The preseason is a necessary evil in professional sports. Talent evaluators, coaches and general managers need to take a period of time to study their rosters, tweak them and determine which players give them the best chance to win. There is a drawback to playing as many as eight preseason games and it comes in the form of injuries.
The regular season kicked off Tuesday night with three games, and as the puck dropped there were 98 players listed on NHL injury reports, or roughly 14 percent of all League players. Of those 98, over 30 of them were defensemen suffering from injuries of varying severity. One of those defensemen was Kris Letang, who we already know will miss the Pittsburgh Penguins opener on Thursday night.
Many folks couldn't understand why Letang would only rank third in our preseason rankings, but this validates the positioning. Letang is one of the most productive defensemen a team can have; however, he has played a full season just once over the past five years. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have drafted him, because he will likely finish the season with the highest points per game among all players at his position.