The Penguins have been without Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, and three other defenders for various periods this season. Yesterday we learned they've lost James Neal and Jordan Staal for at least a month. The Oilers are currently without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Whitney, and Tom Gilbert. Taylor Hall lost three weeks to a shoulder injury in December. The Blue Jackets went without Jeff Carter and now James Wisniewski is out. The Sabres have lost what seems like their entire roster to injury at one point or another so far this season. Over $100 million of salary cap sits on the sideline with concussions or post-concussion syndrome. Plenty of fans and most of the media are talking about the impact of injuries on this NHL season, but which team has been impacted the most?
I've discussed CHIP (Cap Hit of Injured Players) a number of previously. It's a metric created by LW3H from Springing Malik. He's crated a second metric, AMIP to delve further into the impact of injuries on NHL teams. He reports on these with regular updates and his blog, His definition of CHIP is as follows:
The concept again - multiply each game missed by a player by his 2011/12 cap charge, then take the aggregate of these figures for each team and divide by 82. This indicator of value lost to a team by injury/illness is called CHIP (Cap Hit of Injured Players).
His most recent update is current through the end of December.
- As bad as Edmonton's luck has been, the Oilers aren't close to the worst luck in the league. Through December they are in the middle of the pack. Ryan Whitney has been their biggest CHIP loss and it doesn't seem like he'll be back soon.
- Sidney Crosby's concussion symptoms have contributed to the single-largest CHIP value of the first three months, and have the Pens in second place. With Neal and Staal on the bench, they might close on #1 by the end of January.
- First place is currently held down by the Canadiens, fueled by Andrei Markov and Scott Gomez. Markov has yet to play this season, and though Gomez and his $7.35 million cap hit have become a running joke amongst fans, the Canadiens freefall coincides with Gomez' injury. He's still a possession force and without him the Canadiens are floundering.
- While Wild fans will be the first to blame injuries for the team's recent results (1 win in their last 12 games) it's worth noting the Wild are in the middle of the pack, right above the Oilers in total CHIP.
- The Blues have become a force in spite of their top 10 CHIP. David Perron is back and Andy McDonald is close to returning. They're going to get better.
- Detroit, Chicago and San Jose all sit in the top 5 in the Western Conference and are all in the top 5 in team health thus far.
- Carolina, on the other hand, is second-healthiest team in the league and has been awful. Imagine how much worse they would be if they were dealing with injuries. With Joni Pitkanen on the shelf, they will shoot up the standings.
- The top 6 teams, 8 of the top 10 and 10 of the top 12 most-injured teams in the league are from the Eastern Conference.