Fantasy Hockey Friday: Is it time to trade Sidney Crosby?

Despite his injury woes, Sidney Crosby is still owned in 95 percent of all Yahoo Fantasy Hockey leagues. This means that most of you are in the same boat as me, with Crosby stashed on the IR, constantly checking for updates in hopes that good news will eventually appear.

Maybe it’s time to get realistic about those hopes. Maybe it’s time to consider trading Crosby.

The announcement came two weeks ago at the NHL All-Star Game that Crosby was suffering from a neck injury instead of another concussion. While this was positive news and hopefully bodes well for his health and his career, the official stance from the Penguins and Crosby himself still states that there is no timetable for his return. Sure, Crosby has been skating for the past week or two, but doctors still haven’t cleared him for contact drills yet and, again, there appears to be no timeframe where this could happen.

Remember back to November when he initially returned from his concussions. After it was announced that Crosby was cleared for contact, he still practiced with the team for several weeks before returning to game action. Crosby, the team and doctors all wanted to ensure that Crosby could take the bumps and hits that come with any NHL game and walk away completely symptom free. And you can bet the same thing will happen this time around.

Okay, so let’s pretend that Crosby starts to feel better and ramps up his workouts in about a week-and-a-half to a high-intensity level that athletes are used to. He does that for another week, maybe two, before doctors give him clearance to practice with full contact. I know that this injury and the recovery process isn’t the same as the process coming back from his concussion, but let’s say that Crosby participates in contact drills for another two weeks. This puts us right around the middle to end of March before Crosby even steps on the ice again for an actual game.

At this point in time, and judging by how his previous recovery progressed, this could be a very realistic timeframe for Crosby’s return to the ice. If this eventually plays out, is it worth it for you as a Fantasy Hockey owner to hold onto Crosby or should you look to trade him for a small asset and let someone else hold out hope?

The answer is mixed, mostly depending on where you rank in the standings. For me, as a Crosby owner who currently stands outside the playoff picture, it would definitely be worth it to trade Crosby in hopes of getting a player that can contribute and possible help my push for a playoff spot. However, for someone ranking high in their league with no other real injury concerns on their roster, retaining Crosby on the off-chance that he returns is definitely a viable option. It all depends on where your team ranks. If you can afford to retain his rights, then by all means do so.

But if you want to trade Crosby, what kind of a return should you expect? When healthy, Crosby is one of the best players in the league and a valuable asset. The uncertainty of his return makes it difficult to ascertain a value for him though. Personally, I’ve had a wide range of wild deals coming through with different expectations from different managers depending on how they value Crosby in his current state.

At this point, if Crosby returns this season it will likely be in the midst of the Fantasy Hockey playoffs. The potential for his contribution means that he still carries some weight – injury or not. You likely won’t get an All-Star player in return for Crosby, so forget the Sedins, Stamkos, Giroux, etc. But you should reasonably expect someone with 15+ goals and 30+ points in return. Mikko Koivu, Shane Doan, Milan Lucic, Paul Stastny and Alexander Semin could all be possible trade targets. If you’re feeling lucky, you may even reach a tad higher and go for a player like Dany Heatley, Brad Richards or Ryan Getzlaf. All of these players rank in the 80’s and 90’s amongst all players in NHL scoring. After those players, you get into a mix of talent that may not be any better or worse than what’s available in the free agent pool – depending on how deep your league is.

Regardless of what you decide to do – trade Crosby or hold onto him – you’re taking a gamble. Unfortunately, nobody really knows when he’ll be back or can say for certain for the rest of the season will play out for him. In the end, we hope that Crosby gets better and can return to form as soon as possible. The game is better when he’s on the ice.

What do you think? What’s a reasonable trade offer for Sidney Crosby?


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