With the holidays fast approaching and players being injured left and right, it’s important for fantasy owners not to neglect their team during this important stretch of the year. Along with injuries, it’s also important that owners don’t panic on players such as Alexander Semin and Niklas Backstrom and involve them in questionable trades. Last week on Crashing the Net, Alexander hit on Alex Steen, Derek Stepan, and Brian Boucher. Here are some replacement level players who can help out for the time being.
Drew Stafford – RW, Buffalo Sabres (12% Yahoo! / 42% CBS)
You can have all the talent in the world, but if you’re injured, it means nothing. Stafford has appeared in just 18 games this season due to injuries, but appears to be fully healed and ready to roll. He has four goals and five total points over his last five games, making him a nice addition to a team with plenty of offensive upside.
Andrej Meszaros – D, Philadelphia Flyers (19% Yahoo! / 40% CBS)
Not only does this blueliner have a plus-minus rating of plus-22 this season, which is good for first in the NHL, but he’ll also see increased playing time with the injury to teammate Chris Pronger. Although Meszaros has just one goal this season, he has racked up four assists over his last five games.
Ryan Malone – LW, Tampa Bay Lightning (56% Yahoo! / 81% CBS)
The Malone mention is more for Yahoo! fantasy owners, as you can see he’s owned in over 80 percent of CBS leagues. Malone plays on line with Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis, making that a reason enough to own him. Malone has two goals and five points over his last five and sees a good amount of time on the power play for the Bolts.
Sergei Kostitsyn – LW, Nashville Predators (4% Yahoo! / 13% CBS)
Collecting three goals and a total of ten points over his last ten games for the Predators, Kostitsyn is starting to turn some heads in Nashville. He’s seen an increase in ice time over the past five games. His line mates of Marcel Goc and Martin Erat are also contributing to the team’s success.
Joffrey Lupul – RW, Anaheim Ducks (10% Yahoo! / 23% CBS)
Appearing in just eight games this season, Lupul has collected three goals and a total of four points, most of which have come over his last three games played. He’s averaging close to 15 minutes of ice time this season while seeing playing time on the second power play unit. Lupul has the talent and reputation of a goal scorer and it appears that is starting to show. The Ducks have three games this week, so this could be a great audition for the 27-year-old and former first round pick.
Others to Monitor
Evgeni Nabokov – G, Free Agent
Nabokov left his KHL team due to family reasons and could be headed back to the NHL. It’s likely he could sign sometime in mid-January, but we’re just speculating right now. The Tampa Bay Lightning sure could use his services, given the fact that they are stuck with the horrible play of Mike Smith and Dan “Mo Money, Mo Problems” Ellis.
Alex Frolov – LW, New York Rangers
The Rangers have little room at this point not to play Frolov more than ten minutes a game, especially with the injury to Ryan Callahan. Frolov is on the second like with Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov, so he should see some scoring chances given the second line’s ability to score goals. He can be hot-and-cold during certain streaks, but has four points over his last four games.