen the last of Pronger in the NHL. More importantly, you can completely exclude him from your 2013 plans.
Unfortunately the update on Ryan Kesler is the hated term "no timeline for his return." He had wist and shoulder surgeries in the offseason. It was just three and a half weeks ago that Kesler's agent said he was "several months" away from returning. This doesn't sound good. In a couple of my drafts that were done in the fall, Kesler was taken earlier than he should have been with the thinking that he'd be ready for the opener if there was a strike shortened season. Well, we got the strike shortened season, but it looks like we won't see Kelser for a while.
The last time we saw Hossa he was being taken off the ice on a stretcher after a dirty hit by Raffi Torres. Torres received a 21-game suspension and Hossa received a bad concussion. It was the type of concussion that looked like we might not see him for a very long time. Instead, the reports are that he's healthy and eager to get on the ice for the start of the season. As we all know, head injuries are tricky so don't draft Hossa and expect the elite numbers that we've been accustomed to.
Quick looks to be another big injury victim winner from the lockout. He had offseason surgery on his back to repair multiple issues. Reports are that he's expected to be cleared to play any day now, which means he'd be available to play in the opener. Back surgery is certainly nothing to sneeze at so you might want to go Henrik Lundqvist instead if you have the choice.
Henrique established himself last season as a productive NHL player. He even played the role of hero multiple times during the Devils' unlikely run to the finals. Unfortunately, he suffered a thumb injury while playing in the AHL back on November 28, 2012. He had surgery and just had his cast removed four days ago. The reports are that he'll require 3-4 weeks to recover which means he'll likely miss the first two weeks of the season.
After Horton came back last season from a 2011 playoff concussion, he suffered another one in January 2012. While he's been cleared to play and will likely be in the lineup for the Bruins on opening day, the concussion issue is just too severe to ignore. I would stay away.
The recent reports of Burns' potential to miss the opener are somewhat surprising. He was supposed to be fully recovered and ready for the actual season opener back in October. He suffered through a groin injury and sports hernia all season and had offseason surgery. The Sharks and Burns are remaining hush hush as to his availability so the chance that he plays on January 19 still exists, but it seems highly unlikely. He'll likely slip in your draft based on this info and depending on how far, I'd take a shot.
The promising young rookie suffered a concussion while playing in the AHL during the middle of December. Reports are that he's still experiencing headaches and the Maple Leafs are taking no chances. He'll be eased along slowly so it's tough to figure out when and if we'll see Gardiner this season. Draft him late and hope for the best.
You can cross Ruutu off of all your lists as he's going to miss the entire regular season following hip surgery. Apparently, this was a nagging issue that had been bugging him since last season. Rehabbing did not help the problem so Ruutu opted for the surgical procedure.
Hamonic went down with a concussion back on Demember 2, 2012 while playing in the AHL. He has not played again since then but the reports aren't terrible. He's not far off from skating and has a chance to play in the opener if all goes right.