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Draft Guide

How to deal with injuries

by Ryan Dadoun
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Saturday's drop list was dominated by Kris Versteeg, who will miss a month due to a hand injury.  That will be discussed in detail below, but just speaking in general terms, handling injuries is one of the most difficult tasks for a fantasy owner.  If you have a free injury slot than it can be a simple matter, but a lot of the times you won't have that luxury.  Deciding who is worthy of occupying a bench spot while he remains on the sidelines is challenging, but it ultimately comes down to how long he's projected to miss and how valuable he is when he's healthy.  If dropping him now means you'll have a significantly worse team in several weeks, then as hard as it is, it's often better to keep the player in question on the bench.

 

Does that apply to Versteeg though? Well let's get into that...

 

Kris Versteeg (CHI - LW/RW)

 

Dropped: 4,314 times

Why: He will miss about a month with a hand injury.

Recommendation: The mass exodus isn't surprising, but it is nevertheless an overreaction.  He might not be a star player, but he has 27 points and a plus-14 rating in 34 games this season.  That's hard to replace and if there's any way you can afford to rid his injury out, you'll likely be better in the long-term for it.  Part of the reason people are dropping him might be linked to Chicago's decision to call up Teuvo Teravainen.  They might be thinking that Teravainen will stick around when Versteeg is healthy and thus diminish the veteran's role and value.  That's certainly a risk, but it's far too early to jump to that conclusion.  Teravainen has significant upside, but it remains to be seen if he's ready for a top-six role and even if he is, the Blackhawks might not feel comfortable using the 20-year-old in that role during the final months of the season when they have a veteran option that's worked out rather well for them.  At the least, I recommend you hold onto Versteeg for a little bit longer so you can get a sense for if Teravainen will work out before jumping ship.

 

Jake Allen (STL - G)

 

Dropped: 1,585 times

Why: Martin Brodeur and Brian Elliott might be squeezing Allen out of the picture.

Recommendation: Any time a team carries three healthy goaltenders, it turns into a nightmare scenario for fantasy owners.  Ultimately, Elliott is still likely to get the bulk of the Blues' starts while Allen and Brodeur will both get opportunities to serve as the team's backup for now.  Neither Brodeur or Allen have much fantasy value in that scenario though and I consequently can't fault people for dropping Allen, even if I'm not yet convinced that Brodeur has firmly pushed Allen to the number three spot.

 

Nazem Kadri (TOR - C)

 

Dropped: 1,582 times

Why: He's expected to miss a week or so with a lower-body injury.

Recommendation: That's pretty mild as far as injuries go, but some of those drops were presumably from owners that didn't put a lot of stock in Kadri to begin with.  That's fair given that he took a step backwards in 2013-14 with 50 points in 78 games and hasn't exactly set the world ablaze with his 24 points in 38 contests in 2014-15.  Plus he only has center eligibility, which makes it easier to simply replace him.  So while I don't think there's cause to panic over his injury, I don't see the fault in dropping him anyways.

 

Jeff Skinner (CAR - LW/RW)

 

Dropped: 1,057 times

Why: He's enduring another cold streak in what has been a rough season.

Recommendation: To be more exact, he's gone six straight games without a point, which leaves him at just 16 points through 34 contests.  His struggles are in line with Carolina's as a team, but does that matter from a fantasy perspective?  Only if you think the Hurricanes are going to bounce back offensively in the second half.  That's not out of the question given the return of Jordan Staal, but it will be hard for the Hurricanes to stay motivated it what is already a lost campaign.  Skinner is definitely worth keeping an eye on because he's better than his current numbers suggest, but there are likely safer options available to you if you're in a standard league.

 

Jori Lehtera (STL - C)

 

Dropped: 1,002 times

Why: His cold streak persists.

Recommendation: Lehtera was also on the drop trends last week as he hadn't (and still hasn't) scored a goal since Nov. 15.  At the time I recommended holding onto him if possible and instead keeping him on the bench as I remained optimistic that he could turn his season around as long as he was playing alongside Vladimir Tarasenko.  He still is, but has only gotten one assist in four contests since I made that statement.  I hesitate to recommend giving up on him, but at the same time I also recognize that fantasy owners that have been holding him since the middle of November have been more than patient with him.  I do think that he'll bounce back and if you have the option of keeping him on the bench without significantly restricting your team, I think that remains your best bet for now.  At the same time, I can't fault people for exploring alternatives in the face of a prolonged cold streak that has been gradually getting worse.

Ryan Dadoun
Ryan Dadoun is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.