Choosing Dallas Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin in fantasy drafts came with a big risk, but Yahoo owners selected the 10th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft in 48 percent of leagues despite hip and groin problems that hampered the 19-year-old since training camp.
Now that Nichushkin will have hip surgery and is expected to miss four months, fantasy owners must find a long-term replacement for a player that NHL.com fantasy insider Matt Cubeta named his top sleeper pick this season.
Whether in a deeper league or one with 12 teams or fewer, the following forwards should help strengthen your lineup as replacements for Nichushkin, who had no points and two shots on goal in four games this season:
Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, Montreal Canadiens (owned in 27 percent of Yahoo leagues) --
Right Wing - MTL
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 9
SOG: 36 | +/-: 0
In a shallow league there is a good chance you can pick up this top-line right wing. Playing alongside forwards Max Pacioretty
and David Desharnais
, Parenteau has five goals and nine points in 18 games this season. Parenteau has been hot lately with three goals and one assist in the past five games.
Seth Griffith, Boston Bruins (owned in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues) -- Take a chance on Griffith, a rookie who is eligible at center and right wing. The 21-year old was seeing minutes alongside fantasy stalwart David Krejci earlier this season. Now he's on a line with Milan Lucic and Chris Kelly since Krejci has missed four straight games with an undisclosed injury. With five goals and seven points in 15 games this season, Griffith could be the sleeper pick that Nichushkin could have been.
Ryan Strome and Nikolay Kulemin, New York Islanders (owned in 9 percent and 3 percent of Yahoo leagues, respectively) -- The Islanders are one of the surprises of the early season, so grabbing Strome or Kulemin should help get your team on the right track. Strome, eligible at center and right wing, has been solid in his second NHL season, totaling nine assists and 11 points and 14 penalty minutes on a line with Brock Nelson and Anders Lee. Kulemin has fit nicely on the top line with superstar center John Tavares and forward Kyle Okposo and can help boost fantasy lineups with his three goals, nine points, plus-2 rating and 15 penalty minutes.
Elias Lindholm (owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues) -- Although it was revealed Friday that Lindholm has been dealing with an injured foot, the center and right wing-eligible Lindholm has not missed a beat, with six goals and nine points and four power-play points in 16 games. The time to grab Lindholm is now as he has been one of the hottest players in the NHL recently with six goals and two assists in the past eight games.