Fantasy Impact: Steven Stamkos was carried off the ice on a stretcher, his leg possibly broken.
Stamkos was always our "safe" pick. That guy who never gets hurt. Zero games missed in the last four NHL seasons with production of 95 points, 91, 97 and 97 (pro-rated). Steady. In many leagues he was taken first overall by those who don't want to deal with the risk of Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.
But now this.
Here is what happened in Monday's game against Boston with 7:11 left in the second period:
All we can do is speculate. But ankles don't bend that way. At best, he's looking at strained ligaments and maybe three or four weeks on the shelf. At worst, the leg and/or ankle are fractured in addition to the ligament damage - and that would mean February at best and the full season and possibly a round or two of the playoffs at worst.
But lean towards the worst-case scenario given the early information filtering out. This is from Aaron Ward:
Source, Steven Stamkos has broken tibia. Told will require surgery.
Update: This has been confirmed by Erik Erlandsson, beatwriter for the Lightning. Broken tibia, "out indefinitely".
Fantasy Players Impacted: I've long held onto the belief that Martin St. Louis was the driver for Stamkos and not the other way around. This is based on an analysis that I did a couple of years ago that showed that Stamkos was an 80-point player when St. Louis played with Vincent Lecavalier, but a 95-point player when St. Louis played with Stamkos. And Lecavalier, by the same token, was 80 points with and 60 points without. So while there is no other Stamkos currently on the Lightning, St. Louis' production decline will be minimal. Perhaps a few points.
The big cash in will be for whoever plays at center. And you and I both know that line combos are changed faster than you can say "Filppula" so all you can hope for is that you get (or have) the guy who plays with St. Louis the most. Here are the candidates.
Valtteri Filppula - He'll get a look there, but not the first one. I think Killorn gets the first look. More on that later. But Filppula is the most experienced offensive center on the team now. He's on pace for 62 points, but sustained ice time with St. Louis would make this 72 points easily.
Tyler Johnson - My favorite, but due to his inexperience Johnson will likely not get an audition on this line until the other options are exhausted. he's on pace for 36 points but I think he was going to top 45. However, sustained ice time with St. Louis would see him push 65.
Alex Killorn - Killorn will get the first look there. He has some experience at center, though don't be surprised if, after losing a bunch of faceoffs, he gets moved back to the wing and they go with Plan B. Either way, Killorn is likely on the St. Louis line for awhile be it at center or wing.
Jonathan Drouin - I'm not 100% sure of the criteria of an "emergency recall". I've heard "five injuries" and I've heard "team has to apply to the league with reasons". But the Panthers did it with Shawn Matthias, the Flyers did it with Claude Giroux and the Flames did it with Sven Baertschi - they recalled these players out of junior for a few games. But if Drouin is eligible, the Lightning could go that route. If so, be quick on the draw in terms of plucking him off the wire.
Vladislav Namestnikov - He's hot in the AHL right now since he's lucky enough to be playing with Nikita Kucherov, but he's the top center down there and should at least get a look with Tampa - just maybe not with St. Louis.
Best waiver bet: Johnson. Huge potential here and it seems the most likely scenario - likely not immediately though.
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