After returning from an upper body injury on March 5 that kept him out of two games, Thomas Vanek lasted only 7 more games before returning to the injury list. In last night’s matchup with Montreal, Vanek deflected a puck off his right leg and had to leave the game. Renaud Lavoie indicated that Vanek was moving with a lot of difficulty after the game, leaving the possibility that Vanek could miss extended time.
UPDATE (1:45 PM EST – MAR 20) : According to Joe Buscaglia Vanek missed practice this morning but there is a possibility that he could play tomorrow vs. Toronto. The Sabres will see how Vanek feels tomorrow morning before deciding whether or not he will play. This is positive news for Vanek owners because it does not sound like the injury is too serious. Monitor his status throughout the morning for an update. If he does not play tomorrow, Drew Stafford will slide into his spot alongside Tyler Ennis and Ville Leino.
Vanek will be hard to replace as he leads the Sabres with 31 points over 27 games. However, Ville Leino has returned to the Sabres and has put up 3 assists in 3 games in a top-six role. Marcus Foligno or the struggling Drew Stafford could find themselves in an elevated role on the Sabres but if you are looking elsewhere for LW fill-ins:
- Curtis Glencross has been on fire with 6 points in 3 games for the Flames since returning from injury; Alex Tanguay is also widely available
- Guillaume Latendresse is seeing extended time on the Senators’ top line
- Brandon Saad is still LW on the dominant Hawks’ top line with Toews and Hossa
- Valtteri Filppula has also recorded 3 points on the Wings’ first line in his 3 games since returning from injury