Injuries will always play a major part in any Fantasy season. It’s how you handle those injuries that could have quite a bit to do with how much success you have in your league. Goaltenders have taken a beating this year. Carey Price, Corey Crawford, Roberto Luongo, Tuukka Rask, Cory Schneider, Cam Talbot, Matt Murray, Marc-Andre Fleury, John Gibson, and Anti Raanta, have all missed time this season between the pipes due to injury. Crawford, Murray, and Fleury have returned within the last week to fortify the position. Talbot could return no later than next week and only Luongo is out long-term.
Luongo isn’t expected to return to the Panthers until well after the holidays, so we’re talking the next calendar year. Some are even speculating that he may be forced to retire due to this injury (likely another groin pull). The good news for Fantasy owners is that if James Reimer is out there, he is a must- claim. Not only will he start in net for Florida in a majority of their games until Luongo returns, but he’s a solid goaltender in his own right. Reimer was once the starting backstop for Toronto and is more than just a trash can in net. Florida has the talent to be a better than average team. Sure, his 3.56 GAA and .894 save percentage doesn’t instill much confidence, but those numbers will get better now that he will be between the pipes game in and game out.
We can add a new goalie to the injury list also as Devan Dubnyk had to leave the game early Tuesday after suffering a lower-body injury. We don’t know how long Dubnyk may be out of the lineup, but that should be made clear at some point Wednesday. Coaches in the NHL tend to regard injuries as state secrets but usually, when it comes to a goaltender, an immediate roster move is necessary as teams can’t go into a game with only one healthy backstop. If Dubnyk needs to spend time on injured reserve, his backup, Alex Stalock, is likely your number one target on the waiver wire.
The Blues and Fantasy owners suffered a blow Saturday when it was announced that Jaden Schwartz would miss at least the next six weeks with a foot injury. Schwartz was hit with a shot by Mike Green on Saturday and likely suffered some kind of fracture to his foot. While the injury is unfortunate, it’s hardly unexpected. Yes, he was on his way to a career season as he likely would’ve easily surpassed the 30-goal mark had he been able to play 75-plus games this season, but his injury history told you at draft time that it was highly unlikely he would last an entire season without getting hurt. While it hurts to lose Schwartz, you may not have to look any further than his own team for a replacement. Alexander Steen will move up to be a Top 6 forward, and he’s proven to be a solid goal scorer in the past. He also has an injury-filled resume, however.
Auston Matthews has suffered a couple of minor injuries this season, the latest being a possible concussion. The Leafs haven’t confirmed this diagnosis but he left the game Saturday after taking a blow to the head when he skated into by a teammate. Matthews is one of the best goal scoring forwards in the game, so losing him for any amount of time is a huge loss for Fantasy owners. As we all know, there is no way of telling when a player will be able to return from a concussion. Some can recover in a matter of days, some weeks, and some take even longer than that. One strange statistic that may lead the Leafs to slowly bring Matthews back to the lineup. In the six games that Matthews has missed this season, Toronto is 6-0. I’m not sure what to make of that either, but Toronto and Fantasy owners are much better off with Matthews in the lineup rather than out.
The next unfortunate injury news could come from Taylor Hall. He suffered what looks to be a knee injury during the game Tuesday. As of this writing, the Devils have yet to announce how long Hall may be out of the lineup. He has 11 goals in 30 games for NJD so far this season, including four on the power play. Fantasy owners are hoping for a positive result from the MRI on Wednesday.