The next few weeks will be tough sledding for fantasy owners of Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg.
With news surfacing Tuesday that Zetterberg is expected to miss a minimum of two weeks due to a herniated disc, those who own this top-10 fantasy forward are mulling their next move.
Left Wing - DET
GOALS: 11 | ASST: 19 | PTS: 30
SOG: 99 | +/-: 12
Zetterberg has been centering the team's top line of late with Pavel Datsyuk
(upper-body injury) out of the lineup since Nov. 23. He doesn't touch on penalty minutes very often, but this veteran covers nearly every other major category -- making him among the more indispensable players League-wide in both fantasy and reality.
Of the seven players with 30-plus points this season, only Zetterberg has mustered a plus-10 or better rating with 90-plus shots on goal. His point production on the power play (11) is tied for 12th in the NHL, and his consistency over the years gives fantasy owners a peace of mind whenever he's in the lineup.
Unfortunately, it's time to stash him on injured reserve once your league allows you to do so. Depending on your league provider, Zetterberg is eligible at center and/or left wing, so here are two flexible injury replacement options:
Gustav Nyquist, Detroit Red Wings (C/RW, 13 percent owned)
Nyquist, who showed flashes of promise during the Red Wings' 2013 Stanley Cup Playoff run, was recalled from the team's American Hockey League affiliate on Nov. 21. He was among the AHL points leaders and has returned to the NHL level as a more seasoned producer. Skating mostly alongside Zetterberg and Johan Franzen, this 24-year-old has four goals, an assist, a plus-3 rating and 14 shots on goal in six games this season. While Datsyuk and Zetterberg work their way back from injuries, Nyquist could push for a permanent spot with the big club.
Jaden Schwartz, St. Louis Blues (C/LW, 14 percent owned)
Schwartz is picking up steam with a career-high seven-game point streak (three goals, five assists) on the Blues' second line. He contributes from time to time on the power play (1:03 power-play time on ice per game, 3 power-play points) and is averaging nearly two shots per contest (51 shots on goal in 26 games) to go along with 13 penalty minutes. His team goals differential is efficient as well, as Schwartz has been on the ice for 24 goals for and 13 allowed this season. Taking a flyer on a dual-eligible, top-six forward who plays for an elite Western Conference team is definitely in your best interest if your team just took a hit with the Zetterberg injury.