Ramblings: RIP Colby Cave, Potential Injury Returns If Season Resumes (Apr 12)
Some sad news to start…
Oilers forward Colby Cave has died at the age of 25. Cave was placed in a medically-induced coma after suffering a brain bleed earlier this week. Although COVID-19 isn't reportedly related to his death, it certainly affected how close his family could be with him during his time in the hospital. This is obviously far too early for this young man to lose his life. In reading tributes to him, it sounded like he was well-liked by his teammates and others in the hockey community. Deepest condolences to his family and others who were close to him.
Cave scored one goal during his 11 games with the Oilers this season, but it was a beauty.
According to Russian hockey writer Igor Eronko, Nikolay Goldobin will sign a two-year contract with CSKA of the KHL. As the Canucks have added to their forward depth over the past year, Goldobin was sent to the KHL. He has many of the tools to be a top-6 forward in the NHL, but the former San Jose first-round pick has simply not scored consistently enough to be relied upon. His point-per-game numbers in the AHL this season (50 points in 51 games) may translate well to the KHL, though.
St. Louis Blues prospect Scott Perunovich has won the 2020 Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's top player. Perunovich is a defenseman for Minnesota Duluth who was second in the US with 34 assists. He was also the first defenseman to lead the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA) in scoring. You can view his Dobber Prospects profile here. There is some potential fantasy upside should he make his way to the NHL, and that might be fast-tracked if the Blues somehow can't find a way to sign pending UFA Alex Pietrangelo.
Hey, remember when we were lamenting star player after star player being sidelined by injuries? Yeah, those were good times. Nowadays, that sounds like a complaint of sore feet to a person that can't walk.
It shouldn't be a secret that if the NHL season resumes, a whole bunch of these players will have healed up in time for a return. This will bring an interesting wrinkle (maybe a pleasant surprise) to fantasy owners, who did not bank on these players returning and perhaps added other players as a result. The way I look at it is if I get Mark Stone back and I have to potentially drop Tyler Toffoli, then that's a champagne problem.
I might be riding off the fumes of Dobber's similar article from late March, and you should be checking Injury Ward for more comprehensive injury updates. So this is more of an update and only for players that I am considering adding to the Top 100 Roto Rankings, which will be updated for April on Wednesday. We all know that the season won't restart for a while (if at all), but it's just an attempt to make the rankings as real as possible. There might not be any adds, drops, or trades allowed in your league anyway, so these are just for valuation purposes.
Possible outjury adds to the Top 100 (to borrow a term from the Keeping Karlsson podcast)
Vladimir Tarasenko – The Blues winger was expected to return shortly after the league shut down (on the late March road trip), so he's probably had extra healing time through all of this. In fact, you could probably activate him from IR at this point. It's amazing how the Blues have chugged right along after arguably their most talented offensive force.
Jacob Markstrom – At the time of the injury, Markstrom was only given a week-to-week timetable. According to Patrick Johnston of the Vancouver Province (via CBS), Markstrom was expected to be sidelined for six weeks at the time of his knee injury in late February. There's a very good chance he'd be back if the season returns, but if it doesn't, has the pending UFA played his last game with the Canucks?
Seth Jones – The Jackets' defenseman resumed skating about a week ago after suffering a fractured ankle in early February (CBC). Actual rehab may be hindered by limited training options, but this is clearly a step in the right direction for Jones owners hoping he will return. Jones was looking at an 8-10-week recovery at the time of injury.
Dougie Hamilton – According to Hurricanes president/GM Don Waddell, Hamilton would be ready to play if the season resumes (ESPN). Waddell said that Hamilton would still need to take the ice, so he may not quite be ready at this very moment. It would almost be a certainty for the summer, though. Only three d-men have a better points-per-game total (John Carlson, Roman Josi, Cale Makar) than Hamilton this season (0.88 PTS/GP).
Erik Karlsson – According to NBC Sports Bay Area (via CBS), Karlsson will be available when the regular season resumes. Under the current circumstances, it might be easier to rehab from a thumb injury than a broken leg, so I'd be willing to bet on a return happening ASAP. If there's still regular season to play, I could see the non-playoff Sharks taking it easy on Karlsson, though.
Steven Stamkos – The Lightning had targeted a potential first-round return for Stamkos had the season played out as normal. Because of the pause, the Lightning and Stamkos decided to relax the recovery process for his core muscle injury (Tampa Bay Times). That should give him enough time to be ready if there's a season, but he's likely still recovering.
Jake Guentzel – Sidelined at around the new year with a shoulder injury after crashing into the boards, Guentzel was expected to miss four to six months. That would have put his return sometime during the playoffs. Since it's now late April, Guentzel is likely in the late stages of his recovery. I don't think he'd be ready now, but chances are very good that he'd be ready if the NHL resumes in the summer.
There are other players that I haven't seen recent updates on that could be ready to return when the season is. Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, and Dobber favorite Oliver Bjorkstrand come to mind here. No news could even be good news when it comes to these players. If I missed anyone important, let me know in the comments.
Potential drops from the Top 100 to make room
Penguins' goaltending tandem – It seems like I've been asked the "Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry" question all season. It hasn't been that long, but I don't know if I'm any more ready to answer it now than I was 2-3 months ago. If the playoffs start today, I still think it will be Murray, but there are still so many unknowns, especially since both are RFAs at season's end. I do know this much: Each eats into the value of the other.
Blue Jackets' goaltending tandem – For all the Elvis Merzlikins magic in January, did you know that he had only won once since February 7? Joonas Korpisalo had assumed the goaltending reins over the last five games and I believe he will once hockey resumes – regardless of whether he is actually the better goalie. However, Korpisalo hasn't sold his case, allowing at least three goals in each of his last four starts. Like the Pittsburgh tandem, both are RFAs at the end of the season.
Ryan Strome – In spite of what has easily been a career season, Strome had no points in his last four games and no goals in his last seven games before the pause.
Tyson Barrie – The Leafs' blueliner also has no points in his previous four games and was on a 46-point pace, well below the 58-point average from his previous two seasons in Colorado. If this is it for the season, it will be interesting to see where Barrie lands in the offseason.
Happy Easter everyone. For more fantasy hockey information, or to reach out to me, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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