Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos went down with a broken leg this week and is likely to miss at least a couple of months. Stamkos’ injury has no doubt left many fantasy owners scrambling to find a replacement, or at the very least pick someone up to help them survive the explosive forward’s absence.
The injury puts into perspective how much of a factor luck plays into fantasy hockey. It could have just as easily been John Tavares, Sidney Crosby, or Pavel Datsyuk that went down with a substantial injury, throwing their respective owners into a tailspin. If you lose your top pick for a good chunk of the season it’s almost impossible to recover without a good backup plan, unless of course you drafted Alex Steen to add some depth to your roster only to realize he’s now on pace for a 1,000 goals this year.
Tyler Seguin – C – 98% Owned
Despite what the Boston Bruins would have you believe, unprofessionalism is not an applicable fantasy hockey statistic. The Dallas Stars took a chance by acquiring Seguin even after reports swirled about his off the ice activities, and are quickly seeing the benefits. Seguin went off this week for seven points, which included a four-goal game against Calgary. Many felt Boston would regret the Seguin trade, but those who drafted him in their pools this season certainly won’t be.
The Runners Up
Jamie Benn – LW – 96% Owned
Benn is one who is happy to see Seguin in a Stars uniform, as the two young forwards have begun to build a nice chemistry. Benn had six points in the aforementioned game against the Flames and assisted on all four of Seguin’s goals. With the injury to Stamkos there might be a chance for a young player to grab a spot on Canada’s Olympic team, and Benn is making his presence known.
Alex Steen – C – 92% Owned
So Steen isn’t actually on pace for 1,000 goals, although it certainly feels that way. After another five points this week, Steen is now up to 17 goals and 26 points on the year. In fact, the Blues forward has had just two games where he failed to find the score sheet all season, leaving Toronto Maple Leafs fans sobbing on what might have been. What I would like to know is, what’s up with the 8% of leagues that don’t own Steen?
John Tavares – C – 100% Owned
The Islanders have gone through somewhat of a rough stretch over the last couple of weeks, but you can’t blame Tavares for their struggles. Tavares put up five points this week and now has eight points in his last five contests, while continuing to establish himself as one of the elite players in today’s game. Could you imagine how much money John Spano would have pretended to have if Tavares was on the team in 1996?
Honorable Mentions: Justin Peters, Claude Giroux, Shane Doan, Patrick Marleau, Martin Brodeur, Brayden Schenn, John Carlson, Dan Boyle, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk, T.J. Oshie, Ben Scrivens, Patrick Sharp.
The LVP (Least Valuable Player)
Phil Kessel – RW – 100% Owned
Kessel has been solid most of the year for the Leafs, but this past week was one he would like to forget. Kessel failed to register a point and has now done so for four consecutive games. Many might want to give him a pass because Toronto is so thin at center at the moment that their next call might be to Mike Eastwood, but Kessel’s week was alarming in one respect. The Leafs played the Buffalo Sabres twice and Kessel couldn’t muster even a point, which you would think he could have done even if Gordon Bombay was centering his line.
Not Last But Certainly Least
Joffrey Lupul – LW – 93% Owned
Much like Kessel, Lupul didn’t notch a point last week and is also feeling the pain of the team having their top three centers out of the lineup. Peter Holland was brought in to play with either Lupul or Kessel for the time being, with the hopes of providing at least some stability down the middle. That last statement should illustrate just how bad things are in Toronto right now. Things are going to get worse before they get better.
Semyon Varlamov – G – 85% Owned
Varlamov started the campaign on a torrid pace and was one of the major reasons the Colorado Avalanche got off to an impressive start, but recently he has faltered. The Avs have lost three straight and last week Varlamov posted save percentages of .879 and .667, likely leaving head coach Patrick Roy to ponder if he should re-enter the crease himself.
Seth Jones – D – 48% Owned
Jones did manage to pick up an assist last week, but that was his first point after a stretch of five games that saw him held scoreless and go minus-7. It seems a little early for Jones to be hitting a rookie wall, and what’s most concerning is his assist came in a game where the Preds scored seven goals, and even the hot dog vendor picked up two points. It’s also a little curious that Nashville would use up a typical month’s worth of goals for them in just a single game.
Dishonorable Mentions: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jack Johnson, P.K. Subban, Daniel Sedin, David Desharnais, Todd Bertuzzi.