THE LESSON OF DOUG LYNCH

 

This is Doug Lynch. He was the second draft pick made by Kevin Prendergast after he took over as scouting director (the first was Ales Hemsky). Lynch had a solid junior career and adjusted quickly to pro hockey–playing in the AHL All-Star game as a rookie. Lynch’s future looked bright, but it was dashed by injury. 

 

If you look back over the last dozen drafts, the list of prospects who have suffered possible career-altering injuries is long and depressing. This list is by no means all-inclusive, but gives one an idea about how much injury impacts young players during their development period. They all look like a million bucks on draft day, but the fact is that injuries have an enormous impact on which of these prospects make the grade. 

 

  • 2001: Doug Lynch: A wrist injury that was not properly addressed and then a knee injury after being dealt to the Blues organization derailed a promising NHL career. That wrist injury came on the heels of a very impressive AHL season, and washed away his future.
  • 2001Dan Baum: Was a long shot prospect who had an agitator style and fell victim to concussions. Injuries ended career.
  • 2002: Jesse Niinimaki: Niinimaki showed a lot of promise until a (Guy Flaming described it as a "devastating injury") severe shoulder injury 10 games into the 2003-04 season ended his year.
  • 2002: JF Dufort: Suffered a career ending concussion late in 2002-03. Injuries ended career.
  • 2003: Marc Pouliot: He was actually injured before the draft–at the Top Prospects game in 2003 when Dion Phaneuf leveled him with a vicious (and clean) check. In the summer of 2003 he got hurt at the Canadian WJC camp in Calgary (hip) and that had a major impact on his 18-year old season. It also hurt his performance at the Oilers rookie camp just two months after being drafted. In November 2003 he suffered an abdominal injury and missed the Q/Russia prospects game and he played on 42 QMJHL games that season, finally having surgery in Montreal in summer 2004 to repair the abdominal tissues. He played 3 weeks with a broken wrist during the 2003-04 season. Mono just before the Stanley run. Possibly a major impact on his career. Pubis thing came later, added to hilarity. 
  • 2003: JF Jacques: Although fairly healthy during his junior career and early pro seasons, JFJ lost an enormous amount of time and some of his skill set due to (back) injuries. 
  • 2003Mikhail Zoukov: Suffered a "serious injury" that wiped out his 04-05 season. Unkown impact on career.
  • 2004: Rob Schremp: Suffered a serious knee injury at the end of his second AHL season and required surgery. Unknown impact on career.
  • 2005: Taylor Chorney: Sprained knee spring 2008 right at the end of his college career. He also suffered a knee injury in 10-11 while with the Oilers, I don’t know if it was the same knee and of course unknown impact on career.
  • 2006: Theo Peckham: Suffered a shoulder injury late in the 09-10 season; suffered concussion one year later.
  • 2007: Sam Gagner: missed the last 9 games of the 2009-10 season with a hip injury. Missed the last 14 games of the 2010-11 season with a hand injury. Unknown impact on career. 
  • 2007: Alex Plante: Suffered back and concussion problems in the year after he was drafted, and has now suffered four documented concussions since turning pro. Likely impact on career. 
  • 2008: Jordan Eberle: Missed 13 games with a sprained left ankle during rookie NHL season, 2010-11. Missed 4 games with a knee injury, 11-12. Unknown impact on career. 
  • 2009: Anton Lander: Missed 3 games, 2011-12. Unlikely any impact on career. 
  • 2009: Kyle Bigos: Suffered a lower body injury, first NCAA game of the 2012-13 season. 
  • 2010: Taylor Hall: Missed the final 17 games of his rookie season with an ankle injury, 2010-11. Missed 7 games with a shoulder injury, 2010-11. Missed final 11 games of 2011-12 season with a concussion. Would have missed several games at the beginning of 2012-13 NHL season if not for lockout (shoulder surgery). Unknown impact on career. 
  • 2010: Tyler Pitlick: Out currently with a concussion.
  • 2010: Tyler Bunz: Has also had concussion issues
  • 2010: Brandon Davidson: Undergoing treatment for testicular cancer
  • 2010: Drew Czerwonkda: Forced to retire before turning pro due to injuries. 
  • 2011: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: Missed a total of 20 games during his rookie season due to shoulder injuries. Unknown impact on career. 
  • 2011: Oscar Klefbom: Thigh infection and concussion problems during 2011-12, and suffered season-ending shoulder injury early into 2012-13 season. Unknown impact on career. 
  • 2011: David Musil: Suffered wrist injury in 11-12 season. Unknown impact on career.
  • 2011: Travis Ewanyk: Suffered devastating shoulder injury that basically cost him a season, 2011-12. 
  • 2011: Martin Gernat: Suffered devastating shoulder injury that basically cost him half a season and counting, 2012-13. 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Injuries have been a part of Oiler fans life seemingly forever. Certainly since the summer of 2006 it seems the entire organization was born under a bad sign. Added to the Souray, the Khabibulin, the Hall, the Nuge injuries have been a bunch of injuries below the NHL that could and will have long term impact. 

This fall alone the blueline depth has been impacted greatly (Klefbom, Gernat, Bigos, Davidson). Its something to keep in mind down the line when we suggest the scouting director made a bad call. 

Call it the lesson of Doug Lynch. Remember these injuries, they all add up. 

  • yawto

    So with Ryan Murray down with a season ending shoulder injury, sure am glad that Fist overall was ours and we had to settle for the Yak. Based on the injury, sounds like Murray was destined to be an Oiler though.

  • yawto

    But kinda eerie as he was destined to be an Oiler up until that lottery win. Crazy how things work out. If we would have taken him that would have been another top end prospect with a shoulder injury. Guess no one told fate that he got picked by Columbus instead of us.

  • 24% body fat

    Hey DSF,

    Eddie Lack and Matt Climie have struggled through the first twenty games and both are sporting sub-.900 save percentages.

    What happened to your so called world class goaltenders.

    • DSF

      Eddie Lack has given up 38 goals.

      Yan Danis has given up 38 goals.

      Who the hell is Matt Climie?

      If you mean Matt Hackett, he’s given up 39 goals.

      How about that Brust kid…the Calgary prospect?

      SV% of .978 and GAA of 0.59.

      Jeebus.

    • Lowetide

      Starts right after Hemsky–with a reason. Although Hemsky has suffered many injuries over the years, he’s also had a strong career. If the guy taken afterward–Lynch–had developed as expected after his rookie pro season, then the Oilers of the ’00s might have been a better club.

      It’s a big issue.

      Bruce: Thanks!

  • Lowetide

    This list of tragedy emphasizes the long odds that any player has to overcome to even have an NHL career. When I read the rants about players “not deserving” what they get paid I think about how quickly a professional hockey career can end, and a lifetime of pain and suffering can begin. We sure get entertained by their sacrifices, but man, when you read an article like this, it gives you pause for thought.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The athletes are bigger,stronger and faster. With the playing surface remaining unchanged throughout the decades, these are the results league wide unfortunately.

    The league doesn’t seem at all too concern with these casualties to date. No harm in pushing the boards back 3 feet in all directions i’d think.

    • 206 feet long and 91 feet wide, giving an increase of 3 feet all around.

      I think it would make for some outstanding hockey

      Decreased injuries – less trapping – faster game – Bring back the goalies ability to play the puck –

      I think the NHL has to start looking at increasing the size of the ice for sure.

      On a plus note New Age System would have to re-invent a whole new system!

      • ubermiguel

        I agree, bigger rink = good, but the owners would never go for the lost revenue of 1-2 rows.

        Now if every new rink was made a little bigger, that’d be alright. I miss the days of Boston’s oddball-sized rink, nothing wrong with different playing surfaces, it would bring personality back to hockey barns.

  • 2008: Jordan Eberle: Missed 13 games with a sprained left ankle during rookie NHL season, 2010-11. Missed 4 games with a knee injury, 11-12. Unknown impact on career. In a manner befitting a Lady Byng candidate, he continues to return all jocks and pants that are lost during his sick dekes and snipes.

    Fixed.

  • Why is nobody linking these injuries back to the athletes conditioning? While hockey is a high impact sport the amount of shoulder and knee injuries is ridiculous as is the majority of the training these guys are doing.