Where do fantasy owners of Steven Stamkos go from here?
Stamkos, out indefinitely after sustaining a broken leg Monday, has more goals (222) than any other player since he entered the League in 2008-09. At 23, he's played in 390 of a possible 393 games over five-plus NHL seasons, racking up 409 points along the way.
He's one of the game's elite, but likely won't be paying dividends for fantasy teams for an extended period of time.
But though it may seem virtually impossible to replace his presence in your lineups, fantasy championships are not won by a single player. Thus, owners must explore center-eligible options on the waiver wire to help keep their teams afloat.
For now, there's no reason to drop Stamkos until we know more about his injury timetable following surgery. Stash him on injured reserve once your league provider enables you to do so.
As far as your replacement options, consider one of the following players based on the size and category format of your fantasy league:
Center - COL
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 13
SOG: 28 | +/-: 11
Paul Stastny (C, Colorado Avalanche)
Yahoo ownership: 60 percent
Stastny, a three-time 70-point producer, is an undervalued option for fantasy owners in shallow leagues. He appears revitalized alongside Gabriel Landeskog as the Colorado Avalanche's second-line center and deserves to be taken seriously again in all leagues. He has at least a point in eight of his past 10 games and sports a plus-11 rating this season.
Valtteri Filppula (C/LW, Tampa Bay Lightning)
Yahoo ownership: 38 percent
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has indicated that his team will look to in-house options to fill the void of Stamkos, meaning Filppula is a leading candidate to take on top-line center duties. Expect his power-play role (2:54 PP TOI per game, 5 PPP) to expand and his fantasy ownership to skyrocket.
Center - TBL
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 12
SOG: 24 | +/-: 2
Tommy Wingels (C/RW, San Jose Sharks)
Yahoo ownership: 31 percent
Wingels is riding the longest point streak of his career (six games) and has been a six-tool asset to this point (goals, assists, rating, PIMs, shots, hits). His opportunistic style of play bodes well for his value even when Brent Burns returns to the lineup, as the 25-year-old has proved he can contribute no matter where he fits into the top-nine forward picture.
Mathieu Perreault (C, Anaheim Ducks)
Yahoo ownership: 21 percent
When the Washington Capitals shipped Perreault to Anaheim in September, he was considered a fantasy afterthought -- or so we thought. Instead, he's the Ducks' third leading scorer (14 points in 18 games), behind only Ryan Getzlaf (22) and Corey Perry (21). Owners are beginning to take him seriously, as he's on pace to shatter his career-high in points (30 in 2011-12).
Center - CHI
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 11
SOG: 35 | +/-: 6
Andrew Shaw (C, Chicago Blackhawks)
Yahoo ownership: 14 percent
Shaw is seeing more power-play ice time (2:25 per game) than Marian Hossa (2:15) and can give deep-league squads a lift in points (11 in 18 games), shots on goal (35) and hits (51). He may be Chicago's third-line center, but this gritty forward has still found a way to burst onto the fantasy scene for the defending champs.