Special to Yahoo Sports
Injuries start piling up and the natural response is to feel overwhelmed. The key is to not think of it as a giant problem, but rather something that can be fixed one transaction at a time. Take the position that needs the most attention and solve that. Then move on to the next one. Rinse, repeat, reload.
You’ll find 14 individuals below who can help ease your fantasy pain and get you through the next stretch of games.
Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues (Yahoo: 54%)
Kinda cheating with the usual coverage criteria, but let me assure you Schenn was at 50% when I started compiling this column. Like most of the Blues in the early going, he hadn’t done much offensively with only one assist through nine games. Then the team remembered how to start scoring, and Schenn has since reeled off five goals and four assists going into Thursday — including separate three- and four-point efforts — with 14 shots, nine hits, five blocks and 41 faceoff wins. St. Louis has been soaring of late while Schenn holds top-six and first power-play positions (and both C and LW eligibility on Yahoo).
Check your leagues to see if he’s still available.
Lawson Crouse, Arizona Coyotes (Yahoo: 27%)
The previous two seasons were pretty good for Crouse as he averaged 0.56 points, double the mark from the rest of his career and mainly the product of improved line placement and more minutes. He’s lost a bit of ice time this year, yet his scoring rate is up with 10 points, all in his last 10 matchups. Crouse has also maintained decent totals in other categories during the same timeframe with 26 shots and 19 hits, and his involvement on both special-teams units makes him more appealing in both fantasy and real life.
Eeli Tolvanen, Seattle Kraken (Yahoo: 27%)
It’s safe to say Tolvanen has enjoyed his stint in Seattle after not receiving many opportunities during his time with Nashville. After all, he immediately began his Kraken career with points from six of his first nine outings back in January. Tolvanen hasn’t slowed down despite technically being on the third line at five-on-five, though he’s also part of the man advantage that arguably boasts more talent. He’s posted three goals and eight assists — with four of those PPAs — alongside 32 shots, 26 hits and 18 blocks since Oct. 19. Tolvanen dazzled the KHL and AHL way back when so you may want to grab him before his NHL stats get out of control.
Tyler Seguin, DAL (Yahoo: 24%)
Long gone are the days when Seguin would pull off substantial point totals, but something around 50 isn’t terrible. He’s at least brought back some of that old form of scoring in bunches with two points in three of the last four games, which isn’t surprising considering the Stars have struck for 20 goals over that period. Seguin benefits as a member of Dallas’ decent second power play, though he’s only recorded one point there. He’ll keep getting chances as long as he keeps teaming up with talented forwards.
J.T. Compher, Detroit Red Wings (Yahoo: 21%)
Compher enjoyed a career year during his Colorado finale and the expectation was that his role and fantasy value would significantly diminish in Detroit. There was probably no way he’d be repeating the 20:32 a night, yet he’s posted enough points to fit on anyone’s roster. Compher may not be firing pucks on net at his usual rate, though two goals and seven assists across seven appearances should do the job.
Cole Perfetti, Winnipeg Jets (Yahoo: 19%)
Perfetti may very well have earned a few Calder votes had an injury not sidelined him in February, as he’d posted 30 points through 51 outings. He’s getting to show off his talent on Winnipeg’s top power play and has found the back of the net while up a man in two of the last three. Perfetti is also riding a seven-game scoring streak where he’s managed four goals, five assists and 17 shots. That type of offensive consistency and upside shouldn’t be available in just over 80 percent of leagues, though a big uptick may have to wait until his Yahoo wing eligibility kicks in.
James van Riemsdyk, Bostin Bruins (Yahoo: 13%)
Anyone on the Bruins’ lead man advantage should be rostered. Now I’m not endorsing 100% coverage for van Riemsdyk; just pointing out how advantageous it is to be grouped with the likes of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy for two or more minutes at a time. So being part of that situation is reason enough to have JVR aboard. Oh, and did I mention the six-points-in-four-games run last week? Or the fact he’s really worked well with Charlie Coyle? Take a chance on van Riemsdyk and see what happens. And if it doesn’t work out, you can always throw him back to the wire.
Luke Evangelista, Nashville Predators (Yahoo: 3%)
Speaking of ROTY consideration, Evangelista is already gaining attention for his initial exploits in the Music City. And it wasn’t like he was invisible during his abbreviated shift last season, as he put up 15 points and 54 shots in only 24 contests. The current numbers may not be as eye-popping, yet a goal and eight assists — including three PPAs — have proved sufficient on a thin group up front. The Preds may be a couple of years away from truly competing, but youngsters like Evangelista should get their fans excited for the future.
Erik Gustafsson, NYR (Yahoo: 30%)
It’s been two weeks since Adam Fox went down. In the four games that followed, Gustafsson has stepped up to contribute a goal, five assists, seven shots and six blocks. He’s also assumed Fox’s spot as the top power-play quarterback, where he’s chipped in with a PPA. The former Norris Trophy winner is expected to return by the end of the month, but until then Gustafsson will continue logging increased ice time (like the 26:18 he did on Sunday) and receiving more offensive opportunities.
Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota Wild (Yahoo: 19%)
Some poolies probably forgot about Spurgeon as he only made his season debut last Friday. While he hasn’t registered a point during the two contests, he’s managed six blocks while resuming significant responsibilities, which include a place on Minnesota’s second man-advantage and a hefty short-handed role. Spurgeon produced at least 10 goals and 32 points in six of the last eight years, so he should get back on track soon enough.
Rasmus Sandin, Washington Capitals (Yahoo: 19%)
Sandin’s coverage plummeted as he went scoreless in his first nine outings. To be fair, he was skating 22-plus minutes and posted 12 shots, 17 blocks and nine hits over that stretch while Washington only potted 19 goals. Sandin has recovered with four assists across five appearances supplemented by seven shots, a plus-8 and a whopping 17 blocks on a 25:18 average. And let’s not forget he went off for 15 points in 18 games after coming over from Toronto in early March (though some of that was aided by John Carlson‘s absence).
Samuel Girard, Colorado Avalanche (Yahoo: 4%)
Luck hasn’t been on Girard’s side. Despite 13 shots, 22 blocks and 12 hits during the opening month, his only output came in the form of a helper early on. Girard’s power play time was non-existent for the first half but has slowly built up to a regular gig on the second unit alongside fellow blueliners Devon Toews and Bowen Byram. Wednesday’s performance against Anaheim could be the turning point as he tallied a goal and assist along with three shots.
Casey DeSmith, Vancouver Canucks (Yahoo: 24%)
After five seasons in Pittsburgh in which he compiled a respectable 2.81 GAA and .912 save percentage, DeSmith was moved to the Canucks at the end of the summer. Thatcher Demko came into the campaign having struggled last year, but he’s excelled so far. DeSmith has performed decently over seven appearances with a 2.89/.912 line and only suffered his first regulation defeat on Thursday. Demko is probably not going to be usurped as the lead netminder, but DeSmith should get enough work and wins behind the league’s leading offense.
Charlie Lindgren, Washington Capitals (Yahoo: 14%)
Lindgren finally earned a decent amount of games last season, which resulted in a GAA over 3.00 and save percentage below .900. Darcy Kuemper, who’s also in his second year with the Caps, remains the top goalie but has experienced a couple recent injuries. That’s opened the door for Lindgren, and he’s impressed by notching three straight victories — the last one a 35-save shutout against Vegas. As he’s on a nice run and Kuemper’s status is unknown, there will be more potential to shine during the rest of the homestand against weaker defenses in Columbus, Buffalo and Edmonton.
Players to consider from past columns
Pavel Zacha, Seth Jarvis, Ryan O’Reilly, Logan Cooley, William Karlsson, Wyatt Johnston, Bryan Rust, Ryan Hartman, Jaden Schwartz, Josh Norris, Robert Thomas, Nazem Kadri, Evan Rodrigues, Ryan Johansen, Adam Fantilli, Alex Iafallo, Dylan Strome, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Trevor Moore, Ryan Strome, John-Jason Peterka, Cam Atkinson, Sean Couturier, Kirill Marchenko, Leo Carlsson, Matthew Knies, Jake Sanderson, Owen Power, Mike Matheson, Filip Hronek, Calen Addison, Bowen Byram, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Pavel Mintyukov, Travis Sanheim, Mattias Ekholm, Ivan Provorov, Karel Vejmelka, Elvis Merzlikins, Connor Ingram, Petr Mrazek, Joel Hofer