The injuries are beginning to pile up for the Montreal Canadiens and their fantasy-relevant skaters.
With centers Alex Galchenyuk and Andrew Shaw and defenseman Andrei Markov already sidelined, right wing Brendan Gallagher (55 percent owned) has had surgery to repair his fractured left hand and is expected to miss eight weeks. Galchenyuk and Markov returned to Canadiens practice Friday, but were wearing non-contact jerseys.
Gallagher, 116th in Yahoo's performance-based rankings despite an abnormally low shooting percentage (5.4; six goals on 112 shots on goal), had been bumped up to the first power-play unit of late with forwards Max Pacioretty and Alexander Radulov and defensemen Shea Weber and Nathan Beaulieu. Now, Montreal coach Michel Therrien has to go back to the drawing board.
Read: Brendan Gallagher of Canadiens out at least 8 weeks
Forward Tomas Plekanec (C, 12 percent owned) is the likely replacement on that first unit until Galchenyuk, Shaw or David Desharnais returns. That said, Plekanec is hardly an appealing fantasy option in the midst of a six-game point drought with five SOG in the span.
That means fantasy owners in most leagues need to look outside the Canadiens roster for a right wing replacement:
Viktor Arvidsson, LW/RW, NSH (46 percent owned): Arvidsson is the highest-ranked right wing based on performance still owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. He has snapped out of his recent slump with points in two of his past three games, including an assist in the Nashville Predators 6-1 win at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. He has risen above the Predators' constant line juggling by scoring at least one point in 19 of 38 games (tied for most on team), and plays on the second power-play unit with Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro.
Video: NSH@STL: Arvidsson dances around Blues and scores
Anthony Mantha, LW/RW, DET (32 percent): Mantha led our list of fantasy sleepers for 2017 and waiver-wire watch, but his ownership spike has settled down in recent days. He warrants ownership in all formats after another multipoint outing Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings. That gives him 11 points, a plus-9 and 21 SOG in his past eight games playing on the first line with Henrik Zetterberg. Thomas Vanek (LW/RW, 32 percent owned) is another consistent Red Wings point producer, scoring 14 points (two power-play points) with 53 SOG in his past 17 games.
Sam Reinhart, C/RW, BUF (28 percent): Reinhart's seven-game point streak ended Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks, but he has shaken off a slow start with 16 points (six PPP) in his past 20 games. He centered Evander Kane on Thursday and remains on the first power-play unit with Jack Eichel, Rasmus Ristolainen, Kyle Okposo and Ryan O'Reilly. If Reinhart is already owned and you're desperate for power-play production, Matt Moulson (LW/RW, 7 percent owned) has scored 12 of his 16 points with the man-advantage.
Jason Zucker, LW/RW, MIN (24 percent): Zucker, among the top 100 overall fantasy assets to this point in the season (95th in Yahoo), is tied for 14th in points per 60 minutes (2.88; minimum 35 games). He's playing on a line with surging Minnesota Wild forwards Mikael Granlund and Mikko Koivu, and deserves more fantasy respect than his current ownership suggests. Zucker has at least a point in four of his past six games (two multipoint outings in span) and is tied for the second-best plus/minus in the NHL (plus-23) behind teammate Ryan Suter (plus-25).
Video: CBJ@MIN: Zucker lifts slick backhand off iron and in
Sebastian Aho (LW/RW; 21 percent) or Teuvo Teravainen (C/LW/RW; 17), CAR: Aho and Teravainen were highlighted as one of the NHL's most underrated point pairs in our latest top 100 forward rankings, and each remains a high-upside injury replacement option with the Carolina Hurricanes in Stanley Cup Playoff contention.
Others to consider: Conor Sheary (LW/RW, PIT - 25 percent), Josh Bailey (LW/RW, NYI - 8 percent), Connor Brown (RW, TOR - 5 percent), Kris Versteeg (LW/RW, 4 percent), Timo Meier (LW/RW, SJS - 2 percent)