How Have Top Draft Prospects Dealt With Injury?


Injuries are a big part of hockey whether it is trying to avoid them or, in this case, trying to come back to regular form after one occurs. It can be unfortunate if you are in your draft eligible season and come across an injury. Some free fall on the draft board and others persevere through it.

A fairly high amount of prospects that will enter the draft this year suffered an injury at some point this year. Let’s take a look at who they are and how they did after.

Connor McDavid #1 N.A Skater (CSS) – Fractured Hand

When Connor McDavid injured his hand in November while in a fight, the hockey world froze and turned its attention to the injured McDavid. There were numerous opinions on the topic of fighting in the game of hockey. Some were in favor, some opposed, but they were all talking about McDavid.

At the time of his injury, Connor McDavid had 16 goals and 35 assists in 18 games. He registered 2 points in the match he fractured his hand in.

Photo Credit to

McDavid injured his hand on November 11th and was evaluated to be out for up to six weeks. However, the junior phenom had incentive to make a speedy recovery due to the World Junior Hockey Championships that were making their return shortly. The impact that he had on Team Canada solidified the fact that the hand injury did not set him back whatsoever.

The 18-year-old was dynamite for Canada. He finished tied for 1st in points in the tournament with 3 goals and 8 assists in 11 games. He came out a clutch performer as well, scoring some big go-ahead goals for Team Canada.

When McDavid returned to the Otters, he would be playing alongside new teammate, and Buffalo Sabres prospect, Nichols Baptiste. Baptiste was traded to the Otters from the poor Sudbury Wolves near the OHL trade deadline. McDavid is on record of being a big Nick Baptiste “fan”.

McDavid called Baptiste “A legit goal scorer. He can flat-out fly.” So it is no surprise that McDavid is in contention for the OHL scoring title after missing 30% of the season, right?

Well, when you score 18 goals and 27 assists in 19 games after returning from injury, sure.

Mitchell Marner #6 N.A Skater (CSS) -“Upper body”

At the time Mitch Marner was injured, he was in a similar situation to Connor McDavid. He was having a stellar season and was in the middle of a hot streak that would put him above everyone in the OHL in scoring. So, when Marner took a massive hit from Will Petschenig, they took a big loss.

Marner missed four games. In that four-game span, the London Knights had a 1-3 record and only had one game with more than 5 goals, which is the average amount of goals they score per game. When you rely on three guys in Mitch Marner and Arizona Coyotes prospects Christian Dvorak and Max Domi, it isn’t a big surprise your team takes a toll when one of them goes down.

London Knights’ Mitchell Marner #93

Photo credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Mitch Marner still holds the scoring lead in the OHL since returning from injury, but is still being tightly followed by Erie Otters Dylan Strome and Connor McDavid. He has played 9 games since the hit from Petschenig and has collected 6 goals and 13 assists.

It is beyond average production from Marner and is no doubt equal to a top 10 prospect. However, it is not the same production as Marner put up in the month of November, where he had 4 hat-tricks, including 2 in one week. It isn’t a big deal though, as Marner is a sure-fire top ten pick.

Mathew Barzal #9 N.A Skater (CSS)  – Cracked Kneecap

At the start of the season, Mathew Barzal was considered by some as “the guy” to come after Connor McDavid in the 2015 NHL Draft. He was hyped considerably during the offseason and was labeled as a “Super prospect” by ESPN’s Seattle affiliate. Was this title deserving to begin with? Maybe not, but he is having a pretty decent season since returning from injury.

Barzal has 11 goals and 31 assists in 33 games with Seattle this year. His skating is normal considering he had a screw put into his knee after he cracked it. His passes are crisp and his shot is precise.

In this highlight, Mathew Barzal shows his that he can put pressure on his knee and still make plays. His quick steps are no problem and he is able to get the pass off for the assist.