Injuries have plagued the fantasy world lately and some of the biggest names currently are out of action.
Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin missed the past two games with a lower-body injury, but could return to the lineup Monday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, is expected to miss the next 4-5 weeks with a strained groin, and the Detroit Red Wings are without Pavel Datsyuk (concussion) and Henrik Zetterberg (back).
Recent additions to the list of injured players has been Philadelphia Flyers center Vincent Lecavalier (back), Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (lower body), Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler (lower body) and Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak (oblique).
What does this mean for your team? If you are dealing with these injuries, look for the players featured below in our waiver-wire watch to step up.
Gustav Nyquist (owned in 13 percent of Yahoo Leagues) -- The fantasy world was waiting for Detroit to recall Nyquist, and ever since he arrived in Detroit on Nov. 21, the 24-year-old has been producing for the depleted Red Wings. In three games without Datsyuk and Zetterberg, Nyquist, who has center eligibility in Yahoo leagues, has played about 18 minutes a game. The Red Wings have four games scheduled this week and Nyquist, who has points in five of his 10 games, is a perfect filler for an injured scorer.
Andrej Sekera (owned in 21 percent of Yahoo Leagues) -- The 27-year-old is having a career season offensively, his first with the Carolina Hurricanes. Traded from the Buffalo Sabres in June for Jamie McBain and a draft pick, Sekera is on a four-game point streak, a span that has seen him total five points and a plus-6 during. The Hurricanes have a busy week with four games on the West Coast, and the Sekera who is 13 points away from matching his career-high, will continue this offensive ascension.
Curtis McElhinney (owned in 15 percent of Yahoo Leagues) -- His first game in place of Bobrovsky was no problem as the 30-year-old stopped all 20 shots for his third career NHL shutout and first since Feb. 5, 2011. McElhinney, who has played in 78 NHL games with five teams in eight seasons, now has his shot to be the No. 1 goalie in Columbus. The Blue Jackets have four games this week with three against division opponents. We'll know at the end of the week what to expect from the Blue Jackets' new starter.
Division killer -- Sidney Crosby last week scored his sixth career game-winning goals and 80th career point against the New York Islanders, and now leads the League with 17 points against division opponents. With the schedule weighted to provide more divisional games this season, keep an eye on the schedule and who has done well against their divisional opponents. This week the Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets play all three of their games against division opponents. The Stars' Tyler Seguin (nine division points), and the trio of Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler and Dustin Byfuglien (10 division points), are players to watch.
We're going streaking -- Nothing is better than when your fantasy player goes on an extended point-scoring streak to consistently put up points for your team. This season's longest goal-scoring streaks are owned by St. Louis Blues center Alexander Steen and Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos, who had six-game goal streaks in October. The longest assists streak this season is Malkin's nine-game run from the end of November to early December. The longest point streak was Steen's 13-game run from Oct. 17 to Nov. 16. The longest current point streak belongs to Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, who enters the week with points in his past 13 games.
Valeri Nichushkin -- The 10th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft is starting to hit his stride. After only getting two points in his first month in the League, the Russian forward has 13 points in his past 16 games while being a plus-18 with 32 shots on goal. The 6-foot-4 forward is owned in 9 percent of Yahoo leagues but is getting playing time on the top line, along with Seguin and Jamie Benn. The 18-year-old took some time to get used to North American hockey, but as the season goes on and he grows into his role with the Stars, he should be a fantasy sleeper for the rest of the season.
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