Another week has gone by and as always there are more questions than answers. October has revealed a lot of unexpected twists and turns. The biggest concern among fantasy hockey players is, you guessed it, injuries. It eats away at the mettle of the owner. There are questions that just seem to focus intently on these players and possible solutions.
Are you ready to wade into this week's mailbag? This one will truly have an injurious nature to it. You have been warned!
What has been the most significant injury of the fantasy hockey season so far?
Some are going to argue this until they are blue in the face. However, the recent injury to Victor Hedman is likely to fit that criteria. If the expected diagnosis rings true, the defenseman could be out around a month or so. That is a significant blow to owners who saw Hedman's stock rise into the elite among fantasy defensemen.
Hand injuries are or can be a pain in the neck to heal. The official prognosis should be available early in the week but when Jon Cooper hinted "he could miss a significant amount of time", that was a bad sign. It left a lot of fantasy owners with that sick to the stomach feeling. His seven points in four games was not even the most "wow" stat. It was the five power play points. No one likes to see a player of Hedman's stature go down to injury but the one saving grace was that it occurred early in the season.
What is the worst injury prognosis that a fantasy owner can hear?
The best example of this is the Paul Stastny news. By now, you heard that his arm was in a sling after the Arizona game. Then you heard the dreaded prognosis that the forward was out "week to week" with an upper body injury. Thanks to J.P. Rutherford for the news. Again it is not the best of news and it is even tougher to speculate on the severity. Week to week with a shoulder just means it could be anything from bruised AC joint to much worse (say a full Rotator Cuff tear).
It is always better (as bad as it is) to get a more definitive timetable for an injury. When a player is out 4-6 weeks, you have an idea for the most part that "Player X" will be out that length of time. "Week to week" could be anything from a week to a month to even longer. Consider other options on St. Louis like Vladimir Tarasenko for the time being as he is still available in quite a few fantasy leagues out there. Okay we have time for one more.
Which Alexander Steen do we see this year? The breakout version of Mr. Steen or a considerably lesser version?
Now these are the fun questions that test us "experts" the most. Alexander Steen had two 45+ point seasons before last year's near 30-30 campaign (33G 29A). There are some factors that must be considered too. Since the 2009-10 season, Steen missed ten or more games in all but one season (the 2013 shortened year when he missed eight games). Therefore, injuries have to be considered as a potential tick downward in production. Here are those numbers from the St. Louis Blues.
- 2013-14 -- 62 pts (missed 14 games
- 2013 -- 27 pts (shortened year)
- 2011-12 -- 24 pts (missed 39 games)
- 2010-11 -- 51 pts (missed 10 games)
- 2009-10 -- 47 pts (missed 14 games)
- 2008-09 -- 24 pts (played 61 games post trade from TOR)
The numbers are kind of all over the place, aren't they? This all comes down to how healthy Steen can stay. We have seen Paul Stastny go down to injury already and the Blues do play a grinding style that can make it a little tougher on their top six forwards than most teams. Most signs point toward a 60-65 point year if the forward can stay healthy but with a lean towards an injury, 50-55 points seems more realistic. He should be around 14-18 power play points and close to 200 shots on net.
Either way Steen is going to be given every opportunity. In the case he stays healthy, 20-25 power play points is not out of the question based on shot volume and his potential of hovering around 26-32 goals. It is a broad range, I understand, but this is the best that can be expected with a team that preaches balanced scoring and boasts one of the best top 9's in all of hockey.
Next week, we will have more answers to your questions on the mailbag. Thanks for reading!