Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Neutral Zone Wrap: Finding short-term talent

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

It's time to sit down in front of the television (or the streaming online video, as the kids are doing these days) and start watching regular-season hockey. A socially acceptable time to drink and swear to your heart's content. A few hours to keep all the other distractions out of mind. Or so you'd think.

You know those things that appear on broadcasts besides the actual show when we usually run off to the bathroom or grab a refill? Yeah, commercials. Well, when you have nothing better to do during these lulls, the brain ultimately takes over. So if you're looking at hockey, then you're ultimately thinking about hockey. And if that's the case, then your Fantasy teams will inevitably invade your thoughts.

Your squads are set and the games start to mean something, so the focus turns from planning to worrying. Should I have drafted the lower-scoring forward because he would've provided more penalty minutes? Have I forgot to insert the right players into my lineup? And yes, the most important concern: How soon until one of my guys gets injured?

As I say every year, you cannot protect your Fantasy players from getting hurt; that's the nature of the game. Short-term aches and pains will go away and the free-agent market is often loaded with serviceable replacements. However, if you own a skater who may be out for a while, then you may have to dig deeper. The waiver wire still applies, but you'll often find the best fill-in for a prolonged casualty on the same NHL roster. With that in mind, here are a couple significant wounded folk and their beneficiaries:

Note: Long-term casualties such as Sidney Crosby and David Perron are not included since they have already missed long stretches and their replacements are known. Goalies are also left out for the latter reason.

Who has fallen?

Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond, F, Vancouver: Kesler underwent hip surgery in August and will be gone for at least a few weeks. Raymond should be out longer thanks to fractured vertebrae suffered in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup.

Who will pick up the slack?

The obvious: Without Kesler, Mikael Samuelsson gets a bump up to the top power-play. Marco Sturm should also benefit, thanks to his 13 years and 482 points of experience. Meanwhile, Cody Hodgson inherits the No. 2 center spot … for now.

The reach: Manny Malhotra has never established himself as an NHL scorer (either low-30s or high-20s the last seven seasons), but will grab more minutes if his eye holds up. Andrew Ebbett showed spurts of offense during his stints at Anaheim and Minnesota. Chris Higgins boosted his stock thanks to a decent postseason (eight points in 25 contests), but should only be counted on for secondary scoring.

Who has fallen?

Andrei Markov, D, Montreal: The recovery for Markov from a second major knee procedure has been slow. Swelling has hindered his rehab, so a return date is unknown. It could be weeks. It may be months. (Check your calendar to see what moon phase will affect Markov and plan accordingly.

Who will pick up the slack?

The obvious: If the Habs want to employ a two-D alignment on the power play, then Jaroslav Spacek will no doubt be asked to cover. Same goes for new acquisition Chris Campoli, although he got his bell rung late in the preseason and may be slow to adapt to Montreal's system. (Fact: Campoli was once considered a power-play specialist, especially in his initial days with the Islanders. How time has sufficiently passed.)

The reach: Josh Gorges could be recommended, although he's also coming off knee surgery and he's never been known to fill up the score sheet (peaked at 23 points in 2008-09). Russian rearguard Alexei Yemelin was signed in the summer, but Swiss sensation Raphael Diaz (70 combined points the last two seasons in Europe) has impressed the last few weeks and may have an edge on the competition.

Who has fallen?

Sam Gagner, F, Edmonton: Just as the fifth-year pro was ready to turn the page on his career after wrist surgery, a high ankle sprain will now keep him out indefinitely. Gagner is trying to fight his way back on the ice, but the Oilers' staff knows better and has classified his injury as “week-to-week.”

Who will pick up the slack?

The obvious: First-overall selection Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has battled his way into the lineup and is slated to center one of the top two lines. But like Gagner as an 18-year-old, the Oilers will try not to rush his progress. Shawn Horcoff will have to show he's fully healed from last spring's fractured ankle, while more will be expected based on declining numbers. (Anyone remember the 73 points he posted in 2005-06? Exactly.).

The reach: Eric Belanger is famous for his faceoff skills, but he's not terrible when it comes to adding a touch of scoring (40 points in 82 games last season while with Phoenix. The key is he's healthy). Another 20-and-under, Swede Anton Lander, starts the season as the fourth-line pivot man after a solid preseason. Don't expect a lot from the 2009 second-round pick, as he will probably be sent to the AHL once Gagner returns.

Who has fallen?

Marc Staal, D, NY Rangers: Came to training camp with headaches and left soon after clearly feeling the effects of post-concussion syndrome. You must be careful with this type of injury. Rest and patience is key.

Who will pick up the slack?

The obvious: Dan Girardi is no slouch (check out the 31 points from last year) and has to serve as alpha defenseman sans Staal. Recent times may have been disappointing for Michael Del Zotto (that extended stay in the minors must've been a blast), but it wasn't long ago he was setting the man-advantage world on fire (22 power-play points in 2009-10).

The reach: The Blueshirts obviously saw something in Tim Erixon when they picked him off Calgary's roster. The young Swede may only be around for a few games, but possesses the offensive tools (37 points last year in the Swedish Elite League) to succeed. At one point in his career, Brendan Bell was being touted as a future power-play quarterback. Fast forward to the present: the former Leaf/Coyote/Senator is left to pick up the scraps.

Who has fallen?

Travis Zajac, F, New Jersey: After a horrific campaign that saw the Devils finish near the league basement, things are expected to turn around. However, fortune did not smile upon Zajac after he tore an Achilles tendon during summer workouts. Reports are saying we'll be seeing him again in late November/early December, but don't be surprised if Zajac is held out until 2012.

Who will pick up the slack?

The obvious: Petr Sykora (at almost 35) should make the most of his return to North American hockey, seeing that he's already clicked with Zach Parise and Patrik Elias in early action. Another veteran, Dainius Zubrus, also has a chance at redemption. The numbers aren't exactly promising (135 points in four seasons with the Devils), but really no one outside of Ilya Kovalchuk, Parise or Elias should be expected to excel.

The reach: A rather quiet debut for Jacob Josefson (10 goals in 28 games), but he's young and learning his way around the smaller ice surface. Adam Henrique may be the one to watch for Jersey up front. The two-time Memorial Cup winner has been turning a few heads in training camp and will look to build upon his notable professional start (50 points in 73 games with Albany last season).

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Danny Kristo
Kristo Re-Signs With Rangers
Danny Kristo, RW, NYR
8/21/2014
News: Danny Kristo re-signed with the Rangers on Thursday.
Analysis: The 24-year-old Danny Kristo tallied 25 goals and 18 assists in 65 games with AHL Hartford last season. Another season at the AHL level likely awaits.

Patrick Marleau
Sharks Take Marleau's Alternate Captain Status
Patrick Marleau, C, SJ
8/20/2014
News: The Sharks announced Wednesday that they would enter camp without a captain, which includes taking the "A" off Patrick Marleau's sweater, the Mercury News reports.
Analysis: It had been rumored and hinted at all summer that Patrick Marleau and captain Joe Thornton would have their leadership roles passed to younger players. It has also been rumored that both were asked to waive their no trade clause. Neither did. The team wants the younger generation to take the torch, but as far as fantasy is concerned, you can't reduce the playing time of a player like Marleau, who scored 33 goals and 37 assists last season.

Joe Thornton
Sharks Strip Thornton Of Captaincy
Joe Thornton, C, SJ
8/20/2014
News: The Sharks officially announce Wednesday that Joe Thornton would not be the team captain entering training camp, the Mercury News reports.
Analysis: Coach Todd McLellan said that he doesn't consider it to be stripping Joe Thornton of anything, since he'll be given the opportunity to earn the "C" back. The team has talked frequently this offseason of passing the torch to the next generation and that's what this appears to be. Thornton was not only rumored to be losing his "C," but was involved in trade rumors as well. However, he has a no trade clause and doesn't seem interested in leaving San Jose.

Raffi Torres
Sharks' Torres To Miss Months With Knee Infection
Raffi Torres, LW, SJ
8/20/2014
News: Raffi Torres suffered an infection in his surgically-repaired right knee and is expected to miss the first few months of the season while he undergoes another operation on the knee, David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Analysis: Raffi Torres was limited to just five regular-season contests in 2013-14 after undergoing knee surgery and suffering a subsequent setback shortly after returning after the Olympics. He would ultimately rejoin the Sharks during the postseason and looked to be healthy heading into the upcoming campaign, but it seems the infection surfaced at some point over the summer. For the second straight season, he'll open on injured reserve as a result, with no concrete date for his return. Torres has been a useful player for the Sharks when he's been on the ice, but with two years still remaining on his contract, his durability concerns might dampen the remainder of his tenure with his team.

Dennis Seidenberg
Bruins' Seidenberg Eyes Training Camp
Dennis Seidenberg, D, BOS
8/20/2014
News: Dennis Seidenberg (knee) expects to be ready for training camp, NHL.com reports.
Analysis: Dennis Seidenberg, who last suited up on Dec. 27, had surgery in early January to repair an ACL/MCL injury in his right knee in. At the time, the estimated timetable for a return was in the 6-8 month range. With no reported setbacks since then, and given that the sturdy blueliner indicated that he probably could have returned to action had the Bruins advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, things appear to be on track for him to be at, or near, 100 percent in advance of the upcoming regular season.

Henrik Zetterberg
Wings' Zetterberg: Healthy Heading Into Camp
Henrik Zetterberg, LW, DET
8/20/2014
News: Coach Mike Babcock relayed that Henrik Zetterberg (foot) said he was "feeling the best he has in years" this offseason, suggesting he'll be a full participant in training camp, NHL.com's Dan Rosen reports.
Analysis: With both Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk missing 37 games apiece last season, the Red Wings were forced to get by with a patchwork forward ranks to so-so results. Now that both players are feeling healthy, the depth chart should enjoy more stability in 2014-15, but don't be surprised if Zetterberg notices a drop in ice time for maintenance purposes as he enters his age-34 season. Still, Zetterberg hasn't had many health issues prior to last season, and managed to supply 48 points over the 45 contests in which he suited up. There's plenty of value to be had in Zetterberg, even as he takes on a more deferential role to emerging wings Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar in the years to come.

Pavel Datsyuk
Red Wings' Datsyuk Feeling Good Heaing Into Camp
Pavel Datsyuk, C, DET
8/20/2014
News: Coach Mike Babcock relayed that Pavel Datsyuk (knee) said he was feeling "the best he has in years" this offseason, suggesting he'll be ready to go for training camp, NHL.com's Dan Rosen reports.
Analysis: Considering Pavel Datsyuk hasn't played since late April, it's no surprise he's feeling spry, but there's serious questions he'll hold up for 82 games as he enters his age-34 campaign. He's missed a total of 76 games over his last four seasons, muting the impact of the nearly point-per-game production he provides when healthy. Considering his injury history, Datsyuk might not be worth the markup price his name will cost fantasy players on draft day.

Stephen Weiss
Red Wings' Weiss (Hernia) Feeling Healthy
Stephen Weiss, C, DET
8/20/2014
News: Stephen Weiss indicated he's feeling healthy following his April 21 surgery to repair his sports hernia, NHL.com's Dan Rosen reports.
Analysis: Stephen Weiss was a disaster in his first season with the Red Wings after inking a five-year, $24.5 million deal last summer, appearing in only 26 games and totaling four points. He ultimately required a pair of sports hernia surgeries that prevented a second-half return, but after spending the last four months recovering, he appears ready to go for 2014-15. Weiss will be given the opportunity to win back his job as the Wings' No. 2 center, but it seems dubious that he'll be able to return to the 50-point form he showed during his prime years with the Panthers.

Mike Mottau
NHLer Mottau Calls It A Career
Mike Mottau, D, FLA
8/19/2014
News: Mike Mottau announced his retirement from professional hockey Tuesday, Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com reports.
Analysis: The Massachusetts native was exploring the option of playing with AHL Providence to stick with his hometown Bruins organization, but decided he was content to spend more time with his family. Mike Mottau, 36, appeared in 321 career NHL games with the Rangers, Flames, Devils, Islanders, Bruins and Panthers, with his most productive seasons coming in the late-2000s with New Jersey.

Josh Harding
Wild's Harding Cleared For Training Camp
Josh Harding, G, MIN
8/19/2014
News: Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said Josh Harding is "a go" for training camp, Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. "Everybody seems to be feeling pretty good, and at this stage, all of our players who were banged up at the end of the season are feeling better. Josh has felt good. Right now we're not expecting any issues for anybody with respect to passing training camp medicals."
Analysis: With an 18-7-3 record, 1.65 GAA and .933 save percentage, Josh Harding was playing as well as any goal in hockey before a setback in his treatment for multiple sclerosis sidelined him after the end of December. Because he's missed large chunks of both of the last two seasons while dealing with the effects of the illness, fantasy players shouldn't look to invest heavily in Harding. Even if healthy, he's no lock to open the season as the regular starter in goal for the Wild with Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper still around.

 
 
 
Top Videos
Rankings