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Offseason Injury Report: Kesler, Burrows, Seguin, Horton, Savard

(5/9/12) With the Stanley Cup playoffs in full swing, hockey fans are obviously swept up in this bizarre upside-down postseason of upsets.  Fantasy owners are no doubt caught up as well, but we've also got one eye toward next year and we're beginning to think about the 2012-13 fantasy season.  In today's injury report, we'll begin a series of updates on the progress of some players who are spending their off-seasons rehabbing, recovering, or having surgeries, and discuss how their injuries may affect their performance come October.

We'll start with some big news that came out yesterday, which is of course that Canucks forward Ryan Kesler recently underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum and may need up to six months to recover.  That means he could miss the first month or more of next season, and it will also hamper his offseason conditioning and his ability to participate in training camp.  

Sounds familiar, eh?  Kesler came into this year off of hip surgury, which caused him to miss training camp and the first several weeks of this season as well.  And, if history is any indicator, fantasy owners again have reason to be concerned - Kesler came into the year off a career season in which he scored 41 goals and 73 points, but he managed only 22 goals and 49 points.  

No doubt the shoulder injury we found out about following the season was a factor, but we have to expect that he won't exactly come roaring out of the gates.  With news of the surgery, Kesler will be tumbling well down our rankings in the 2012-13 Draft Guide (available in August), and we'll definitely be issuing words of caution.  He'll be a very high-risk, high-reward player, but our initial gut instinct says it might be best to just stay away.  Considering his style of play and the wear and tear he's endured the last two seasons, we expect another slow start... and possibly another slow finish.  We'll have a clearer picture as training camps roll around, but for now we'll plant a giant red flag with Kesler and gauge his progress over the summer.

Another Canuck who fantasy owners seemed to have reason to be concerned about is Alex Burrows, who recently suffered a concussion during the ongoing World Hockey Championship in Finland.  However, the latest is that Burrows is back skating with Team Canada and close to returning.  He is reportedly not experiencing any symptoms, so barring a setback it's not an injury that should affect him going into next season.  With that said, any time a player sustains a concussion it makes us apprehensive about drafting him.  As we've seen all too many times, players who suffer one are more susceptible to suffering another.  We'll be bumping Burrows a few pegs down our draft board based on this news, although if he's at 100% come training camp it probably won't have a major impact on his ranking.

Moving along to Boston, the Bruins made a disappointing first round exit from the playoffs, but the silver lining is that it gives Tyler Seguin longer to recover from hand surgery to repair a detached tendon.  Seguin is expected to make a full recovery, and we're not too concerned at this point.  Unless there's some further setback, the injury won't affect his ranking come October.  

Two other Bruins we're keeping tabs on are Nathan Horton and Marc Savard, both of whom are battling ongoing concussion symptoms.  By the sounds of it, there's reason to be optimistic in regard to Horton, but it doesn't look good for his teammate.  Savard was recently quoted by USA Today saying, "This year I was at home a lot and I tried to help out my son coaching and getting on the ice a little bit.  Even doing just (getting on the ice coaching) I wouldn't feel well afterward: lightheadedness, a little bit of an upset stomach all the time.  But the biggest issue I had, of course, is the memory issues.  It's very frustrating.  It's something I hope I don't have to deal with for the rest of my life."  

Scary stuff... makes fantasy hockey seem pretty trivial, and we certainly wish Savard the best in his recovery.  It isn't fair to begin to speculate in regard to his career, and about all we can say is he's not a fantasy option for next year at this point.  As for Horton, he's now had two major concussion himself, although he's making progress and getting better.  It's too early to say with any certainty, but we'll peg his chances to be on the ice for opening day at better than 50%.  

That's all for today.  We'll pick up again tomorrow with a look at a couple of more teams, and some more players rehabbing this off-season as we continue the feature through the summer.