The Injury Bug Spreads To Hall, Dubnyk, among others…

Injuries, injuries, injuries… blech. Is it just me, or has it been a brutal past week? After staying relatively healthy for the first two months of the season, my fantasy teams are suddenly getting hammered with them. It seems as though every day there’s a new injury.

I know that Matt Murray has been reactivated and Corey Perry is now out week-to-week, but I won’t get into the specifics on those. You'll see more details of those in the Injury Report. But… I managed to squeeze one injury news bit between each * and * in this edition of the Ramblings. So let’s hope that the damage was minimal to your team. But if not, please feel free to share your sob story below. Here’s mine.
 


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A gut punch to many fantasy teams (such as mine) was the announcement that Alex Pietrangelo is headed to IR with a lower-body injury. Pietrangelo is a top-5 scoring defenseman who is also in the top 10 among d-men in icetime and shots on goal. So those will be big shoes to fill on the St. Louis defense.

With Jay Bouwmeester also out of commission on Tuesday, Colton Parayko logged 27 minutes – a total that he has now reached in back-to-back games. The Blues had just one power-play in their game against Tampa Bay, so there wasn’t a huge sample to draw from. But it is worth mentioning that Vince Dunn led all Blues’ d-men in power-play time in this game. Dunn has just six points in 30 games, so you probably aren’t going to be rushing out to grab him. But he is worth keeping an eye on should Pietrangelo miss more than a few games.

The injury-ravaged Blues didn’t score because they ran into Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has been one of fantasy’s top goalies. The Bolts’ keeper stopped all 32 shots he faced in earning the win in this battle of conference leaders. Vasilevskiy is the first goalie to reach 20 wins this season, as he holds an immaculate 20-4-1 record following this win and shutout.

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Continuing our theme on injuries, Taylor Hall left Tuesday’s game in the third period with a knee injury. But at least he scored two goals to help the Devils in a convincing 5-1 win over Los Angeles. Don’t forget that Hall is a decorated Band-Aid Boy. Although Hall has stayed relatively healthy over the past two seasons, he has averaged under 70 games played over the six full non-lockout seasons he has played in.

Hall has been driving the bus for the Devils as a point-per-game player this season. So any potential loss would be felt by both his owners and those of his linemates Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt. Let’s cross our fingers.

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Here’s another doozie for you. Devan Dubnyk left Tuesday’s game against Calgary after the first period with a lower-body injury. Alex Stalock took over, stopping 16 of 17 shots in eventually earning a shootout victory. Stalock would obviously be a goalie to target should Dubnyk miss any time.

As for a Dubnyk update, take this for what it’s worth:
 


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Connor McDavid did everything except score and lead the Oilers to victory on Sunday in Toronto. So he was clearly due, and the victim happened to be John Tortorella and the Columbus Blue Jackets. McDavid scored a goal and added three assists as the Oilers annihilated the Blue Jackets 7-2 in Columbus.

It’s worth mentioning that Jesse Puljujarvi has been playing on the McDavid line recently. He scored a goal and added an assist, giving him five goals and two assists in the 14 games since his callup from Bakersfield of the AHL. The fourth overall pick from last year’s draft is currently owned in just 8 percent of Yahoo leagues, making him a viable target in deeper formats.

Sergei Bobrovsky was very un-Bobrovsky-like in this game, allowing five goals on 26 shots before getting the hook at the end of the second period. Out of all the goalies I own on fantasy teams, I can truthfully say he’s been the one goalie I can rely on every night. But even the best goalies put up stinkers every now and then.

And yes, here’s another injury, just to keep the theme going. Brandon Dubinsky was injured late in the third period after a fight with Zack Kassian.
 


I was sooooooooo looking forward to this. But I’m left soooooooo disappointed. This was a classic waiting to happen.

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Life is so rough for the Ottawa Senators right now, they can’t even beat Buffalo. That’s five losses in a row for the Sens, who showed their frustration with slammed bench doors and numerous long faces throughout this game.     

I was told that good writers attempt to bring unity throughout their work, so I am trying to do that here with mention of yet another injury. In this section, it’s Bobby Ryan, who left the game in the third period after getting levelled along the boards by Jordan Nolan. After the game, Guy Boucher said that Ryan is fine and was simply pulled by concussion spotters as a precaution.

Erik Karlsson: Worth what you paid for him in a draft? A total of 19 points in 24 games isn’t terrible. But we expected a lot better than a minus-16 (regardless of your opinion of plus-minus). At least he has assists in two of his past three games (including Tuesday’s game), but those are his only points if you go back nearly a month. I can’t help but think that the no-trade list talk is a distraction to this team, but maybe things will settle down.

But are the Sens really this bad? Remember this is a team that could have just as well beaten Pittsburgh in Game 7 overtime of the East Finals, so in less than half a season the wheels have to have really fallen off if they are suddenly a lottery team. While this black cloud is hanging over Canada’s capital, why not test the waters on your league’s Karlsson owner with a discounted offer? Here’s an example of one on the Forum.

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This time, some positive injury news! Marc-Andre Fleury returned to the Vegas goal on Tuesday, which was his first game in nearly two months. The Hurricanes, being the strong puck possession team that they are, fired 37 shots on Fleury and he was up to the task on all but two of them. Unfortunately he could not hold on for the win, losing in a shootout.

The Golden Knights’ unexpected success has resulted in Fleury currently being valued much higher than we assumed entering fantasy drafts, despite his limited number of games played. It’s amazing that Vegas has been able to stay in a playoff spot in spite of that revolving door of inexperienced goaltenders. Having a stable veteran such as Fleury can only help this team.

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The Jonathan ToewsBrandon SaadAlex DeBrincat line was buzzing on Tuesday, as each recorded two points in the Hawks’ 3-2 overtime win. We know that Toews and Saad connect, but we should also mention that DeBrincat’s fantasy stock is on the up and up as long as he’s on that line. If you go back to his hat trick on November 27, DeBrincat has ten points (5g-5a) over his last nine games. He’s also a top-5 rookie scorer in both goals and points. Plus he’s fun to watch.

DeBrincat’s presence on this line has made Richard Panik obsolete for fantasy purposes. A player that I very nearly landed in my auction keeper league, Panik was a healthy scratch for this game. He has not scored a goal in 21 games and has not recorded a point in his last seven games. He was replaced for this game by Ryan Hartman, who is also battling through his own goalless drought (15 games). Panik is still owned in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues, so you can probably find a better option if you’re still one of those owners.

More injury good news! Evgenii Dadonov returned earlier than expected to the Panthers’ lineup on Tuesday. However, he was held without a point in 16 minutes of icetime and didn’t play on the Panthers’ top line with Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov in this one.

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Apologies if I missed any injuries.

For more fantasy hockey information, follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.