For fantasy owners of Eric Staal and NHL bettors, here is a quick update and suggestion on Eric Staal and the Hurricanes:
Staal has been granted a personal leave following the death of his sister-in-law. While it is a sad and unfortunate event and one that will be in the thoughts of Hurricanes and hockey fans alike, it may create opportunities if you are a fantasy owner or bettor.
Staal’s recent move to Right Wing from Left Wing (and Center as we were most familiar with before the move to LW) had recently found some success with 7 points (2G, 5A) since the move, but his spot on the roster will likely be filled by a call-up in the immediate future. Though there has been no official word yet, Sergei Samsonov may be available for the Hurricanes game today against the Predators, but he would likely fill his natural LW position and send a call-up back to Albany. Update: According to Hockey Wires, Samsonov is not expected to play. Boychuk Will likely remain in his LW position.
At Staal’s position at RW, we may see Jiri Tlusty in his 4th NHL game as a Hurricane, having scored a goal on the first shift of his first game, following that with a quiet performance and then an assist in his most recent call-up for this past Saturday’s game. While Tlusty’s 2 points in 3 games is likely all GM Jim Rutherford could hope for after acquiring Tlusty in a trade just recently, he will not be able to carry the same impact that Staal had for the Canes recently. Update: Jerome Samson was called up to fill Staal’s spot on the roster for tonight’s game, according to Canes Country.
In fantasy terms, you may be able to make a quick waiver-wire acquisition to fill Staal’s absence since I see in my ESPN league that he is listed as IR-eligible. If you have the ability to pick up a replacement center temporarily, Tomas Plekanec might still be snatched up in a few leagues and Jarret Stoll is available in most others. In a few leagues Staal may already be eligible at LW or RW, but since he was drafted as a center, I will not provide replacement options at those positions.
In betting terms, the opportunity presented is in the matchup tonight against the Predators. In Staal’s absence and on the road, chemistry will likely be lacking once again and the Preds moneyline looks to be a reliable pick, albeit opening at -175. You may also consider the -1.5 puck line, but the impact on the over/under should not be significant and could easily be a toss-up. If anything, I would lean toward the over 5.5 considering Nashville’s recent trends of high-scoring offense and poor defence in addition to Carolina’s poor road defense.
Please note that the roster information described in this article is solely my suggestion and the Hurricanes’ lines page will be updated as soon as there is any official word. Hurricanes Lines