Fantasy owners of New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane got some unfortunate news Friday.
Lundqvist, NHL.com's third-ranked fantasy goalie, sustained a vascular injury last weekend and will be sidelined for at least three weeks.
Kane, NHL.com's 78th-ranked forward, needs shoulder surgery and will miss 4-6 months, likely ending his season. An inconsistent scorer but valuable asset in terms of shots on goal, penalty minutes and hits, Kane is already listed on injured reserve in Yahoo leagues. If you're in a non-keeper league and don't have an IR spot for Kane, it's safe to drop him given the lengthy timetable.
Time is of the essence, so let's get right to some injury replacement options for each player.
If available, Cam Talbot (22 percent owned in Yahoo) is the obvious fill-in. He's proven to be one of the League's most reliable backups over the past two seasons and will have every opportunity to take over the No. 1 gig. With 17 wins, six shutouts and strong peripheral numbers through 33 career NHL games, Talbot appears capable of carrying the torch while Lundqvist is out.
For those in shallow formats, Devan Dubnyk (55 percent) of the Minnesota Wild and Petr Mrazek (42 percent) of the Detroit Red Wings are other viable pickups. Each is red-hot and has emerged as a fantasy commodity in recent weeks -- Dubnyk after a trade from the Arizona Coyotes and Mrazek in the absence of All-Star goalie Jimmy Howard. Dubnyk has more staying power down the stretch, but either would be a perfect option for owners in small formats.
If you're in a deep league, don't hesitate to add Tampa Bay Lightning backup Andrei Vasilevskiy (11 percent), who defeated the Dallas Stars on Thursday and has 137 saves on 147 shots this season, a .932 save percentage. With the Lightning likely to rest starter Ben Bishop more often in the coming months leading up to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after his late-season injury in 2013-14, adding the young phenom in fantasy is an absolute no-brainer.
The key to replacing Kane is identifying dual-eligible players who cover similar categories.
Mathieu Perreault (LW/C, 32 percent), Kane's teammate, has cooled off scoring-wise, but recently gained dual eligibility in Yahoo leagues. He has 34 penalty minutes (PIMs), 10 power-play points (PPP) and 107 shots on goal (SOG) on the season. Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader (LW/RW, 30 percent), who scored a power-play goal Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche, also has multiposition eligibility, an important role with the man advantage and respectable coverage across the board.
Shane Doan (LW/RW, 23 percent) covers points, PIMs, SOG and hits despite playing for the Coyotes, who are out of the Western Conference postseason picture. He's likely to stay put in the desert at the NHL Trade Deadline, but has been a steady coverage guy in recent seasons. He's even a plus-4 since Jan. 18, making him less of a liability in that category.
For deep-league owners, Erik Cole (LW/RW, six percent) of the Dallas Stars and Anders Lee (C/LW, five percent) of the New York Islanders make a lot of sense. Cole is playing on the Stars second line alongside Jason Spezza, while Lee has seen some top-line action alongside John Tavares in Kyle Okposo's absence. Neither of these players touches on PIMs too often, but Lee is a potent goal-scorer who adds SOG and hits to the equation, while Cole is a more balanced point producer who also collects hits.