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Fantasy All-Access: Don't panic due to early injuries

by Matt Sitkoff

Every Monday during the season, fantasy hockey contributor Matt Sitkoff will provide you with fantasy hockey advice in his weekly segment: "Fantasy All-Acces." From the waiver wire watch to roster trends and prospect rumblings, Sitkoff is here to help you all season long.


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One week (and a day) down, and we have already seen some big name fantasy contributors head to the IR from top category hog Scott Hartnell, consistent performer Patric Hornqvist and top-flight scorers Max Pacioretty and Joffrey Lupul. We are here to remind you, just like the eighth-seeded Kings' run toward Lord Stanley, get to the dance and anything can happen.

Don't panic with such big injuries, just find some great replacements that hit similar categories as the departed. Even better, try to scout out categories you are barely losing out on and target players that are exceling in that department.


Kyle Turris (owned in 22 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) -- We all have been waiting for the No. 3 pick in the 2007 NHL Draft to break out in both fantasy and reality. A change of scenery has done that, as the 23-year-old has 16 goals and 34 points in 54 games played in Ottawa. The center has instant chemistry with Daniel Alfredsson and is playing in all situations for the Sens, averaging 1:38 PP TOI and 2:05 SH TOI. Turris has four games this week (WSH, MTL, @CAR, @MTL), and with two of them against the defensively-challenged Capitals and Hurricanes, expect a continued spike in his production.

Victor Hedman
Defense - TBL
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 3
SOG: 8 | +/-: 7
Victor Hedman (owned in 21 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) -- The big d-man that was selected second in 2009, after John Tavares, is finally hitting his stride. The 6-foot-6 Swedish defenseman is not only finding the score sheet (2G, 3 PTS) but also playing some great two-way hockey (plus-7). We started seeing the turnaround late last season, as Hedman finished with 17 points in his last 28 games including the ever-needed 37 PIMs. Tampa has three home games this week (FLA, WPG, NYR), with two of them being against teams in the lower half of scoring.

Sergei Bobrovsky (owned in 34 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) -- I will go into detail later on why this move is an important one going forward as I break down the goalie play in the first week. Back to the Columbus netminder -- yes, he has only one win in four starts this year, but the key is he has started three of his first five games since joining the Blue Jackets. Steve Mason has helped out Bobrovsky owners, and soon-to-be owners, by giving up eight goals in his two starts. The Blue Jackets are giving up the sixth-most shots (34.0 per game), and Bob has had a respectable .913 save percentage. They start the week off with a back-to-back (DAL, @MIN) and end the week with two division matchups (STL, DET); look for Bobrovsky to start three or even all four of those games.


Goalie Starts Breakdown -- Goalies make up half of the stats in a fantasy season and can make or break you. With that in mind, always check's Fantasy goalie rankings each week. I have spent extra time examining the breakdown of starts this season. So far, in the 139 goalie starts we have had 11 goalies play in back-to-back games. No surprise that Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers leads the list with two starts already on consecutive days. The Rangers are one of nine teams that have employed only one starting goalie this season. This week, 21 of the 30 teams play in back-to-back situations. The Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens actually have two back-to-back scenarios in their four games played this week. We will continue to monitor the trends of how coaches approach the back-to-backs. Make sure you are following @NHLFantasy to keep up to date.

Zack Kassian
Right Wing - VAN
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 3
SOG: 12 | +/-: -1
New Top Liners -- Every fantasy owner knows who the Sedins are, but now also know Alexandre Burrows all because he plays with the point-producing Swedish twins. The Canucks now have a new top linemate for the twins in Zack Kassian. Some other new names on top lines that should be on your radar are the Ducks' Kyle Palmeri, the Sabres' Cody Hodgson, the Blackhawks' Brandon Saad, the Devils' Jacob Josefson, the Flyers' Wayne Simmonds, and the Maple Leafs' Clarke MacArthur. Keep an eye on if these players continue to see top-line minutes as the season goes on; if so, they could be the next Alexandre Burrows.


Dougie Hamilton -- The ninth pick in the 2011 NHL Draft has three points in his last two games with the Bruins and should be no surprise to fantasy owners. The 19-year-old is playing with Zdeno Chara and has played 18:03 TOI per game. He is making his mark on the power play as the second d-man over the boards for the Bruins, playing 13:18 of the 39:09 power-play minutes by defensemen. The reigning CHL defenseman of the year had 187 career points in 213 games for the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL, and was an astonishing plus-88. The final piece of the Phil Kessel trade will be a big fantasy factor for years to come just like the first piece, Tyler Seguin.


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