If the lockout were to end today, the Detroit Red Wings would quite possibly start the season a bit shorthanded. Six players are currently recovering from injuries, and at least four of them would have a hard time being ready for the season opener. While this might open a few doors for members of the Grand Rapids Griffins like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson, it could hurt the Wings’ chances to be competitive in 2013.
Winger Patrick Eaves is still suffering from headaches as a result of the concussion he suffered a year ago while blocking a shot from the Nashville Predators’ Roman Josi. His jaw was broken and he missed the rest of the season, and was quoted as recently as October as saying he doesn’t think he’s close to returning. Eaves and Dan Cleary were the only two Wings on injured reserve at the start of the lockout, and were the only players still allowed contact with team medical staff.
Cleary played through a knee injury for part of last season and the playoffs, and as a result only scored 12 goals. He had off-season surgery and has been medically cleared to play, which now prevents him from getting paid by the team or having contact with medical staff. He recently helped organize and played in a charity game in Windsor featuring many locked-out NHL players.
Darren Helm not only suffered a knee injury last season, but also had his right forearm cut by a skate in the Wings’ playoff series against the Predators. He was medically cleared to play in October, and had been participating in informal practices in the area, when he had a puck deflect and hit him in the face, fracturing his cheekbone. He will not need surgery and could possibly still be ready if the lockout ended soon.
Two Red Wings were injured while playing overseas, and neither would be ready for NHL action if the lockout ended today. Center Valtteri Filppula had been playing very well for Jokerit Helsinki of the SM-liiga in Finland before suffering a sprained right knee. He is expected to miss at least another four weeks. Cory Emmerton broke his finger early into his first game for SaiPa Lappeenranta (also in Finland’s SM-liiga), and recently had surgery to put a plate in it. He would be doubtful for the season opener at this point as he continues to rehab and regain full range of motion.
Off-season acquisition Mikael Samuelsson is likely ready to play, but sat out informal practices in October due to an injury. The Detroit Free Press cited teammate Henrik Zetterberg as confirming Samuelsson was injured at the time, and the Wings’ inability to communicate with players has them in a tough spot as they have no knowledge of what the injury was or how serious it could be.