Now is the time of year when injures start to take a toll on rosters.
When stars get hurt, it's your job as a fantasy owner to look to their replacements to plug the holes on your roster.
Sure, losing Vesa Toskala to injury can be a blow to your team, but he’s not irreplaceable.
As in the NHL, in fantasy hockey there are numerous players who can fill the void—and sometimes even do a better job.
If you picked up Ty Conklin when Toskala got hurt, pat yourself on the back. When Vesa comes off the IR, there’s no rush to take him off your own injured list. Instead, continue to ride Conklin’s hot streak while you can.
There's no rule saying you can’t keep a player on the IR even though he’s healthy.
And with all the said, my recommendations for the week...
David Booth (FLA – LW)
Earlier this season, coach Jacques Martin was quoted as saying the only Panthers playing above his expectations were David Booth and goalie Thomas Vokoun.
But like an announcer who discusses a shutout, Martin jinxed his team. A few days later, Booth injured his knee.
Booth had tallied a successful November with nine points in 14 games, and has since come back in style logging, logging three points in three games in 2008.
Keep an eye on this 23-year-old speedster.
Tyler Arnason and Marek Svatos (COL)
Injuries to both Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth will force the Avalanche to rely heavily on their young guns to shoulder the load.
Marek Svatos has only 18 points in 38 games so far this season, but he potted 50 points in 61 games in his rookie campaign two years ago, so we know he has the potential to improve on his stats.
With the increased ice time, now is his opportunity to show he can be a top-six forward.
Arnason is expected to rejoin the Avalanche on their upcoming five-game road trip. He'll likely step into the role of second-line pivot between Svatos and Brunette.
Arnason had been out for 11 games with a broken wrist. Look for the 28-year-old to play up to 20 minutes per game and see some time on the power play.
Michael Leighton (CAR – G)
John Grahame was waived by the Caroline Hurricanes and sent to the AHL affiliate Albany River Rats.
Some speculate that the Hurricanes could be moving Grahame’s salary to make room for Curtis Joseph, but the fact is that Leighton earned the call up.
Leighton boasted a 2.14 GAA and leads the AHL with five shutouts. He has played admirably in two games with the Hurricanes, allowing three goals in a victory and only one goal in a hard-luck loss.
Grahame had posted subpar numbers (.875 GAA), and starter Cam Ward has been inconsistent (nine games in 31 starts with four goals or more allowed).
If Leighton continues to play consistently, he’ll continue to steal starts.
Andrew Raycroft (TOR – G)
After Scott Clemmensen was given a three game tryout with the Leafs, Andrew Raycroft was put back in net.
Raycroft didn't win his return to the twine, but played competently. He shut the door for nearly two periods after a shaky start.
Toskala should return to the lineup this week, but look for Raycroft to get the nod versus Los Angeles on Thursday, as he attempts to reestablish himself and challenge for starts.
Clemmensen will return to the AHL.
Martin Havlat (CHI – RW)
There is no logical explanation as to why Havlat would be a free agent in your league—but if he is, sign him...until he suffers his next injury.