20 Fantasy Thoughts: Players to target as injury bug hits NHL

Toronto Maple Leafs' Kasperi Kapanen, left, celebrates with Auston Matthews (34) after Kapanen scored a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game past Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, in Philadelphia. (Derik Hamilton/AP)

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

Not that I’m slighting Robby Fabbri’s game or anything, but the 23-year-old forward needed a change of scenery. St. Louis dealt the Mississauga native to Detroit on Thursday night in a one-for-one swap for Jacob de La Rose. Fabbri had quite the debut for his new squad on Friday night potting two goals – both power-play tallies – to lead Detroit to a 4-2 win over the red-hot Boston Bruins.

Weirdly, sometimes, a new lease on life is all a player needs to regain confidence. In recent memory, Ottawa’s Vladislav Namestnikov is a prime example. Last season, a November 25th trade between Arizona and Chicago that involved Dylan Strome and Nick Schmaltz benefited both sides.

Meanwhile, the injury bug continues to wreak havoc around the NHL:

1. All we know about Mitch Marner is that he sustained an ankle injury on Saturday night and won’t play Sunday in Chicago.

So, what are the fantasy implications in Toronto? Kasperi Kapanen will see more five-on-five time alongside John Tavares and William Nylander jumps up to the first power-play unit.

Tyler Johnson, Andre Burakovsky and Gustav Nyquist are some decent short-term replacement options.

2. Sidney Crosby is dealing with a lower-body issue and more information is expected to be released on Monday. Mike Sullivan could move Alex Galchenyuk to centre or elevate Nick Bjugstad up the lineup to help fill the massive void if need be.

3. Luckily, there’s plenty of depth up the middle in fantasy hockey.

Ryan Strome continues to impress playing alongside Artemi Panarin. He’s notched at least a point in eight of his last nine outings.

In Canada’s capital, Jean-Gabriel Pageau is riding a respectable four-game goal streak. Surprisingly, the 26-year-old is providing extensive category coverage, currently even leading the entire NHL with a plus-16 rating.

4. One last point on Pittsburgh – Justin Schultz is the most logical in-house replacement to cover for the banged-up Kris Letang.

5. The injuries are starting to pile up for the Dallas Stars, too.

With John Klingberg out for the next month or so, Miro Heiskanen’s stock will likely soar to new levels. He’s played over 25 minutes in six straight games.

Additionally, Tyler Seguin is dealing with an upper-body ailment while the team’s leading scorer, Roope Hintz, will miss roughly the next two weeks with a lower-body problem.

Denis Gurianov and Jason Dickinson stand to gain promotions up the lineup.

6. Looking for blue-line help? Tony DeAngelo, Michal Kempny and Nate Schmidt could provide you with a spark.

7. Drop Erik Gustafsson. After a 17-goal, 60-point breakout in 79 games last season for Chicago, the 27-year-old has struggled mightily so far this season, mustering just four assists across 15 contests. Also, throw rookie Adam Boqvist on your watch list.

8. For Philipp Grubauer insurance, pick up Avalanche backup Peter Francouz. The 29-year-old Czech will shoulder the load for Colorado until Grubauer is ready to return. Stay tuned!

9. After his three-goal in two-game display over in Stockholm, Sam Reinhart is now tied with Jack Eichel for the Sabres lead with eight goals. The 24-year-old took a ‘prove it’ two-year bridge deal in the summer of 2018. With Reinhart sniffing a long-term, big-money commitment, don’t expect a letdown in this career high pace anytime soon.

10. Buffalo is winless in five and that has prompted head coach Ralph Krueger to tinker with the lines. Among the notable changes, Casey Mittelstadt was moved to the wing while Jeff Skinner was bumped to the third line. Monitor.

11. Memo to all fantasy owners looking to buy low on all things Tampa Bay Lightning: they’re heating up. They’ve scored 17 goals over the past four games, winning three of them. Make your final pitches for the star power. Good luck.

12. The newly assembled top-line in Arizona of Christian Dvorak, Nick Schmaltz and Phil Kessel has the potential to catch fire instantaneously. Before you even realize it, the Kessel buy-low window could slam shut. Don’t be left out in the cold, even though it’s hot in the desert.

13. Even despite the fact that he added another multi-point effort on Saturday night in Calgary, I’d still look to execute a sell-high on Blues veteran David Perron. At this point in his career, we know what he is and it’s not an 80-point player. The 31-year-old also has a substantial injury history. Think about it.

14. Perhaps you can dangle Perron to acquire, say, a certain captain in Winnipeg? Jets head coach Paul Maurice recently moved Blake Wheeler up the middle in hopes of getting his star going. You should be interested.

15. Unlike most, I’m not ready to throw in the towel on Predators dual-eligible winger Mikael Granlund just yet. After notching four points in his first five games to start the season, the Fin is currently mired in a 12-game pointless drought. But the dam will burst at some point. Trust me.

16. Similar to Granlund, Mike Hoffman is another contract-year file in a major funk right now. He should also be on your bargain-hunting agenda. The 29-year-old has registered just two points over the last 10 games. Vincent Trocheck’s return to the Panthers lineup should help Hoffman out. Monitor.

17. Take a flier on Flyers rookie Joel Farabee. The Boston University standout has the optimal garden seat right now not only on Philadelphia’s top line with Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk but also on the first power-play unit. Value buy!

18. Not sure I’d endorse full-time ownership at this point, but Nyquist and Oliver Bjorkstrand have been contributing more regularly lately. They’re playing on Columbus’ top-line with Pierre-Luc Dubois. Daily fantasy?

19. When configuring your lineups for the upcoming week, do your best to steer clear of Columbus, Nashville, New York (Islanders), and Tampa Bay. They play just twice.

20. Conversely, Washington, Ottawa and Arizona are busy. They have four-game weeks ahead:

Washington Capitals: Mon (ARI), Wed (@PHI), Fri (MTL), Sat (@BOS)
Waiver Looks: Michal Kempny (22%), Lars Eller (18%)
SN Fantasy Pool: John Carlson (3), Alex Ovechkin (3), Tom Wilson (1)

Ottawa Senators: Mon (ARI), Wed (@PHI), Fri (MTL), Sat (@BOS)
Waiver Looks: Jean-Gabriel Pageau (29%), Vladislav Namestnikov (11%)
SN Fantasy Pool: Thomas Chabot (2), Connor Brown (1), Vladislav Namestnikov (1)

Arizona Coyotes: Mon (@WSH), Tues (@STL), Thurs (@MIN), Sat (CGY)
Waiver Looks: Conor Garland (15%), Christian Dvorak (3%)
SN Fantasy Pool: Phil Kessel (3), Darcy Kuemper (3), Nick Schmaltz (2)

Other SN Fantasy Pool Targets: Braden Holtby (4), Evgeny Kuznetsov (3), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (2), Jakub Vrana (1), Jean-Gabriel Pageau (1).

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