Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane, another irreplaceable fantasy asset, is out for the season because of an upper-body injury. That means fantasy owners in the midst of their league championship round need to go back to the well for reinforcement.
Kane, 102nd in Yahoo's performance-based rankings, has been among Buffalo's top-six forward group all season and is one of two players League-wide (Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals) with at least 20 goals, 250 shots on goal and 150 hits. If your league counts penalty minutes, the Sabres left wing covered that as well (91 this season), making him even more difficult to replace.
Your strategy to fill in for Kane should depend on your specific category needs and league format. Other factors in choosing a LW-eligible forward off the waiver wire should be the categories in which you're trailing and your championship round structure; you either have four days left if scoring ends this week, or 11 days left if it ends April 10 (final day of regular season).
-- The viable in-house option who can benefit from Kane's absence is Sam Reinhart (C, 8 percent owned), who has 12 points in 14 games this month mostly alongside fellow rookie Jack Eichel, and now gets to play with Ryan O'Reilly as well. Buffalo has five games remaining, two of which are this week.
Video: WPG@BUF: Eichel beats Hutchinson for the lead
-- Shallow-league owners should take note of two undervalued LW-eligible players based on their performance this season: Reilly Smith of the Florida Panthers and Tomas Hertl of the San Jose Sharks. Each top-six forward is readily available in Yahoo, has strong linemates and is ranked among the top 115 players (Smith: 99th, 38 percent owned; Hertl: 111th, 42 percent owned). The Panthers have six games left (two this week); the Sharks have five remaining (two this week).
-- If you're desperate for category coverage, take a look at Justin Abdelkader (LW/RW, 104th, 41 percent owned) of the Detroit Red Wings, Brandon Dubinsky (C/LW, 178th, 30 percent owned) of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Anders Lee (C/LW, 166th, 24 percent owned) of the New York Islanders. Each gets involved offensively and touches on hits, PIMs, PPP and SOG. Unlike Lee (34 points), Dubinsky (44) and Abdelkader (41) have exceeded 40 points, but Lee has the most games remaining (seven).
-- The Ducks have six games remaining (tied for second-most in NHL), so any of their available top-nine left wings are fair game for spot starts in fantasy. Jakob Silfverberg (LW/RW, 41 percent owned) and Andrew Cogliano (C/LW/RW, 3 percent owned) have been fixtures on Ryan Kesler's line. With Rickard Rakell (illness) out Wednesday, red-hot Jamie McGinn (LW/RW, 35 percent owned) was the third wheel with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, and Brandon Pirri (C/LW/RW, 13 percent owned) was alongside category cog Chris Stewart (LW/RW, ANA, 2 percent owned) on the third line.
Video: ANA@MTL: Silfverberg slams home two against Canadiens
-- If McGinn is already owned and you're looking to ride the hot hand, Mikkel Boedker (LW/RW, 25 percent owned) of the Colorado Avalanche and Carl Hagelin (LW, 27 percent owned) of the Pittsburgh Penguins can help. Each has excelled with his new team following a trade: Boedker has points in seven of his past nine games and 10 in 13 games since joining the Avalanche, and Hagelin has a three-game point streak and 22 points in 31 games with the Penguins. Boedker carries dual eligibility, giving him added appeal.
-- One other intriguing option for deep-league owners is Patrick Maroon (LW, 8 percent owned) of the Edmonton Oilers. Though the Oilers have three games remaining this season, that's the only downside in adding Maroon. He has 11 points (three PPP), 34 PIMs, 29 SOG, and 33 hits in 13 games since the trade from Anaheim to Edmonton. Maroon had experience playing alongside Getzlaf and Perry in Anaheim and has secured a spot alongside Connor McDavid and Jordan Eberle. His coverage and surprising point production make him a must-add player in leagues without a cap on roster moves.