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Fantasy buzz: Impact of Hedman injury on Lightning

Sergachev, Stralman gain value with elite defenseman out 3-6 weeks

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior 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.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman sustained a lower-body injury against the Calgary Flames on Thursday and is expected to miss 3-6 weeks.

Hedman (15th overall in Yahoo) has been the most valuable fantasy defenseman based on standard-category performance. He leads the League in plus/minus (plus-24) and has covered all six standard categories well with even-strength and power-play exposure to elite forwards Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.

 

[RELATED: Hedman out 3-6 weeks for Lightning]

 

The absence of Hedman presents an opportunity for rookie Mikhail Sergachev (84 percent owned; 79th in Yahoo) to run the first power-play unit with Kucherov and Stamkos and see a significant uptick in overall ice time (15:41 per game).

Sergachev, who was acquired by the Lightning from the Montreal Canadiens for forward Jonathan Drouin on Jun. 15, ranks third among defensemen in points per 60 minutes (2.26; minimum 20 games) behind Shayne Gostisbehere (PHI; 2.36) and John Klingberg (DAL; 2.33). Sergachev could end up being a top 10 fantasy defenseman for the rest of the season after the Hedman injury.

There's also a chance veteran defenseman Anton Stralman (18 percent owned; 258th in Yahoo) could assume first power-play duties considering he frequently played on the first power-play unit in his first two seasons with Tampa Bay prior to Hedman's full-fledged breakout last season. Stralman had at least 30 points and 10 power-play points in 2014-15 (39 points, 14 PPP) and 2015-16 (34 points, 12 PPP) before taking a back seat to Hedman last season. Stralman (21:00 per game) will likely see usage similar to Hedman (25:36, 8th in NHL) with the latter sidelined.

Video: TBL@COL: Sergachev gets friendly bounce off skate

The Lightning are in the midst of a six-day break and do not play again until they host the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.

If Sergachev and Stralman are already owned, fantasy owners should look at Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Jordan Oesterle (26 percent) as the next-best replacement for Hedman. Oesterle has seven points (three goals, four assists), a plus-5, two PPP and 17 shots on goal over his past seven games, averaging 24:35 per game on the top pair and first power-play unit with Duncan Keith. Oesterle, 25, played a season-high 26:03 against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday.

Other readily available defensemen with power-play usage include Jared Spurgeon (MIN; 50 percent), Cam Fowler (ANA, 49 percent), Esa Lindell (DAL; 14 percent) and Thomas Chabot (OTT, 4 percent). Fantasy owners can also target buy-low defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen (BUF, 293rd in Yahoo), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (ARI, 423rd), Justin Faulk (CAR, 248th), Justin Schultz (PIT, 494th) or Oscar Klefbom (EDM, 371st) via trade.

READ: Fantasy top 50 defenseman rankings

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