Looking at the beneficiaries of training camp and World Cup injuries in this Sunday Ramblings…
Every year, injuries sustained in pre-season action give real-season ice time to prospects who weren't scheduled to earn it quite yet. With training camps underway and the World Cup chewing up some elite talents, the time is here to start looking for the diamonds in the rough – the prospects who will get their NHL chance moved forward or further secured thanks to these new voids in front of them. Here's the low-down on whose been lucky and unlucky so far:
Injured: Matt Murray, Sean Maguire (aka 50% of Pittsburgh's goalies)
Potential Replacement: Fleury now has the starter's spot, and Tristan Jerry may have dibs on the backup spot after serving in the AHL already. But these two serious injuries will likely result in the Pens signing free agents to fill in the gaps. Imagine if they had traded Fleury…
Injured: Cody Eakin, Ales Hemsky, Tyler Seguin, Radek Faksa, Jason Dickenson, and Devin Shore (plus Nichuskin signs in KHL)
Potential Replacements: If Scooby-Doo has taught me anything, Dallas has clearly built on cursed burial grounds. That list is just ridiculous. If injuries were to defencemen, the Stars would be laughing given all their promising youngsters. But at forward, injuries have even hit the prospects highest on the depth chart. Help will have to come in the form of Brett Ritchie and AHL veterans such as Curtis McKenzie, Brendan Ranford, Travis Morin, or other players that most likely went undrafted in fantasy hockey for good reason
Injured: Frank Vatrano
Potential Replacement: This one was a doozie. Vatrano was pegged as a potential breakout candidate in Boston, but now that spot will fall to Danton Heinen, Austin Czarnik, or Tim Schaller. Both Heinen and Czarnik had strong seasons in 2015, so expect both to get long looks.
Injured: Mark Stone, Curtis Lazar
Potential Replacements: Players who got tryouts last year (Ryan Dzingel, Nick Paul, Matt Puempel) will now have the chance to move up the lineup. Whichever one ends up in the top-six could be poised for some fantasy-relevant production indefinitely (you cant set an expected return date from a concussion or mononucleosis)
Injured: Henrik Zetterberg, Nick Kronwall
Potential Replacement: Athanasiou is my bet to grab the open top-six spot, but this is an excellent opportunity for youngsters Pulkkinen or Mantha to step right into a high-scoring role. Whoever grabs that spot will have seriously boosted fantasy value. Two of Xavier Oullet, Alexey Marchenko, Ryan Sproul and Robbie Russo will make up the third pairing on defence.
Thank you for reading and best of luck in your upcoming drafts!