Special for Yahoo Sports
The injury virus has spread throughout the league. NHL players drop their rosters faster than a vintage Zdeno Chara slap shot.
If this wave hasn’t hit your team, it’s sure to come soon. I was thinking the other day how lucky my RotoWire Staff Keeper hockey league has been to avoid major losses, and then Guillaume Karlsson (broken foot) goes down for six weeks. Karlsson isn’t a superstar and I could fill in for him ahead of the weekly Vegas debut, but there’s a feeling other squad members will follow him into the training room. (Oh hi, Jonathan drouin!)
There is nothing you can do to prevent players from getting injured, although there is a lot of merit in maintaining a strong bench. Depth is the key to rolling a season, especially in today’s fast-paced, physical game. IR spots also help, but nothing can replace a few sound substitutes.
Scroll through RotoWire’s hockey content to find the latest news and in-depth material to prepare for your rosters.
If you lose a man or more, a player listed below can help you.
(Rate / statistics recorded as of November 4.)
Jonathan Toews, CHI (Yahoo: 51%)
After a year away from hockey, Toews hasn’t scored any points in his first five games, despite averaging over four minutes of power play. Fortunately, he hit his stride with six of the last six assists. Line up as a third-row center doesn’t do much to help Toews’ cause, although a spot next to it Patrick kane and Co. on Chicago’s best human advantage can’t hurt. And there’s always a chance the dynamic duo could come together on a bigger scale this season.
Troy Terry, ANH (Yahoo: 42%)
Driving a nine-game streak with at least one point is a great way to get noticed. Just ask Terry, who had seven goals and five assists after a slow first game. The Ducks are teeming with scheming talent up front with the former NCAA and WJC champion in the lead. In addition to scoring, Terry shot 21 pucks on goal. That 33.3% shooting percentage is doomed to drop significantly, but you can’t say no to a top six attacker who’s on fire and locked on the main power play.
Matt Duchene, NAS (Yahoo: 34%)
Duchene’s coverage has soared after back-to-back two-point tallies, which include an OT winner and a PPA. He is also impressed by distributing three assists against Minnesota on October 24. The veteran has moved into the depths board, but appears to have settled on the top line. Duchene won’t get you many face-offs as a winger, although the 29 shots and top-notch positioning should at least generate interest.
Marcus Foligno, MIN (Yahoo: 30%)
It’s been a while since Marcus could boast of being Foligno’s hottest fantasy, but four goals and four assists from the first nine games for someone generally known for his physique will be enough. He’s never been much for power play production throughout his career, but he’s already three DPI on the Wild’s save unit. Foligno finds himself in the top six, but that could change once Jordan’s Green Lane Return. And even if he slips into the third line, there is still the promise of a few points and a lot of hits.
Sean Monahan, CGY (Yahoo: 29%)
Once upon a time, Monahan scored 82 points in one season. I mean, I’m pretty sure he did since I remember seeing him online somewhere. Salad days may be a distant memory for Monahan, but there is always room for dessert. His ice time has returned to rookie level, but he remains a staple of Calgary’s men’s advantage. In fact, his four points this season have come from one man. Monahan appears to be mired lower in the pecking order evenly and should only be seen as an addition in the middle of the list.
Anthony Cirelli, TB (Yahoo: 27%)
Cirelli represents another mainstay in this space during his brief career, as he’s often overlooked for Tampa Bay’s top talent. But who’s going to complain about two goals, five assists and more than two minutes a night in both groups of special teams? Add 69 wins to the game and a comfortable place in the top half of the roster and it looks like someone who shouldn’t be available in about three out of four leagues.
Rasmus Asplund, BUF (Yahoo: 13%)
Even though they stumbled a bit, the Sabers continue to defy expectations. Like the club, few imagined Asplund would do much this season. The 2016 second-rounder turned some heads with four goals, three assists, 17 shots and a plus-5. You could see a disappointment coming, however; Asplund teased those abilities a bit last year when he scored 11 points in 28 outings. Only one DPI, although it looks solid on Buffalo’s first unit.
Jonathan Dahlen, SJ (Yahoo: 8%)
Like Asplund, Dahlen was selected in the second round of 2016. But while the former played in the AHL, the latter finally made his way into the Swedish Second Division, winning league MVPs twice in a row. This prompted the Sharks to re-sign Dahlen in June and he went on to win a spot on the opening night squad. He tallied two goals in his second game and scored four of the next six. San Jose seems to be playing without any pressure, so scorers like Dahlen will likely have more leeway.
Nate Schmidt, WPG (Yahoo: 34%)
I was * that * close to presenting Schmidt last week, but chose to leave it out. And of course, its coverage continues to increase. Schmidt was tied for third in the league among defensemen on Wednesday with eight assists – including five on the power play, the same number as Adam fox, Tony DeAngelo and Seth jones. That points rhythm cannot be sustained long term, although he is better positioned to score points in Winnipeg than previous saves and can block plenty of shots.
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Adam Larsson, MER (Yahoo: 26%)
With more minutes comes more responsibility for Larsson in Seattle. There’s also the fact that the Kraken’s blue line doesn’t contain many established offensives, which led to additional attacking opportunities for the former Oiler. Larsson’s three assists and 15 shots aren’t anything to get excited about, but that’s okay as he mostly wins his fantasy through plenty of hits (33) and blocks (24).
Brett Pesce, RCA (Yahoo: 11%)
Pesce has hinted at decent scoring stats in the past, with 29 points his personal high. He’s never recorded much power play time so far and this has been rewarded with three PPPs as part of the Canes’ second unit. This new role will no doubt increase Pesce’s shot totals while also improving other areas as a star member of the backline, including a nice amount of blocks.
He left last night’s game with an injury, so keep an eye on his status before adding.
Kale Clague, LA (Yahoo: 1%)
The previous edition mentioned Matt Roy and his significant jump in ice time due to injuries to both Drew doughty and Sean walker. There was also a brief word on Clague, although nothing could be predicted based on his simple call. After three appearances, it’s clear he’s the defenseman the Kings trust for their quarterback in their first men’s advantage with almost 15 minutes combined and a PPA in the top two. It won’t last when Doughty returns towards the end of the year, but Clague should stay in the attack, having excelled in the AHL for a few seasons.
Alex Nedeljkovic, DET (Yahoo: 45%)
Nedeljkovic started his Detroit career allowing Tampa Bay seven goals, but has since settled in with a 2.22 GAA and .930 save percentage. Meanwhile, Thomas Greiss posted a 3.11 / 0.905 line in his five appearances with a 3-2 record. Nedeljkovic is 1-2-2, but the team has allowed him just 15 goals in six games, including 12 in two games. As the Wings’ promising core matures, expect the former Carolina freshman’s win totals to improve as he solidifies his hobbyhorse place.
Karel Vejmelka, ARI (Yahoo: 4%)
It’s not surprising to see the Coyotes at the bottom of the standings as they sit last in the league in goals for and goals against. These numbers don’t bode well for any goaltender, so you’re probably wondering why I’m including one from Arizona. Put simply, Vejmelka’s recent exploits have at least made his stats respectable. The Czech rookie produced an overall average of 2.54 and save percentage of 0.922, which seems like a miracle given the situation. Vejmelka shouldn’t be your best goalie, but he’s a usable streaming option and works well in leagues that count save times.
(Players to consider in the previous columns: Joel Eriksson Ek, Andrew Mangiapane, Lucas Raymond, Andrew Copp, Boone Jenner, Yanni Gourde, Michael Bunting, Owen Tippett, Robert Thomas, Mikael Granlund, Rasmus Andersson, Jamie Drysdale, Moritz Seider, John Gibson, Craig Anderson, Adin Hill, Mikko Koskinen)