With the impending blizzard about to hit the northeast coast this weekend, those of us that are playing in daily lineup leagues or in daily leagues will want to pay special attention to game times. Already the NHL has moved the Washington/Anaheim game from 7pm Friday to 5pm, and there are several other games this Saturday and/or Sunday that could be moved or postponed. The last thing any of us wants to do is start a player in a game that is no longer on the schedule.
Before we get to the goaltending news for the week, we should probably talk about Jonathan Drouin and his decision to stage what is essentially a holdout from his AHL team. We all have our opinions about whether or not he was treated fairly by the Lightning when they sent him down, but how does not playing make any sense? Drouin has hurt his trade value with this stunt. His value wasn’t all that high to begin with (40 points in 89 games). Now any NHL team that is thinking about surrendering top talent or picks to acquire him has to worry about whether or not he is a prima donna, which is not good. As for Fantasy owners, you should still hold onto him if you’re in a keeper or dynasty league; but in redraft leagues, if you need the roster spot, he can go.
Montreal Canadiens: Carey Price owners were dealt a blow this week when Montreal stated that he is out for at least about 3-4 weeks. This came after he had a light on the ice workout (without pads) this week. If there was any doubt about why the Canadiens acquired Ben Scrivens last month, they can be put the rest. Fantasy owners really can’t trade for Price now, especially in a head-to-head league. At this point, it looks like it won’t be until late February or early March that you can truly count on Price, and by then we are talking about him only playing a couple of weeks for your team before the Fantasy playoffs start. Now, if you’re team is golden in net right now, and you are just looking for a player to possibly put you over the top come playoff time, and the price is right (couldn’t help myself); then sure, you can shoot for the moon with Price. But make no mistake about it, it’s a gamble.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Sergie Bobrovsky had to come out of the game Thursday night with what the team is calling a lower body injury. Could this be yet another groin injury? We don’t know yet, but if it is then Bobrovsky may not be coming back anytime soon. This would be at least the third such injury for Bobrovsky over the past season and a half. Listen, this is a lost season for Columbus. If it is the groin that is acting up once again, it might make sense just to shut him down until they are 100-percent positive he is healthy, even if that is not until next season. Joonas Korpisalo and Anton Forsberg will handle the goaltending chores while Bobrovsky heals, but neither should be at the top of your claim order unless you are desperate.
Winnipeg Jets: Ondrej Pavelec missed his 26th straight game Thursday, and although he is doing light on ice workouts, he still isn’t taking any shots and the team doesn’t seem to have much of an idea about when he might return to the lineup. Does it really matter, though? Pavelec, even at his best, was always inconsistent, and now that Connor Hellebuyck seems to have a pretty firm grasp on the starting job, he could return as nothing more than the backup anyway.
Carolina Hurricanes: Cam Ward is currently out of the lineup with a concussion. As we should all know by now, it is impossible to predict when someone might return from such an injury. Some players can do so in days and some take weeks. Eddie Lack will take over the starting role for now and he has been completely underwhelming in his first season in Carolina with a 2.79 GAA and .898 save percentage. Perhaps he will play better in an everyday role, perhaps not.
St. Louis Blues: Jake Allen owners had better hope he comes back soon from his knee injury, as Brian Elliott has been really good in his absence. Elliott has only allowed 14 goals in his last seven games and could be in for a bigger role even when Allen returns. Remember, coming into the season coach Ken Hitchcock was willing to wait until November to name a starting goalie.
Detroit Red Wings: As mentioned before the even split in starts between Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard is over. Mrazek has played in 13 of the past 14 games and is clearly the starter and the goalie you want in Detroit.
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