The Goods: IR Attrition

01/21/2011 2:31 AM -  Ian Gooding

Attrition is defined as ”a reduction in numbers usually as a result of resignation, retirement, or death.” (Source: Merriam-Webster)

So how can attrition apply to your fantasy hockey team? I’ll use a case in point from one of my fantasy hockey teams to illustrate.

On this particular team, I have held Pekka Rinne in the IR spot until today, even though he returned to the lineup from IR on December 23. So why would I keep him on IR all this time? First, here’s my team:

C: David Krejci, Valtteri Filppula, Logan Couture, Scott Gomez

LW: Dany Heatley, Chris Kunitz, Tyler Ennis

RW: Corey Perry, Daniel Alfredsson, Tomas Fleischmann

D: Shea Weber, Tobias Enstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Erik Karlsson, John Carlson

G: Martin Brodeur, Antti Niemi, Antero Niittymaki, Rinne

Basically, I didn’t know which player to drop from my team to activate Rinne. However, I knew that sooner or later that attrition would occur in the form of the Injury Ninja (Chris Wassel’s term). As it turned out, the blasted ninja hit not one, but two of my players on the same day. Niittymaki left Thursday’s practice with a lower-body injury and was immediately placed on IR, while the Avalanche announced the same day that Fleischmann will be out for the season with a blood clot in his lung.

I still haven’t made a roster move yet, since ESPN hasn’t placed Niitty on IR yet. There’s no point in me keeping Fleisch, although I don’t need to activate Rinne until he plays again on Saturday. So I will continue to wait. And so should you, if you’re not sure who to drop when an injured player becomes active (unless that injured player happens to be Sidney Crosby!)

You may still be wondering why I didn’t activate Rinne and how my decision might be negatively affecting my team. Well, I’m proud to say that while Rinne was on IR, I climbed out of the league basement and now hold an over-.500 record. I know that Brodeur has struggled immensely, but I’ve managed to crawl back into the race thanks to some solid waiver-wire pickups (Couture, Fleischmann) and early-season slumpers finally busting out (Weber).

A couple somewhat related thoughts:

With Niitty immediately placed on IR, the Sharks were without a backup goalie for Thursday’s game in Vancouver. So they phoned the local university (University of British Columbia) and borrowed Jordan White, the university hockey team’s goalie, to be the emergency backup. Since Vancouver is so far away from the rest of the NHL cities, especially those in the Eastern time zone, having to borrow a UBC goalie instead of calling up a goalie from the AHL is not such a rare occurrence. Read this article from the Vancouver Sun about Chris Levesque, who literally experienced 15 minutes of fame as a one-night Canucks’ backup goalie back in 2003. According to the article, borrowing a backup goalie has happened on a few other teams as well.

Speaking of Sharks’ goalies, I don’t think it would be that weird if Evgeni Nabokov were claimed off waivers by the Sharks from the Detroit Red Wings (as I tweeted). In fact, don’t bet against it, since we don’t know how long Niitty will be sidelined. I know that it would be strange, especially since the Sharks wouldn’t pay Nabby the $6 million per season that he eventually received from the KHL. But there’s no way that Nabby goes unclaimed off waivers, considering that he’s earning a paltry $570,000 this season back in the NHL and considering that not even Marek Svatos or Kyle Wellwood could clear waivers (thanks for playing, St. Louis). The Wings might already know who would claim Nabokov off waivers and then work out a trade with that team, or they may be able to get him back through re-entry waivers, as long as no other team claims him. But the NHL’s waiver process is about as easy to figure out as the tax code, or at least it is complicated enough to stump Bob McKenzie. But we’ll all find out how this Nabokov thing will transpire on Saturday. In short, get your waiver claim in.

Tagged: TJ Oshie

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  1. Ian Gooding says:

    Just to clarify… the Sharks may not have high enough waiver priority to claim Nabokov, but he could ultimately end up back there via a deal or re-entry waivers. My guess now is that the Islanders claim him, as the Devils (according to Lou Lamoriello) won’t claim him.

  2. Jorgen Slots says:

    I would drop Tomas Fleischmann (he’s gone for the year) and/or put Antero Niittymaki on the IR when he is eligible.

    **Jan 20 Fleischmann will miss the remainder of the season after being diagnosed with pulmonary emboli, reports Jeff Marek of CBC Sports.**

  3. Ian Gooding says:

    That’s what I did. I moved Niittymaki to IR and finally activated Rinne.

    I also dropped Fleischmann and replaced him with T.J. Oshie, who returned from a broken ankle this week.

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