When it was announced that Corey Crawford would miss the next two or three weeks following an appendectomy, everyone ran to the waiver wire to claim Scott Darling. Was this a smart move? Well, that is really league/team dependent. Darling is one of the better backup goaltenders in the NHL, and he plays on a Blackhawks team that should once again contend for the Stanley Cup. So, he has value, especially in a head-to-head league. The problem is, what will the cost be? In a points league, he only has true value until Crawford comes back. Will you have to drop someone of value to pick him up?
If you’re a Crawford owner, then it’s a no-brainer to claim Darling, as you can just swap them back out when Crawford is ready to play. But what if you have to release a depth forward, defenseman, or goaltender from your roster? Is losing that player worth 6-10 games of Darling? In a head-to-head league, maybe yes, as those 6-10 games could get you two or three wins if you don’t have solid goaltender depth. In a points league, probably not.
Another consideration will be whether Darling is worth a significant portion of your FAAB and/or losing waiver wire priority? Once again, probably not. The short-term gain is not worth the long-term cost. In Fantasy Hockey, sometimes you have to think about what is best for your team in the long run. That can be difficult, but could pay off in a big way down the line. Now, if this injury had occurred later this season, when you may be struggling to get a win any way possible, then the short-term fix might be the best course of action.
Injuries are causing some havoc at center. Jonathan Toews has missed the past seven games with a back injury and isn’t expected to return for at least two more games. This is the NHL. Every team treats their injuries like they’re state secrets, so it could certainly be longer than two games. Toews is actually a better NHL player than Fantasy contributor, and he is usually over-drafted. Still, this is a frustrating loss for his owners.
The Canadiens lost Alex Galchenyuk for an indefinite amount of time with a lower-body injury. It’s easy to forget that Galchenyuk lit the lamp 30 times last season and was on pace to do it once again. Entering the season, he could’ve been one of those players responsible for winning a championship, as 30-goal scorers don’t grow on trees, especially those that aren’t drafted in the first couple of rounds.
Jimmy Howard was activated off injured reserve Wednesday, which will make life pretty interesting in the crease for Detroit. Petr Mrazek entered the season as the starting goaltender but lost the job to Howard. It wasn’t because Mrazek played badly, but a 2.84 GAA and .908 save percentage is nothing to write home about. I’m not sure it would’ve mattered anyway. It’s hard to compete with a goaltender whose average goals allowed is 1.82 with a .940 save percentage. Those are just out of this world numbers. Any coach would be crazy not to start Howard. It may not be long until Howard gets back the starting job and returns to the crease.
Fantasy owners received a small scare earlier this week when it was announced that Logan Couture would need to undergo ankle surgery to remove a screw. Well, it turns out that the surgery was extremely minor, and believe it or not, Couture isn’t expected to miss any game time and should play Wednesday versus Ottawa. After getting off to a slow start, Couture is having a sneaky good season with nine goals, five of which have come on the power play.
Both Bobby Ryan (hand) and T.J. Oshie (shoulder) are scheduled to return from their respective injuries Wednesday. Ryan has been a perennial disappointment as he hasn’t reached as many as 25 goals since the 2011-12 season. Still, depth at wing is needed and appreciated. As for Oshie, his injury could not have come at a worse time. He had scored five goals in his last eight games and was finally starting to look like the player he was in last season’s playoffs. It might just be a coincidence but the Capitals’ offense has also tanked since Oshie left the lineup. Hopefully, his return solves both problems.
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