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Fantasy impact: Johnny Gaudreau's injury

Flames forward will miss time with broken finger; plenty of high-upside replacements

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

Fantasy owners hoping for Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau to turn his season around will have to wait even longer after the forward sustained a fractured finger Tuesday. He will need surgery.

Gaudreau, who tied for sixth in the NHL in scoring last season with 78 points in 79 games, started slow this season with 11 points and a minus-10 rating in 17 games. This news is devastating to the already underachieving Flames, and will force fantasy owners to seek an outside replacement option.

Read: Johnny Gaudreau to have surgery on broken finger

Luckily, fantasy owners in all league shapes and sizes have plenty of options to work with on the waiver wire to replace Gaudreau, who was taken on average with the ninth pick in drafts this fall.

The only in-house fantasy option worth considering in deep leagues is rookie Matthew Tkachuk (LW, 11 percent owned), who has six points, is a plus-3 and has 24 shots on goal in 13 games. He could see action on the top line and/or first power-play unit alongside Sean Monahan in Gaudreau's absence.

Taylor Hall of the New Jersey Devils is another left wing dealing with injury; he's expected to miss 3-4 weeks because of a left knee injury. With Michael Cammalleri also out for personal reasons, the Devils offense is not a direction most fantasy owners would feel comfortable turning to at this time. 

 

SHALLOW LEAGUES:

J.T. Miller, C/LW/RW, NYR (74 percent owned): Miller is among the top 20 fantasy assets based on standard-category performance, and he has rare tri-eligibility in Yahoo leagues. With Chris Kreider injured, he's been bumped up to the New York Rangers' top six alongside Mika Zibanejad and Mats Zuccarello and is tied for the best plus/minus (plus-16) in the NHL. Most of his production (15 of 17 points in 17 games) has come at even strength, but the fact that he's still available in more than one-quarter of leagues is alarming.

Video: NYR@VAN: Miller nets redirect between his legs

Nick Foligno, LW/RW, CBJ (69 percent owned): Foligno has 16 points in 14 games, with seven coming on the power play. He had 73 points in 2014-15 and looks rejuvenated in a top-six, first power-play role for the surprising Columbus Blue Jackets. Foligno is especially valuable in leagues that count hits; he has 21 in 14 games and has had 150 or more in each of the prior three seasons.

Jonathan Drouin, LW/RW, TBL (68 percent owned): Drouin came into the season on a high note after a strong performance in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but an upper-body injury has dampened the fantasy hype. That said, he could be nearing a return at the right time for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who lost Steven Stamkos to a lower-body injury Tuesday. Three of Drouin's five points in 10 games this season have come on the power play mostly alongside Nikita Kucherov, so he's a must-add player if someone in your league has cut ties.

Nikolaj Ehlers, LW/RW, WPG (63 percent owned): Three of the hottest scorers in the NHL during the past 10 days are Mark Scheifele (nine points in six games), Ehlers (eight points) and Patrik Laine (seven points) of the Winnipeg Jets. Ehlers, who is back on the Jets' top line with Scheifele and Laine, has jumped nearly 30 percent in ownership during the past week. He may still be available in some shallow leagues, but he won't be for long if he keeps up this torrid point pace.

Antoine Roussel, LW, DAL (41 percent owned): If you're in need of some help on the penalty minutes front, Roussel has combined points and PIMs like no other player thus far. He leads the NHL with 54 PIMs in 17 games, and is also taking advantage of the Dallas Stars' injury situation with a seven-game point streak (three goals, six assists). He has three PPP in the span, though his performance in that category is likely to take a hit once Patrick Sharp and Jiri Hudler return. But he's still been a pleasant surprise among the top 15 standard-league fantasy assets.

Video: DAL@VAN: Roussel put Stars ahead with rebound goal

 

DEEPER LEAGUES:

Robby Fabbri, C/LW, STL (30 percent owned): Fabbri, another standout from last postseason, started even slower than Drouin but is beginning to find his groove and earn proper usage again for the St. Louis Blues. He was moved down in the lineup and then scratched Nov. 10, but has responded with three goals, all on the power play, and five SOG in his past two games. The breakout candidate is playing alongside Vladimir Tarasenko on the top line and first power-play unit, so Fabbri should be added promptly if he's available in your league.

Rickard Rakell, C/LW, ANA (27 percent owned): Rakell's ownership has been stagnant even though he has eight points in as many games with two PPP, 22 SOG and 17 hits. The concern is that he's playing alongside Antoine Vermette on the Anaheim Ducks' third line at the moment, but he's still seeing second-unit power-play time (2:14 per game). Teammate Nick Ritchie (LW, 8 percent owned) has been scoring goals on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, but don't be surprised to see Rakell back with Perry, his linemate from last season, somewhere down the line.

Video: ARI@ANA: Rakell jams one in, extends Ducks' lead

Patrick Maroon, LW, EDM (26 percent owned): Maroon has supplanted Milan Lucic on the left side of a line centered by Connor McDavid, and he's been extremely impressive since the move. Maroon has seven points in his past seven games and at least three SOG in each of his past five. Most of his production has come at even strength, but it's hard to ignore his totals with Edmonton during the past season and change: he has 23 points in 33 games, playing mostly alongside McDavid.

Teuvo Teravainen, LW/RW (15 percent owned) or Sebastian Aho, LW/RW, CAR (19 percent owned): The line of Teravainen, Aho and Jordan Staal has been a possession beast in recent games. Aho has two goals, two assists and eight SOG in his past three games, and Teravainen has worked hand-in-hand, producing five points (one PPP) and 12 SOG in the span. The Carolina Hurricanes are a top-five team in terms of shot attempts percentage at 5-on-5 (53.7 percent), and their dominance on that front is finally translating for this trio. Aho is tied for fifth among rookies in assists (seven) and could be even better if his low shooting percentage (6.3) improves.

Conor Sheary PIT, LW/RW, PIT (10 percent owned): Sidney Crosby's scorching start after returning from a concussion has come mostly while playing with Sheary and Patric Hornqvist. The Pittsburgh Penguins' power-play picture is too crowded for Sheary to get in on the action, but the even-strength exposure to Crosby makes him an attractive option for deep-league fantasy owners. Sheary has eight points (three goals, five assists), is plus-9 and has 13 SOG in eight games. He's flying under the radar based on his low ownership.

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