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NHL Injuries

Hockey is an unpredictable sport so it’s not surprising the NHL injuries can happen in any game. Use this page to keep up with the latest NHL injury report, and learn more about the most common injuries in the NHL and how hockey player injuries can impact betting odds.


NHL Injuries

The NHL regular season begins at training camp and spans 82 games over seven months, not including playoffs. It features the finest ice hockey players in the world skating at breakneck speeds, shooting the puck in excess of 100 miles per hour, and delivering bone-jarring hits in non-stop action.

Therefore, it’s no wonder injuries are a rather common occurrence, some much more serious than others. We don’t have to look very far to find evidence of just how devastating these injuries can be with official site reports chronicling the gruesome details of some of the league’s greatest players whose careers have been derailed in the blink of an eye.

Former Boston Bruins superstar, Cam Neely, was the consummate rugged right winger who was an elite scorer, as well as a celebrated tough guy. But Bam-Bam Cam took a cheap shot from Penguins defenseman, Ulf Samuelsson, in Game 3 of the 1991 Prince of Whales Conference Finals and sustained a career-altering knee injury.

Injuries can affect numerous things, such as regular season games all the way up to the Stanley Cup. This includes not only who will win the Stanley Cup, but who even makes it to the Stanley Cup finals. Not all injuries have the largest impact, but many players will see a costly injury at some point causing them to miss out on game time, or even a full season.

Understanding The NHL Injury Report

If you want to get into hockey and make money betting on NHL games during the regular season then you need to know where to find updated injury reports. Knowing who’s playing, and more importantly, who’s not, can have an enormous impact on your NHL betting success rate, especially if you want to bet on player prop bets or team futures in addition to other betting markets.

OddsTrader’s injury tracker provides the information needed to find out what kind of injury is sidelining players on each of the NHL teams.

Since team officials are often reluctant to give specifics on injuries to their players but the key factor is understanding how long the players will be out of action and under the care of surgeons and/or sports medicine professionals.

Reading the Report

Injury reports are easy to read and often look like the following:

  • Phoenix Coyotes – Conor Timmins – Defenseman – Questionable – Upper Body

Some sites will also provide some insight as to the nature of the injury, and in this case, we see the following description of Timmins’ injury: Timmins is dealing with an upper-body injury and is uncertain to take the ice for the Coyotes.

What is the NHL Injured Reserve List?

According to the NHL Injured Reserve List policy, “A player may be placed on injured reserve if he is unable to participate due to illness or injury, provided that the player had passed the club’s initial physical examination at the start of the season. To qualify for the IR due to injury, that injury must be sufficient (in the opinion of the team’s medical staff) to render the player unable to participate for the seven days following that injury. Once placed on IR, the team may then replace the player on their roster. The player on IR may not return to active play for seven days, although they may participate in non-competitive events such as practice, meetings, etc.”

The IR list, as it is commonly referred to, is reserved for players with injuries that will be off the ice for at least 1-2 weeks if not longer. Sometimes an undisclosed injury can manifest into something more serious if the player tries to play through the pain. Team officials will often be forced to confront the player if his play is noticeably lacking and will announce a timetable for return once the injury is revealed.

The Injured Reserve List is limited to short-term injuries that will keep the player out for weeks of action, not months. There is also a non-roster injured reserve which, according to NHL rules, reads as follows, “Player who fails the Club’s initial physical examination in any League Year, or is injured, ill or disabled while not on the Club’s Active Roster, he shall not be eligible for, and may not be placed on, Injured Reserve, but instead shall be eligible to be, and may be designated as, Injured Non- Roster.”

The NHL Long-Term Injured Reserve List (LTIR)

Unlike the Injured Reserve List, the Long-Term Injured Reserve List is for players who will be out for 6-8 weeks or even months of action. Normally the teams will have a good idea of how long the player will be out after the surgical procedure is finished and will then, in consultation with the surgeon as well as team trainers, announce a timetable for return.

This year we have seen many key players designated on the LTIR list like Carolina’s Max Pacioretty who has been out since the start of the season with an Achilles injury and could miss the entire 2022-2023 season. As anyone knows, an Achilles or ACL tear is among the worst NHL injuries a player can endure.

Most Commonly Suffered NHL Injuries

Unlike other professional sports leagues, the NHL does not compel its franchises to disclose specific injuries. The teams have the latitude to talk in generalities like upper-body injury or lower-body injury. Upper-body injuries usually consist of a shoulder injury, finger fracture, or even a facial injury while lower-body injuries often suggest a hip injury or one of many kinds of foot injuries and knee injuries.

The expected exact return for any can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, but some examples include:

  • Wrist Surgery – 4 to 12 weeks
  • Hip Surgery – 2 to 4 weeks
  • Shoulder Surgery – 6 to 12 weeks
  • Torn Labrum – 6 to 8 weeks
  • Twisted Ankle – 3 to 4 weeks

The white-hot Boston Bruins recently set an NHL record by becoming the first team to win their first 12 home games to begin a season. But in their record-setting game, a 3-2 overtime decision against the Blue Jackets, starting goalie Linus Ullmark, skated off of the ice in the third period after his teammate landed on top of him in a goal crease scrum. The Bruins have announced he has sustained an upper-body injury that could land him on the IR list.

How NHL Injuries Affect Bettors

The rather obtuse nature of reporting injuries in the NHL is a bone of contention for many bettors. Oftentimes the betting odds will be affected once it becomes public knowledge that an injury will preclude an important player from participating.

We often see an undefined issue causing an addition to the IR but the injuries players suffer can run the gamut which doesn’t allow the general public, particularly the sports betting public, an opportunity to evaluate to what degree an undisclosed injury will affect a player going forward.

A bad bruise or a mild sprain might set a player back a few days or even weeks of action depending on the severity, while an injury necessitating a surgical procedure will cause the player to miss months of action and put him on the LTIR.

And we can sometimes glean a bit of knowledge by comparing a player’s performance in the previous game to how he is skating in the game after returning from injury. It often takes several practices and a couple of games to get back to normal and rekindle the chemistry with one’s teammates.

The most commonly affected betting markets include the money line, puck line, prop bets, and Futures odds. The best betting advice is to always try and have as much information as possible, in order to increase your odds.

NHL Injuries FAQ

Why does the NHL not disclose injuries?

The NHL has a storied tradition of obfuscating injuries and its vague wording is often a big stumbling block to oddsmakers setting playoff series’ lines. Carolina Hurricanes starting goalie, Frederik Andersen, had not played in two weeks before last season’s playoff series with Boston. He was tagged with a lower-body injury and neither the top online sportsbooks (including Betway Sports, Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook) nor the bettors knew if he would see any ice time in the series. He never did play but the Hurricanes won the series in seven games despite his absence.

What are the most common upper body injuries in NHL?

Many upper body injuries relate to finger, shoulder, and even abdominal issues that can last a few days or span an entire season. Official site reports do not require the teams to be specific, much to the chagrin of fans, bettors, and oddsmakers alike.

How do you find previous NHL injuries?

The injury history of a player is fairly easy to ascertain as many NHL sites will provide a player’s stats as well as the injuries he has sustained. However, a non-sports-related illness will often remain an undisclosed issue. Some players are injury-prone while others suit up for every game but it is always important to know who is playing and who isn’t, especially if there is money on the line.

How many NHL injuries are caused by fighting?

Not as many as you might think. Fighting has decreased significantly over the years and referees are quick to step in as soon as it appears one player is getting the upper hand. A facial fracture is about the worst injury that can occur during a fight but those are few and far between. Naturally, fighting can spur an upper-body injury ranging from a broken knuckle to a separated shoulder but most of the time the only injury suffered is a bruised ego.

Are there NHL players who retired early because of injuries?

Bobby Orr is the greatest example of a player who was forced to retire early because of injury. Back in the late 60s and early to mid-70s, No. 4 – Bobby Orr – reigned supreme and changed the game forever as the most illustrious scoring defenseman the world had ever seen. However, knee injuries and the surgery needed to correct them would force him to skate away from the game he loved.

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