Earlier this week, I recommended caution when it came to Andrew Raycroft’s viability. I now feel pretty confident in saying that he’s an interesting short term option though, especially for people who are hoping to fill a void left behind by Kari Lethonen.
Dallas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said that Raycroft will get a Lehtonen-like set of starts while the Finn is absent. Raycroft seems primed to be in net for all the upcoming games that aren’t back-to-back matches, which means it might be safe to assume he’ll play on Dec. 3 (home vs. Islanders), Dec. 8 (at San Jose), Dec. 10 (at Los Angeles) and probably Dec. 13 (at Rangers). After that, the Stars have back-to-back games (Dec. 15 at Islanders, Dec. 16 at New Jersey), so Richard Bachman should get at least one of those nods.
That’s 4-5 starts in the next two weeks, although the competition is going to get tougher than the two beatable teams (Colorado on Monday, Ottawa on Thursday) that Raycroft earned wins against as the interim No. 1 guy. It’s safe to say that he probably won’t hold opponents to 1.5 goals per game once he faces tougher road and home challenges.
Still, if you’re desperate for a quick fix, Raycroft isn’t a horrible option by any means. In fact, the three-week estimate for Lehtonen’s return may very well be overly optimistic. Raycroft could get plenty of reps in the month of December for all we know.
Again, I’d like to emphasize that Raycroft isn’t a superstar and isn’t likely to put up fantasy-friendly stats every night. Don’t count on him to do too much, but if you need a quick fix for a third goalie or other depth option, then he’s probably worth a shot. He might even surprise you, but a lot of that will hinge on how the Stars play in front of him.
BAD NEWS IN LOS ANGELES
The Los Angeles Kings suffered two tough injury blows despite recording two points against the Florida Panthers last night. While the team will miss Willie Mitchell’s sturdy defensive presence, fantasy owners will be more impacted by the “upper body injury” that Mike Richards suffered.
Sean Bergenheim caught Richards with a questionable hit to the head and Richards didn’t return to the game, so it’s natural to wonder if Richards might be suffering the same fate that usually falls upon his victims. (That would be a concussion.)
It’s not a sure thing by any means, but the instinct is to worry about that whenever someone gets hit in the noggin these days. Stay tuned with Rotoworld this weekend for updates about his condition, if the Kings are even remotely forthcoming.
After the jump: Muller and Hunter remain winless, quick hits and injury news.