With only a week to go before the first puck of the 2018-19 regular season drops, the time is right to take a closer look at some of the players who might not be on the ice out of the gate. To that end, here's a roundup of relevant injury news, along with the corresponding fantasy fallout:
Corey Perry, RW, Anaheim Ducks
Just earlier this week, Perry blew out his knee severely enough to require surgery. He is currently expected to miss up to five months. That pretty much brings us to March. Unless your league provides an excess of IR spots, the veteran winger is utterly expendable. Too bad, as he had many of us convinced that a resurgent campaign was in order.
According to Ducks beat reporter Eric Stephens, rookie Troy Terry is currently tabbed to take over for Perry on a top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell. Ondrej Kase is slated to play right wing on the second unit, with Jakob Silfverberg shifted to the left side of Adam Henrique (C Ryan Kesler remains sidelined indefinitely with a hip issue). Skating alongside Getzlaf and Rakell, Terry becomes instantly fantasy-relevant. The 21-year-old collected 48 points in 39 games with the University of Denver last season.
After undergoing knee surgery in early July, Weber isn't anticipated back on the ice until sometime around New Year's Day. At that point, if he's indeed fully fit, the veteran defenseman should resume his standing as a reliably high-end fantasy asset. Draft him accordingly. In the meantime, Jeff Petry is again projected to fill in on the Canadiens' top power-play unit. Last season, Petry amassed 12 goals and 30 assists, largely while subbing in for Weber.
A little banged up
Still rehabbing from May hip surgery, the Devils' No. 1 netminder is considered doubtful to start the regular season between the pipes. However, he doesn't seem to be that far off. Plus, the added bonus of having a healthy Schneider back in play, after the goalie had been bothered by this ailment for well over a year, could pay out greater fantasy dividends over the long-term.
According to Tampa's new GM Julien BriseBois, Kucherov is "fine" after leaving Tuesday's preseason game with a lower-body injury. While that's mostly reassuring, the elite fantasy commodity is currently spoken for in 99.9 percent of ESPN.com leagues, so leading up to the regular campaign, fantasy managers will want to ensure BriseBois' assessment is indeed correct.
The Avalanche's recent decision to hold Rantanen (leg) out of preseason competitive play feels like it was entirely precautionary. Barring any unexpected developments, expect the 21-year-old winger to compete in Colorado's opener on October 4. Last season, skating on a top line with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog, the former No. 10-overall draft pick collected 29 goals and 55 assists.
Recently upgraded from "week-to-week" to "day-to-day" with an upper-body injury, Sheary could conceivably be active for the first week of the regular season. A fantasy dark horse, the former Penguins winger -- who was exceptionally productive when skating with Sidney Crosby two years ago -- is loosely slated to slot in on one of Buffalo's two top forward lines, perhaps alongside promising rookie center Casey Mittelstadt. He shouldn't be overlooked in deeper leagues.
More serious issues
This injury strikes a mean blow to an already battered Columbus blue line. Suffering a serious knee sprain in preseason play on Tuesday, Jones is projected to miss four-to-six weeks, and Zach Werenski remains iffy to start the season after spring shoulder surgery. With Ryan Murray also out injured, third-year skater Markus Nutivaara could be tasked with anchoring the Blue Jackets' secondary power-play unit -- if not the first -- until Jones returns in late October or early November.
Alex Galchenyuk, LW/C, Arizona Coyotes
His fresh start with the Coyotes is on hold. Galchenyuk is considered to be "week-to-week" with a lower-body injury sustained in camp. Once he recovers, the 2012 No. 3-overall pick -- still only 24 years old -- is expected to serve as Arizona's second-line center (and power-play asset), on this ever-improving squad. Fantasy managers in deeper leagues are advised to monitor his progress. The former Montreal forward sports greater productive potential in his new digs. Hopefully, he isn't out too long.
Robby Fabbri, C/LW, St. Louis Blues
At least this time it isn't his ACL. After Fabbri missed all of 2017-18 due to his re-injuring his knee last training camp, one season removed from a tear, he's now suffering from a strained groin. This young Blues forward can't seem to catch a break! A promising, versatile forward with top-six potential, the 22-year-old Fabbri is worth monitoring, but he won't merit serious fantasy consideration unless and until he's given a clean bill of health.
While he is expected to participate in practice by week's end, and the Blackhawks remain publicly optimistic regarding his prognosis, until we actually see Crawford suited up and penned into a starting lineup, there's reason for unease. Suffering with concussion-related issues, he hasn't played since December. If you're determined to draft the Chicago No. 1 -- and that's not necessarily a terrible idea -- make sure you have some insurance goaltending options on your bench.
Battling a mysterious and altogether vicious-sounding virus, Green has already been ruled out for the start of 2018-19. Nobody, including medical staff members, appears to be in any position to project when he might recover. While Trevor Daley is expected to anchor Detroit's top power-play unit while Green is out, prospect Dennis Cholowski -- drafted No. 20 overall in 2016 -- could earn a spot on the secondary unit. That would be quite the opportunity for the 20-year-old, who wasn't even assured to make the roster entering the preseason.
It's always alarming when a player re-injures a recently healed joint. After undergoing surgery in the spring, Couturier suffered a significant setback in August by doing just that. He's yet to compete this preseason. While the Flyers are optimistic their top center's knee will be "good-to-go" for the 2018-19 opener, more wary fantasy managers may opt for other high-end options in the early stages of their respective drafts. Should Couturier miss time, sophomore C Nolan Patrick is likely to ascend to Philadelphia's top line.
Sidelined this preseason with back spasms, Bergeron remains hopeful to suit up for Boston's opener. If not for other recent "core" issues, there wouldn't be much concern here. However, the 33-year-old did miss 18 games last season. Should these back problems persist, look for David Krejci to sub in on Boston's top forward unit alongside Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.