Phaneuf could possibly be useful as a bottom of the roster Fantasy defenseman, especially if you need a boost to your plus/minus. But that’s probably looking at the extremely bright side of things. This trade really just comes down to added NHL defensive depth for the Kings, and the Senators will save about $4 million through the end of the contracts (2021).
— NHL (@NHL) February 15, 2018
The Flyers lost Brian Elliott, perhaps until April, after he underwent core muscle surgery earlier this week. This could make life pretty interesting for the Flyers with the trade deadline less than two weeks away. Do they ride Michal Neuvirth and Alex Lyon, or do they try to find an upgrade in a trade? Neuvirth has been somewhat injury-prone throughout his career, including a few times this season, and Lyon is an unproven minor leaguer.
The Flyers are currently sitting in third place in the Metropolitan Division, only two points out of second, but also only four points out of sixth. They are in a dogfight to make the playoffs and can’t afford to lose games due to subpar goaltending. They may have been in the market for a backup goaltender, even if Elliott was healthy, but now that he is on injured reserve, they may have to pull the trigger on a deal.
Goaltenders like Robin Lehner, Chad Johnson, and Petr Mrazek are certainly available for the taking, but will the Flyers want to pony up what it will take to acquire one of these netminders, and are any really that much better than Neuvirth? If you need a goaltender for your Fantasy team, I can understand grabbing Neuvirth, but he’s unlikely to help your ratios. You’re just hoping for a win here and there and remember, the last time Elliott was hurt, the team went with Lyon over Neuvirth, although most assume that was because Neuvirth wasn’t completely recovered from an illness.
As if life wasn’t bad enough for the Sabres, they have lost Jack Eichel for the next 4-6 weeks due to a high ankle sprain. You can do the math. That puts his likely return at some point in late March or early April. Why would they even want to bring him back then? Their season was over quite a while ago and there is no reason to rush Eichel back. They need to make sure he is 100 percent healthy for next season. If you don’t have an IR slot on your roster and you’re not in any kind of keeper league, you can feel free to move on from Eichel.
If there is one injury I hate to see a goaltender suffer, it’s to his groin. They are extremely difficult to overcome and there is really no way to test the health of the groin in practice. You won’t truly know if it has healed until that goaltender gets into game conditions and attempts to make those explosive post to post saves. New Jersey has already told us that Cory Schneider is out the rest of this week, but they hope to have him start skating and possibly practicing next week. Schneider hasn’t played since Jan. 23 and Fantasy owners are going to want to wait and watch him play a game or two before inserting him back into their lineup. Keith Kincaid is still a pickup for your Fantasy team but the more he plays, the more he seems to get exposed in net.
If you’re a DFS Hockey player and play on a site that rewards shots on goal, then you have to give serious consideration to stacking against the Islanders each night. The Islanders goaltending is below average to begin with, but the defense is letting up shots as if they are allergic to the puck. The Isles have let up more than 30 shots in 24 of their last 25 games. The only team that didn’t reach that mark were the hapless Sabres (they still won the game). They have let up at least 39 shots in nine of their last 11 games and more than 40 shots in six of their last eight games. These are ugly numbers if you’re an Islanders fan but also a cash register if you get points for SOG.
Brent Burns saw some time at forward Tuesday night versus Arizona. The Sharks needed some help on the wing after Tomas Hertl was forced to leave the game with an undisclosed injury. Whether or not Burns lines up at forward again likely depends upon the health of Hertl, and as of this writing, it does seem like he will miss the game Thursday against Vancouver. Does this really change anything for Burns? It’s not like you weren’t starting him on defense and his value is likely more as a defender than it is as a forward, even if you’re league will allow you to make a position switch.
Brian Elliot Photo Credit: AP Photo/Derik Hamilton