The Toronto Maple Leafs entered this season with bright hopes in making the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in six seasons. However, those hopes took a puncture in Tuesday’s injury to team captain Dion Phaneuf, who will be sidelined at least one month with a leg laceration. For those Leaf fans who are already thinking doom and gloom, skate cuts could be worse. Just ask Kevin Bieksa and Richard Zednik.
Fantasy teams won’t experience a massive dropoff by not having Phaneuf in the lineup. After all, Phaneuf had no goals and just four assists with a (-6) in 11 games this season. However, his most significant contributions to fantasy teams were in penalty minutes (17) and shots on goal (37). Phaneuf was also a top-notch option for leagues out there that count hits (30).
Phaneuf’s injury should result in even more power-play time for Tomas Kaberle. It would only make sense for the Leafs to keep Kaberle, but of course, it wouldn’t be Toronto without the trade rumors floating around like the smog. Francois Beauchemin (28 minutes), Mike Komisarek (26 minutes), and Luke Schenn (23 minutes) all experienced significant icetime upgrades in Tuesday’s game against Washington. Beauchemin is a workable option in those 12-team leagues that have five defensemen per team, especially in leagues that count icetime. Komisarek could replace Phaneuf based on hits alone, but he won’t supply enough offense to stay on fantasy rosters long-term. Schenn is the most intriguing option of the three, as he is a young d-man who has yet to peak. Like Komisarek, he doesn’t supply much offense, but unlike Komisarek, he has the potential to produce more points (three assists in 12 games).
I would suggest looking for options on other teams before considering any of the above-mentioned Leafs. If you are looking for a d-man that resembles Phaneuf, James Wisniewski should be claimed by now if he’s still out there, in spite of his (-10) ranking. P.K. Subban should also be claimed, considering his high shots-on-goal total (36). Anton Babchuk, Matt Taormina, and Mark Giordano will also help ease the burden in the shots on goal category, while Jack Johnson and Marek Zidlicky could help with power-play points. Penalty minutes is the easiest category to replace from the waiver wire, so I won’t bother listing anyone to help you in that category.
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