The Los Angeles Kings have had their goaltending thrust into chaos with the departure of their starter and now an injury to the goaltender backing him up. As a result, they have an unheralded prospect from well outside the first round of the draft, who was solid in college hockey and just fine in the AHL, now thrust into the spotlight.
With Quick already out for 4-6 weeks, backup Jack Campbell -- who was performing at a top-12 level at the position in fantasy -- is now out for 4-6 weeks of his own. It leaves the Kings digging way down the depth chart for Peter Budaj and Petersen for the next month at least.
Budaj may as well be nicknamed the "zombie" because he keeps coming back from the dead. While he performed admirably for the Kings when Quick was injured in 2016-17, he is now 36 years old -- and his age showing in the AHL, where he sports a 6.16 GAA in three games played. The Kings have a valuable position and system for a goaltender, but I don't want to plug-and-play Budaj this time around.
I'm more intrigued by Petersen. He backstopped the Fighting Irish for three seasons and was solid in his rookie AHL stint last season, earning a trip to the All-Star game. He's been the workhorse for the Ontario Reign for far this season with 10 starts and very underwhelming ratios (4.29 GAA).
I referenced Quick's debut under similar circumstances because we really don't know much about a lot of these goaltenders until we actually see them. When Quick took the league by storm in 2008-09, it was supposed to be Erik Ersberg or first-round pick Jonathan Bernier who would take over the crease when Jason LaBarbera was traded. Yet it was Quick who emerged and became the best goaltender in the history of the franchise.
While I wouldn't start Petersen in any league just yet, I'm stashing him in 12-team leagues or deeper. Quick and Campbell both have torn knees and that's an issue that can linger far longer than the stated recovery time period -- especially for goaltenders constantly going into the butterfly.
To replace the Quick/Campbell combo in your fantasy lineup, start with the availability of Jaroslav Halak, then pivot to David Rittich, and finally to Darcy Kuemper for the very short term. I honestly think in re-draft leagues you can drop Quick and/or Campbell if you need to. There'll be an opportunity to get them back during the recovery period and you'll have to solve your goaltending in the meantime. If you miss out on them on the way back, oh well, you've already had to find another solution anyway.
Forwards on the move
Mathew Barzal, C, New York Islanders (down 15 spots to No. 99): There was legitimate concern about Barzal's ability to repeat his rookie efforts without the shield of John Tavares. As the Islanders' No. 1 center coming into the season, Barzal hasn't lived up to his performance from last season. While he is still on pace for elite assist numbers, Barzal has only two goals through the first 16 games of the season -- and scoring is key for his fantasy value to keep pace. Coach Barry Trotz has demoted Barzal off the first power-play unit and, while that may not last, it's not exactly going to help his goal-scoring to pick up.
Tom Wilson, W, Washington Capitals (enters ranks at No. 237): With a retroactive reduction of his suspension, Wilson is returning to the Capitals imminently. In fact, Wilson is eligible to play Tuesday night for the Capitals. His wing spot next to Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov is waiting for him and he should be added to any fantasy league using either penalty minutes or hits. He's a top-five player in both categories and won't hurt you everywhere else, as most others with elite stats in those categories tend to do.
Defensemen on the move
Erik Karlsson, D, San Jose Sharks (down 17 spots to No. 57): I never thought this situation would turn out like this. With just seven assists and a minus-10 rating, Karlsson's arrival to join Brent Burns on the Sharks blue line has been a disappointment. Burns is just fine. In fact, he's the No. 1 fantasy defenseman this season, walking away. Yet the stats haven't been there for Karlsson. The good news is that he got off to a horribly slow start last season and picked things up by the end. He's a "hold" right now, as both trading for him or trading him away are risky propositions from a value perspective. It's not as easy to predict that he'll right the ship to "Karlsson-esque" levels in these new surroundings, but it's also tough to bet against that outcome.
Shea Weber, D, Montreal Canadiens (up 67 spots to No. 149): Just like that, Weber is back practicing with the Canadiens as of Monday. The new team captain still isn't technically expected back before December, but a 20-week recovery timetable for his knee surgery is not unreasonable, which brings us to right about now. They have yet to change his projected return date but, based on the rave reviews of his showing in practice, it wouldn't be a surprise to see it moved up. His trade value in fantasy leagues is still probably depressed because the absence dates back almost a full calendar year. Go after him now and reap the rewards of a top-12 defenseman for the final four months of the season (or more).
Goaltenders on the move
Tuukka Rask, G, Boston Bruins (down 35 spots to No. 101): While we can only hope that all is well in Mr. Rask's world after his unexplained "leave of absence" from the Bruins, it certainly comes at an inopportune time for his fantasy fortunes. Jaroslav Halak is playing lights out as the Bruins backup netminder, to the point where we can't really call him the "backup" anymore. Rask is back with the team, but Halak has easily earned a 50-50 timeshare at this point, which takes a massive chunk out of Rask's fantasy value.
Henrik Lundqvist, G, New York Rangers (up 38 spots to No. 108): Just when you think he's on his way out, "The King" pulls us back in. Lundqvist has been in a statistical death spiral for the past several seasons, and the Rangers admitted to an all-out rebuild last season. Still, here we are with Lundqvist throwing up brick walls whenever he hits the ice. While the Rangers aren't giving him a chance to win every night, his ratios more than make up for the muted win total. He's an unexpectedly solid G2 in fantasy leagues and is approaching "set it and forget it" status as your second goaltender.
Matt Murray, G, Pittsburgh Penguins (down 14 spots to No. 114): Don't look now, but Murray may be in a competition for his status as the Penguins' starting goaltender. The battle between Murray and Casey DeSmith parallels what's happening in the crease for the Calgary Flames between Mike Smith and David Rittich, except Murray doesn't have age as an excuse. While Smith is at a point where a statistical decline is expected for goaltenders, Murray is three years younger than DeSmith. If you haven't already handcuffed your Murray investment, do it now. In dynasty formats, don't move off of Murray yet, as he still has a long career ahead of him. For re-draft formats, however, you should not be starting Murray at this stage.
New to rankings
Neal Pionk, Casey DeSmith, Vince Dunn, Ondrej Kase (Off injured reserve, made season debut Monday), Gustav Nyquist, Andreas Athanasiou, Josh Anderson (Did his fight with Jamie Benn influence me?) and Tom Wilson.
Kevin Labanc, Ryan Kesler, Esa Lindell, Patrick Marleau, Brent Seabrook (Paired with Duncan Keith again, could be good times), Derick Brassard, Jacob Markstrom (Ratios need to be better, but the wins are there), Paul Stastny, Jake DeBrusk and Jakob Chychrun.