Injuries to Vasilevskiy, Crosby, Subban, and More… And What They Mean
With all the injury announcements on Thursday, this might seem like an emergency edition of the Injury Ward. In other words, a significant chunk of today’s Ramblings will be devoted to these injuries and what they all mean to fantasy owners. Apologies in advance if I missed anyone.
Probably the biggest injury news in terms of both importance and length was that of Andrei Vasilevskiy being sidelined for “a while” with a fractured left foot.
Louis Domingue is being added in fantasy leagues as we speak. Surely you have a goalie that you can drop for what will be a starting goalie for one of the league's top teams. https://t.co/BIk6XYKNpU
— Ian Gooding (@Ian_Gooding) November 15, 2018
I’ll expand on my tweet from shortly after the announcement. Louis Domingue is an obvious pickup with this news, and he immediately rewarded fantasy owners who were able to insert him into their lineups right away with a 28-save win over Pittsburgh. Allowing three goals isn’t ideal, but he’s a great option if you need wins. The goalies that I had in mind to “drop” (at least on two of my teams) were Chad Johnson and Darcy Kuemper. So I’m not setting the bar super high here. However, I was beaten to the punch in both instances, in one case by only half an hour. But that turned out to be good fortune for me, as you’ll find out later.
Speaking of the Lightning, Brayden Point picked up a natural hat trick… in just 91 seconds. In case you’re wondering, that’s not an NHL record for the fastest three goals by one player. That belongs to Bill Mosienko of the Blackhawks, who scored three goals in 21 seconds in 1952. Maybe one of those records that will never be broken, at least in our lifetime? Point had been held without a point (sorry, can’t help it) in his last three games. This was already his fourth game with at least three points.
The Penguins had some injury news of their own, as Sidney Crosby missed Thursday’s game and could be out about a week. That gave Jake Guentzel owners the break they needed, as he was elevated to the first-unit power play. He was held without a point but took four shots in a season-high 21:26 of icetime. Patric Hornqvist wasn’t affected by Crosby’s absence, scoring two goals and adding an assist with five shots on goal.
Tanner Pearson also made his Penguins’ debut, playing on a line with Hornqvist and Evgeni Malkin while seeing second-unit power-play duties. However, he was held without a point in just 13:14 of icetime. Keep an eye on Pearson, though, especially if he stays on this line.
Speaking of debuts, Sens’ top prospect Drake Batherson (Dobber Prospects profile here) made his debut on Thursday. He didn’t waste much time making an impact, scoring his first NHL goal – a power-play marker – on his first shot. Although he played just under 11 minutes, he did play some even-strength and power-play minutes with the red-hot Matt Duchene. With two more assists on Thursday, Duchene is scoring at over a point per game (21 points in 19 games), including nine points over his last five games. Batherson, who scored 20 points in 14 AHL games this season, is worth considering for keeper leagues if you can stash him away.
If you just moved on from Anthony Beauvillier after his slow start, then his Thursday performance will sting. Beauvillier, who entered Thursday’s game with just a single point (a goal) and a minus-10 in 16 games, posted a hat trick plus an assist on five shots on goal in the Islanders’ 7-5 over the crosstown rival Rangers. His linemates (Valtteri Filppula and Leo Komarov) are better known from their days with other teams, so his chances of sustained success would seem much higher with a move to one of the Isles’ top two lines. But right now it’s Tom Kuhnhackl (four points in his last five games) getting that opportunity.
With his assist on Thursday, Mike Hoffman was able to extend his point streak to 14 games. That’s a new Panthers’ record. There are benefits to not trading players while their value appears to be plummeting, as I did with Hoffman over the summer.
Unfortunately, Evgenii Dadonov’s point streak ended at 12 games.
Anthony Duclair scored on Thursday, giving him eight goals on the season. He’s averaging only 13 minutes of icetime at the moment, though. Does he make it to 20 for the first time in his career? It’s worth mentioning that he saw even-strength minutes with Cam Atkinson and Pierre-Luc Dubois in this game. But that may only be temporary, as Artemi Panarin missed the game with the flu.
It would be very remiss of me if I discussed injuries and didn’t mention that Brian Elliott had to leave Thursday’s game late in the third period with an injury. His injury would mean more Calvin Pickard. Ah well, at least we get to see more Gritty on a goalie mask. Did I mention that my kids love Gritty?
With a goal and two assists on Thursday, Blake Coleman now has six points over his last five games.
Your co-shutout leader at the moment is Keith Kinkaid, who stopped all 29 shots he faced to earn his third shutout of the season. This in spite of nearly allowing a goal on his botched attempt at scoring a goal (go to the 2:30 mark of the video).
There might not be a team that has been hit harder by the very recent rash of injuries than the Nashville Predators. Not only was P.K. Subban placed on IR this week, but also Viktor Arvidsson is expected to be out for the next 6-8 weeks with a broken thumb. So how did this affect the Preds? Well, they lost 2-1 to Arizona with Darcy Kuemper making 44 saves in the win (thank heaven I didn’t drop him).
Kevin Fiala was moved up to the top line with Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen. This is very good news for Fiala owners, as he has been underutilized at times during the season. Fiala has just two goals in 19 games, but things could begin to pick up if you’ve been patient all this time.
Subban’s absence means that the other three members of their big 4 blueline will be leaned on even more heavily than they usually are. Roman Josi logged 27:37, Ryan Ellis logged 25:13, and Mattias Ekholm logged 24:02 on Thursday.
I’m glad the league I own Ellis in counts icetime, as that’s the only way that he’s providing value to me at the moment. Ellis hasn’t recorded a single point in his last five games and doesn’t have a goal all season in spite of massive opportunities for both. Oskar Klefbom and Erik Karlsson are the only two players to average more icetime without a goal than Ellis. Coincidentally, all three entered Thursday’s games with identical stat lines (zero goals, eight assists).
By the way, the Coyotes scored their league-leading 10th shorthanded goal. So they now have more shorthanded goals than power-play goals (9). So when the other team is called for a penalty, should the Coyotes decline just like they do in football? Start playing like the Charleston Chiefs so that they can be shorthanded?
Check out the injuries on the Bruins’ defense, now that Zdeno Chara is sidelined with a leg injury:
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) November 15, 2018
If you’re looking for an injury replacement, Matt Grzelcyk logged nearly 25 minutes against Colorado on Wednesday. He’s worth a pickup in deeper leagues, as he’s only owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues.
With an assist on Thursday, Max Domi’s point streak now stands at eight games. He has 12 points (5g-7a) over that span. Maybe he’ll slow down, but not today.
With a goal on Thursday, Tomas Tatar now has five goals in his last five games. He’s enjoying a renaissance season that could turn into a breakout when all is said and done.
Good question from a commenter in my last Ramblings: How concerned should we be with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with the Edmonton line moves? He had been playing so well and still has PP1, but should we consider selling high?
With Connor McDavid being reunited with Leon Draisaitl on Tuesday, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ fantasy value took a hit, as he lined up with Tobias Rieder and Alex Chiasson. In spite of that, RNH scored a goal to bring his season total to 18 points in 18 games. I’ll start by giving one reason that you should consider selling high, and another reason that you might not want to.
The reason you should: the Nuge has never recorded more than 56 points in a season. He might be on his way to a career season, but we already have enough of a sample size to know that he is not an 80-point player. If you can exchange him for someone with a higher ceiling than 50-60 points, then it might be worth it for you. Particularly in a multicategory league, where his peripherals aren’t overly strong.
The reason you shouldn’t: Line combinations change all the time. A team like the Oilers might be better off with McDavid and Draisaitl on separate lines to spread out the scoring, which could move RNH back to the McDavid line. I’ll throw in one more reason you shouldn’t: Nugent-Hopkins has just four goals on a 7.1 SH%, a number below his career average of 11.3%. A regression might not be significant, particularly if he is reunited with McDavid.
So my advice is that it wouldn’t hurt to try, particularly if you use it to improve your team in other areas. But if you can’t make the deal, he should be able to hold much of his value going forward.
Take a bow, @f_andersen30…
— NHL (@NHL) November 16, 2018
Better yet, Andersen’s assist counts in one of my fantasy leagues. Hey, minor wins. It's like finding the piece of pork in your can of beans.
If I missed anything, I’ll be back tomorrow, filling in for Cam.
For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.
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