The biggest news Thursday was the announcement that Torey Krug will miss at least three weeks with a non-displaced fracture in his jaw. The short side of the timeline has him out through Oct. 12, which would cost him the first three games of the regular season. However, Boston has a three-game road trip against Colorado, Arizona and Vegas that extends through Oct. 15. It seems more realistic for Krug to return Oct.19 for a home game against Vancouver. There's always the chance he's not ready on time, too.
This is the type of injury that could linger and be an annoyance. Krug might have to wear a full shield, face mask or some other piece of protective gear when he returns, and that can be a real challenge.
The overall impact to Krug's fantasy value is probably minor, and Charlie McAvoy is the obvious recipient of a small fantasy boost. There is no reason to alter rankings for either defenseman, but at the same time, it's not out of the question to look to another rearguard in the same tier instead of Krug.
McAvoy is probably going to gain enough steam leading into draft season to become even more of a risky investment. He's a well-inked rookie on a public team, who is also coming off an excellent postseason debut. There are going to be very few setups where someone doesn't target McAvoy aggressively.
After a two-goal, three-point showing to open the preaseason, Connor Brickley slotted into an NHL-likely line with Derek MacKenzie and Colton Sceviour at practice Thursday. There is no reason to react in most fantasy settings, but Florida's forward depth is limited, at best.
Travis Sanheim had his best game of the preseason Wednesday, and then he scored a goal during Thursday's game. In the linked article, beat writer Dave Isaac speculates that Sanheim is likely the odd-man out and heading back to the AHL. We'll see. Defensively there is still room for improvement.
Sanheim had an excellent first season with Lehigh Valley, and he has an impressive offensive track record and first-round pedigree. With Brandon Manning's contract up at the end of this season, Sanheim will be an NHL regular next year at the latest.
This is a situation to monitor:
Coach Peters said Scott Darling is "just a little banged up." Said he hopes to have him get cleared and available to play this weekend.— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) September 20, 2017
Two years ago, Tyson Jost was playing in the BCHL. He's now missed the past week of training camp with a groin injury. I'm skepitcal of Jost's ability to make two huge jumps in class in consecutive years, so potentially missing critical time preparing for the regular season amplifies the concern. He's a wait-and-see candidate in most settings.
Jake Guentzel had a goal and four assists, and Conor Sheary had a goal and two helpers against Detroit on Wednesday. Regardless of the competition and time of year those are big showings. I've already discussed Guentzel (here), and Sheary (here).
The Penguins are going to lock those two wingers into top-six roles, and potentially, they'll spend the majority of the season with Sidney Crosby. Power-play time is the only question mark. Sheary is likely to roll with the No. 2 unit again, and Guentzel could, too. However, there were times when Guentzel received some looks with the No. 1 unit. It's difficult to envision Pittsburgh siding with Guentzel over Patric Hornqvist because of the latter's willingness to battle and ability to score around the net.
Additionally, no one should be surprised if there was some statistical correction to the five-on-five numbers from the two wingers. They were elite scorers at even strength last season. With that said, there is room for a sizeable drop without it being a significant fantasy concern. You want players on high-scoring teams, and the Penguins are going to score, Guentzel -- especially -- should be targeted aggressively.
Derek Ryan is having a solid preseason for the Hurricanes, which comes on the heels of a respectable 29-point showing through just 67 games last year. There is likely no upside with the 30-year-old forward, but Ryan could carve out a big enough role to provide a modest fantasy floor in cavernous settings. He recorded eight power-play points while averaging 2:07 of ice time per game with the man advantage in 2016-17, and he's recorded three goals and an assist through two exhibition games. For what it's worth, he's scored in the AHL and during his four seasons playing in Europe.
There has been some Ales Hemsky hype popping up. Obviously, he's a veteran who should have a top-six gig to lose, so there is an opportunity. But Hemsky hasn't scored 15 goals since the 2008-09 season, and he's now 34 years old and played just 15 games last year.
Your mileage may vary, but there is absolutely no scenario where he is on any of my teams. He doesn't exactly jump out as a Claude Julien-type guy, either.
Is there a safer bet in the goals column than Vladimir Tarasneko? Injuries aside, is there a realistic outlook for him failing to score 35 time? If the sniper plays a minimum of 75 games, how likely is he to score 35 goals and 65 points?
There's a lot to be said for nailing you're first-round pick, and security is often underappreciated. How many players would you lock in ahead of Tarasenko and select without a second thought about No. 91?
Jussi Jokinen picking up three points in an exhibition game is hardly news worthy, but he's going to be available late in drafts, and he's going to score. A 40-to-55 point showing seems like a lock, and Jokinen could surprise. Like Pittsburgh, Edmonton is going to score, and Jokinen is going to play in soft five-on-five matchups if he doesn't line up with Leon Draisaitl or Connor McDavid.
If he does land with McDavid or Draisaitl, that's even better.
The Thomas Vanek signing might have been the best thing for Brock Boeser. The young winger is up to four preseason goals and should be a lock for a big role. There's potential he's a go-to fantasy asset all season if given a legitimate opportunity alongside Bo Horvat.
Clayton Keller also had a huge game Wednesday with two goals and a helper. I'm still not convinced that he's going to move the fantasy needle for the entire season. The jump to an 82-game schedule will be a significant test for the diminutive forward. It's a huge jump in class from the U.S. National Team Development Program to the NHL with just a single year at Boston University in between.
Be well, Dobberheads.
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