One of the biggest fears of NHL teams during the lockout is having their best players suffer injuries while playing in overseas leagues.
Many of these players are vital to their NHL team's chances of competing for a playoff spot, so losing them for any amount of time during a shortened season would be a tough obstacle to overcome.
Let's look at five notable NHLers who have suffered injuries recently while playing overseas during the work stoppage.
New York Rangers winger Carl Hagelin will be an important player for head coach John Tortorella this season, especially since the team's bottom-six forward group is weaker than it was last year.
Here's an update on his situation (via SNYRangersblog.com):
According to Aftonbladet, SSK has announced that Carl Hagelin has been ruled out for the month of November due to his shoulder injury.
Hagelin scored 14 goals with 24 assists during 2011-12, which was his first full NHL season. The 24-year-old forward will be expected to score over 20 goals next season and provide the Rangers with depth on the wings.
Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov suffered an injury late last month, and still hasn't returned to the ice.
Pavel Lysenkov of Sovietsky Sport first reported the injury:
Andrei Markov got unknown injury in the second period vs Ugra. Left the game and didn't return. #habs— Pavel Lysenkov (@plysenkov) October 26, 2012
Markov has been playing for Chekhov Vityaz of the KHL during the lockout, and if he cannot stay healthy for the Canadiens during the 2012-13 season, Montreal will have some real depth concerns on its blue line.
This is one injury that Canadiens fans will be monitoring throughout the work stoppage. He is one of the team's most valuable players.
Patrice Bergeron is so important to the Boston Bruins because of his playmaking, defensive skill, faceoff ability and leadership. They need him to be healthy to win the Stanley Cup.
He was battling an oblique injury during the Bruins' first round playoff series against the Washington Capitals last year, and it was clearly bothering him. Taking faceoffs was difficult because of the injury.
According to Naoko Funayama of NESN, the 25-year-old center suffered an injury late last month.
Patrice Bergeron (HC Lugano) has upperbody injury. Day-to-day. Missed last game but practiced today. Questionable for tomorrow's game.— Naoko Funayama (@NaokoFunayama) October 25, 2012
Bergeron needs to be careful because if he's not healthy on a consistent basis, the Bruins' chances of wining the Stanley Cup this season will go down significantly.
According to Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Democrat, Buffalo Sabres center Cody Hodgson has a hand injury.
Center Cody Hodgson (broken bone in his right hand) will be out “a couple weeks,” coach Ron Rolston said.
The Sabres will be relying on Hodgson to provide the scoring depth they lacked for most of last season.
He scored just three goals with five assists in 20 games for the Sabres last year, but his production will likely improve dramatically since his role in the offense should be much larger in 2012-13.
If the Sabres want to compete with the Boston Bruins in the Northeast Division, they need players like Hodgson to be healthy and productive on a consistent basis.
Claude Giroux has been one of the most notable NHL players to suffer an injury playing overseas during the lockout.
Paul Holmgren says all he knows is that Giroux is coming back for "evaluation and precaution" on what was diagnosed as a minor neck injury— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) November 20, 2012
Giroux in a text: "I'll be fine. Just going to make sure." He said he will be examined in Atlanta next week. #Flyers— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) November 20, 2012
There's no question that Giroux is the most important forward for the Flyers, and when defenseman Chris Pronger is injured and unable to play, the 24-year-old center is also one of the team's strongest leaders.
It doesn't seem like Giroux's injury is serious, which is good news for the Flyers. He's the focal point of the team's offense and the face of the franchise.
Prior to his injury, Giroux was dominating in Germany. In nine games for Berlin, he has scored four goals with 15 assists.