October 15, 2009 at 1:00 am

Dana Wakiji: NHL Insider

NHL stars are dropping like pucks

Johan Franzen of the Red Wings is expected to miss four months because of a torn ACL in his right knee. (David Guralnick/The Detroit News)

Injuries already are taking their toll in the NHL.

Last week, the Red Wings lost top power forward Johan Franzen for at least four months after he tore his left ACL against the Blackhawks. Franzen suffered the injury before scoring the winner.

"It's going to put pressure on 18 other guys," Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "Everyone's got to be 10 percent better. At the same time it opens up an opportunity for somebody else to step up."

On Sunday, the Canucks said left wing Daniel Sedin would be out four to six weeks after breaking his foot when he was hit by a shot while playing against Montreal last week.

That could be a double loss for the Canucks, depending on how Daniel Sedin's twin, Henrik, reacts to his absence. The two have played on the same line since they started their NHL careers in 2000-01.

"I'm hoping I can be very effective," Henrik Sedin told NHL.com. "I think it's the same thing on any team if you have two good players that play a lot together.

"If one gets injured, the other is affected for sure. Not because we're twins but because Danny is a good player."

The Ducks are listing Canton native James Wisniewski as week-to-week after he sprained his right shoulder Saturday in Philadelphia.

Tuesday night after beating the Red Wings, 6-2, the Sabres revealed that forward Thomas Vanek will miss "weeks" after suffering an upper-body injury.

Vanek, who scored twice against the Wings, was the Sabres' leading goal-scorer last season.

"It's tough, but we have extra players and every team deals with injuries," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff told NHL.com. "Every team is going to miss key players along the way and I think we have enough depth."

In the salary-cap world, teams had better hope they have enough depth because they aren't likely to have any money left to go find a replacement.

Hasek to play in Vancouver?

The Czech Republic might be looking to the past for future Olympic success.

Former Red Wing Dominik Hasek made the list of 60 candidates for the Olympic team.

Hasek, who backstopped the Czechs to gold in 1998, will be 45 when the Olympic hockey tournament starts in February. If he makes the team, it will be his fifth Olympic Games.

Hasek currently is playing for his hometown team, HC Moeller in Pardubice.

Checking in on the rookies

We listed five rookies to watch before the season started, so it's time to check in and see how the early part of the season is going for them.

  • Victor Hedman, Lightning: Hedman is averaging a whopping 25 minutes, 40 seconds for the Lightning. He had four assists and eight penalty minutes and was plus-2 in his first five games.

  • John Tavares, Islanders: Tavares had two goals and three assists in his first four games, including a power-play goal. He is getting an average ice time of 21:26, more than any rookie except Hedman.

  • Nikita Filatov, Blue Jackets: Filatov had just one goal through four games but that one was a winner at Vancouver. He's averaging only seven minutes.

  • Semyon Varlamov, Capitals: Varlamov is off to a bit of a rocky start, having been taken out early in a game against Philadelphia. He's 1-0 with a 5.11 goals-against average and a .857 save percentage.

  • Ville Leino, Red Wings: Leino has two goals, one on the power play, in his first four games. His ice time, an average of 12:42, likely will increase as his line with Valtteri Filppula and Danny Cleary is now the second line because of Johan Franzen's knee injury.

    Rookies by the numbers

    25:40 Victor Hedman's average ice time for the Tampa Bay Lightning

    21:26 John Tavares' average ice time for the New York Islanders

    16 Jay Rosehill's penalty minutes with Toronto, more than any other rookie

    5:52 Rosehill's average ice time

    5 Points for Tavares and the Rangers' Michael Del Zotto, tied for the rookie lead

    .976 Save percentage of Edmonton's Jeff Deslauriers, best among rookies

    Wakiji's top five

  • 1. New York Rangers (5-1-0)

  • 2. Pittsburgh (5-1-0)

  • 3. Los Angeles (4-1-0)

  • 4. Buffalo 3-0-1)

  • 5. Columbus (4-1-0)

    Wakiji's bottom five

  • 26. Toronto (0-5-1)

  • 27. New York Islanders (0-1-3)

  • 28. Florida (1-4-0).

  • 29. Minnesota (1-3-0)

  • 30. Dallas (1-0-3)

    dwakiji@detnews.com">dwakiji@detnews.com (313) 222-2089

  • Daniel Sedin, one of twin Canucks scorers, suffered a broken foot when he ... (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)