Injuries are plaguing the NHL more severely than I can remember just one month into the regular season, and chances are you’re down a player or five in your pool. Fantasy-impact players like Alexander Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Marc Savard, Simon Gagne, Sergei Gonchar, and Roberto Luongo are just a few of the stars watching their games from the press box. They’re not going to get you many points sitting up there, so I’ve skimmed the fantasy waivers to find the best replacement options for your current lineups.
Tomas Kaberle, D, TOR – I was looking around today and found an absolutely absurd statistic. Tomas Kaberle has either scored or assisted on 12 of the Leafs’ 14 power play markers. It’s hard to imagine where they’d be without this guy – perhaps even last place…?
Tim Connolly, C, BUF – If you like rolling the dice, scoop up the 24% owned Connolly. It’s not that you’re taking a chance on him providing offensive totals – he’s contributing with ease (9 points in last 7 games). The risk lies in his knack for finding the injured reserve.
Zach Bogosian, D, ATL – The young, offensive-minded defenseman rarely passes up the opportunity to unleash a booming slapshot from anywhere in the opposition’s zone. With 5 goals, Bogosian is just one goal back of Rich Peverley, the Thrasher’s active leader in goals with Ilya Kovalchuk on the shelf with an injury. This is depressing news for Thrashers’ fans, but a great trend for Bogosian owners.
Nathan Horton, RW, FLA – Don’t look now but the notoriously disappointing Nathan Horton is heating up. Even with 7 points over his last 3 games, Horton’s owned in just 52% of pools. Hey, everyone deserves a 24th chance.
Jeff Tambellini, LW, NYI – One thing’s for sure – either Tambellini or Matt Moulson is going to stick on the John Tavares–Kyle Okposo line, and that player will be sure to get his share of points here and there. The problem is I, and likely the Islanders’ coaching staff, don’t know which player that’s going to be yet. Both players have excelled in the minors but have yet to make a consistent impact at the NHL level, so look for them to battle for top line duty and power play minutes over the next month.
Sam Gagner, C, EDM – He’s been held pointless through his last 5 games with a demotion from the top line, where he had achieved early success centering Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky. With Horcoff struggling as the new first line center, coach Pat Quinn could reunite the trio soon. Keep an eye on the Oilers’ depth chart.
Lee Stempniak, RW, TOR – You can count the number of compliments Ron Wilson has given his team on one hand this season, but at least a couple of them have been directed at Stempniak, and he’s been moved from the third to first line as a result of his encouraging efforts. Owned in just 5% of leagues, take a chance on the former 27 goal scorer if you’re strapped for offense.
Patrick Marleau, LW, SJ – Call me crazy for deeming a current 21 point player expendable, but consider this your first warning – the slump(s) is/are coming. Marleau has frustrated owners with his inconsistencies year in and year out, and what better time to trade him than when his value is greatest? See if you can deal him one-for-one to a Ryan Getzlaf or Zach Parise owner.
Steven Reinprecht, C, FLA – This has been one of the biggest pool adds of the past week, but don’t expect his current pace to continue (11 points in 12 games). This is his 10th NHL season and his best campaign was 52 points back in 2005-06.