I usually write this once a year but people email many times over a 12-month period mad as hell about the scouts and forgetting the injuries. When I do bring this subject to the fore, the reaction is often ‘apologist’ or ‘you love Stu’ or ‘get over your Pouliot fixation!’ and that’s all fair.
Fair as well to discuss prospects and the impact injuries have on them in the days before and after they are drafted. The list is long and unforgiving for all involved.
SINCE THE TURN
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.
- 2001: Dan 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. Major impact on his career.
- 2002: JF Dufort: Suffered a career ending concussion late in 2002-03.
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. All added, major
impact on his career.
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. Injuries had a major impact on his career.
- 2003: Mikhail 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, Unknown impact on career.
- 2006: Theo Peckham: Suffered a shoulder injury late in the 09-10 season; suffered concussion one year later.
- 2007: Alex Plante: Suffered back and concussion problems in the year after he was drafted. More concussion issues as time rolled along. Definite impact on career.
- 2008: Jordan Eberle: Sprained left ankle during rookie NHL season, 2010-11. Knee injury, 2011-12. Knee injury 2013-14. All minor, unlikely impact on career.
- 2010: Taylor Hall: Ankle injury during rookie NHL season, 2010-11.Shoulder and concussion issues, 2011-12. Hamstring, 2012-13. Knee injury, 2013-14. Sprained MCL and then a leg injury, 2014-15. Cumulative impact is a concern.
- 2010: Tyler Pitlick: Has suffered various injuries over the years, including knee and spleen. I think one could argue that is has impacted his development.
- 2010: Curtis Hamilton: Several issues derailed much of his entry-level contract, including knee and shoulder issues. As with Pitlick, impact on development likely.
- 2010: Tyler Bunz. Various injuries over his career, including one that could have had tragic results.
- 2010: Drew Czerwonka. Injuries suffered in unior hockey forced him to pass on a pro career.
- 2011: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: Shoulder issues great and small over his seasons. Possible impact on development.
- Sept 2/11: Swedish Oil: Klefbom was unlucky enough to get cut on his thigh by an ice skate, the wound was sewn with ten stitches, and when the stitches were removed there was an infection. Now Klefbom is on penicillin which also prohibits him from playing.
- Nov 14/11: Sami Hoffrén: Klefbom was hit to the head by a Russian forward and he had to leave the game. Didn’t play in the tournament after that hit. I assume Klefbom suffered a concussion.
Oct 9/12: Oscar Klefbom: “It
happened on Oct. 9 playing against Vaxjo,” Klefbom said. “I dumped the
puck in the offensive zone and I got a small hit from behind and I lost
my balance and I flew into the boards. I had to catch myself with my
left arm. Afterwards, I couldn’t feel my arm, it was like a dead arm. I
didn’t know what happened.”
- Sept 12/13: Oilers announce they are following concussion protocol after Klefbom is injured in the U of A game.
2011: Martin Gernat injured shoulder fall 2012. Injured late March 2015 and lost the rest of the season.
- 2012: Nail Yakupov infected leg scare. Ankle injury, 2013-14.
- 2013: Darnell Nurse: Knee injury, 2014-15
- 2013: Marco Roy: Concussion and other injuries impacted development, Oilers did not sign him.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I get more reaction from this post annually than any other (that’s why I moved it to ON for this season). You don’t want to hear from crazy Uncle Lowetide and his apologist ramblings about Pouliot, Stu and the promising Lynch. I understand. It’s far easier to say a guy didn’t develop and our own memories can’t possibly hold all the bruises and tweaks over a career.
Injuries impact the draft. The best thing we can hear on the Sunday night from Sunrise is that all Oilers picks are coming off healthy seasons and are working toward the fall.