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Fantasy buzz: Impact of Hornqvist injury on Penguins

Rust, Guentzel eye first power-play spot; Wilson of Capitals among outside replacements; Scheifele nearing return for Jets

by Rob Reese @NHLReese / NHL.com Fantasy Editor

All season long, NHL.com's fantasy hockey staff will have you covered with daily lineup news, production trends and injury notes from around the League. We will identify how these developments affect fantasy owners in year-long (Yahoo) and daily (DraftKings) formats.

 

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: Top 100 forward rankings | Daily projected lineups

 

Hornqvist injury opens up spot on Penguins' first power-play unit

Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Patric Hornqvist is week to week with a lower-body injury. Hornqvist (72nd in Yahoo) has provided strong category coverage with 31 points (16 goals, 15 assists), 15 power-play points and 156 shots on goal through 49 games and with added value in hits leagues (96). Most recently, Hornqvist played on the Penguins second line with elite center Evgeni Malkin (3rd in Yahoo) and left wing Carl Hagelin. Tom Kuhnhackl (LW/RW, fewer than 1 percent) is expected to replace Hornqvist on the second line at even strength. 

Hornqvist was a part of the Penguins' first power-play unit with Malkin, Phil Kessel (2nd in Yahoo), Sidney Crosby (10th) and defenseman Kris Letang (91st); Pittsburgh ranks first in power-play percentage (27.6). Wing Bryan Rust (LW/RW; 7 percent), who was recently promoted to Crosby's line after Conor Sheary's injury, also skated in Hornqvist's first power-play spot against the Devils on Saturday. Other candidates to see first power-play usage are forward Jake Guentzel (C/LW; 59 percent), who has 10 PPP, or defenseman Justin Schultz (53 percent).

Video: WSH@PIT: Hornqvist finishes passing sequence for PPG

The Penguins have a tough home matchup against their former goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SN1, SNE, SNO, ATTSN-PT, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV), but Rust ($3,900 in DraftKings) and Guentzel ($3,800) are attractive value picks for 11-game DFS contests.

Fantasy owners looking for an outside replacement should consider streaming Washington Capitals wing Tom Wilson (LW/RW; 34 percent), who's ranked higher than Hornqvist in Yahoo (63rd). Wilson has provided category coverage with 21 points (six goals, 15 assists), 139 hits, 120 penalty minutes and 71 SOG through 48 games. He has played on a line with elite left wing Alex Ovechkin (5th in Yahoo) for most of the season and skated with Ovechkin and center Nicklas Backstrom (118th) at practice Tuesday. The Washington Capitals have eight games from Feb. 6-20, making Wilson a viable replacement.

Another low-ownership wing to consider is Kevin Fiala (LW/RW; 26 percent) of the Nashville Predators. He has four goals in his past two games and is skating on the second line with center Kyle Turris and right wing Craig Smith. Four of Nashville's next seven games are against non-contenders.

 

[ READ: Fantasy top 10 waiver wire pickups for Week 17 ]

 

Scheifele won't play Tuesday, but nearing return for Jets

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele participated in his first full-contact practice Monday since sustaining an upper-body injury Dec. 27. Scheifele (131st in Yahoo) will miss his 16th-straight game against the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday, but could return against the St. Louis Blues on Friday

In Scheifele's absence, Blake Wheeler (C/RW; 9th in Yahoo) has moved to center on the Jets top line and earned dual eligibility. The Jets will continue playing Scheifele at center upon his return, but it's unknown whether Wheeler will shift back to right wing.

If Scheifele and Wheeler play center, it would boost the value of right wing Patrik Laine (40th in Yahoo) and likely hurt the stock of center Bryan Little (27 percent). Depending on how things shake out, Mathieu Perreault (C/LW, 29 percent), Kyle Connor (LW; 15 percent) and/or Jack Roslovic (C, 1 percent) could gain value. The Jets have seven games remaining on their current 10-game homestand.

For now, with Scheifele out again Tuesday, Winnipeg's forward group presents favorable DFS stacking options against the Coyotes, who have been outscored 95-63 in 27 road games. Roslovic (W, $4,700) can offset the high price of Wheeler (C, $7,400) or Laine (W, $7,300), and Perreault (W, $5,400) or Little (C, $5,000) can be easily rostered along with Nikolaj Ehlers (W, $6,500).

 

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