We have two goaltenders on this week's list that are in the NHL right now due to injuries. If you find yourself deficient in the goaltending department early in the season, it can be very hard to claw your way back and that will force you to be proactive when it comes to picking up netminders that have been given an opportunity due to injury. Unfortunately that doesn't always pay off, as we'll see below.
Garret Sparks (Toronto - G)
Dropped: 804 times
Why? He's out with a lower-body injury.
Recommendation: We don't know enough about his potential timetable to make any significant judgments based on that, but in this case that's not really necessary. Sparks is the Maple Leafs' third-string goaltender that had been given an opportunity because Jonathan Bernier had been struggling all season and James Reimer is hurt. Reimer might end up returning before Sparks though and there's a glimmer of hope for Bernier after his 26-save shutout on Saturday, so the chances of Sparks coming back and getting any significant amount of work are slim. It's perfectly reasonable to drop him.
Oscar Lindberg (NY Rangers - C)
Dropped: 680 times
Why? He hit a new low on Friday when he was made a healthy scratch.
Recommendation: This is the second straight week that Lindberg has been on this list. The 24-year-old rookie has had some good stretches this season - particularly his season-opening four goals in three games - but it's been countered by long stretches of unproductive play, including his current six-game point drought. My stances last week was that there's nothing wrong with holding onto him, but you shouldn't expect him to turn around and have a great season. If you see him as a solid depth player on your team then that's fine. As for the fact that he was a healthy scratch on Friday, that might actually serve to light a fire under him. It only becomes concerning if he starts being scratched more frequently.
Artem Anisimov (Chicago - C/LW)
Dropped: 517 times
Why? He's on an eight-game point drought.
Recommendation: Sometimes having great linemates isn't enough. He's paired with the scoring leader, Patrick Kane, and Calder Trophy frontrunner Artemi Panarin, but he hasn't been getting any points off of that duos recent efforts. This cold streak aside, Anisimov is a decent player, especially given his left wing eligibility, but he's not a great one from a fantasy perspective. He's currently on pace to get 43 points and while I think he's actually more likely to end up with roughly 50, I wouldn't go higher than that.
Dustin Tokarski (Montreal - G)
Dropped: 448 times
Why? He hasn't exactly made Canadiens fans forget about Carey Price.
Recommendation: He was likely the choice of fantasy owners desperate for goaltending while Price spends at least four more weeks nursing a lower-body injury. Unfortunately, Tokarski hasn't proven to be a great option as he's posted a 2.95 GAA and .893 save percentage in five contests. The Canadiens other goaltender, Mike Condon, hasn't done much better lately though. Price was sidelined earlier this season too and Montreal managed to hold their own during that period, but now we're seeing just how dependent on Price this team is. If you're really hurting for goaltending you might want to hold onto Tokarski if for no other reason than he'll get more starts, but keep your expectations low.
David Savard (Columbus - D)
Why? Savard is expected to be out for four weeks with an ankle injury.
Recommendation: Whenever you're faced with an injured player, you have to weigh the severity of the injury against the potential upside of the player for the remainder of the season. In this case the injury isn't terrible, but the upside really isn't there. You would be holding onto him for about a month for about two and a half months of mediocre offensive production by the standards of most fantasy leagues. If you have an empty IR slot anyways or are in a league that significantly values hits and blocked shots than you might want to consider keeping Savard, but in most cases it's okay to drop him.