Open Ice: Top 200 Rankings

The fantasy impact of Steven Stamkos' devastating injury

Updated: November 12, 2013, 4:51 PM ET
By Sean Allen | Special to ESPN.com

Steven StamkosRonald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/ Getty ImagesThere's no replacing Steven Stamkos, but there are some players who could help lessen the blow.

It's bad for every hockey fan when someone with Steven Stamkos' skill has a serious injury, and the broken leg Stamkos suffered on Monday is pretty serious. He'll be out for months after having surgery Tuesday morning and, though we don't have an official timetable, broken legs do take some time to heal. It's unlikely we are talking about a return any earlier than February, and Stamkos could miss the rest of the season. We'll have to wait and see what the word is after surgery.

In the meantime, Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has a very difficult decision to make that fantasy owners can sympathize with: How do you replace your offensive catalyst? No question Stamkos is the Lightning at this point in his career. His 23 points and 14 goals were both atop the NHL leaderboard when he was injured. He is absolutely irreplaceable, for the Lightning and for fantasy owners.

But you and Yzerman can't sit down and twiddle your thumbs until Stamkos returns. You have to find a way to soldier on. We'll look at three possible targets for Yzerman to replace Stamkos that would have spinoff fantasy implications, and we'll check out some options outside the Lightning organization for fantasy owners to consider.

The Top 200

Note: Sean Allen's top 200 players are ranked for their expected performance in ESPN standard leagues from this point on, not on the statistics that have already been accrued. ESPN standard stats include goals, assists, power-play points, shots on goal, plus/minus, penalty minutes and average time on ice for skaters, and wins, goals-against average and save percentage for goalies. Last week's ranking is indicated in parentheses.

1. Alex Ovechkin, F, Was (3)
2. Sidney Crosby, F, Pit (1)
3. Tuukka Rask, G, Bos (4)
4. John Tavares, F, NYI (5)
5. Henrik Zetterberg, F, Det (6)
6. Corey Perry, F, Ana (8)
7. Phil Kessel, F, Tor (7)
8. P.K. Subban, D, Mon (10)
9. Anze Kopitar, F, LA (11)
10. Pavel Datsyuk, F, Det (12)
11. Daniel Sedin, F, Van (13)
12. Henrik Sedin, F, Van (14)
13. Patrick Kane, F, Chi (15)
14. Evgeni Malkin, F, Pit (9)
15. Erik Karlsson, D, Ott (16)
16. Jonathan Toews, F, Chi (17)
17. Carey Price, G, Mon (21)
18. Chris Kunitz, F, Pit (22)
19. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Pit (19)
20. Ryan Getzlaf, F, Ana (24)
21. Dustin Byfuglien, D, Wpg (20)
22. Tyler Seguin, F, Dal (23)
23. Zach Parise, F, Min (28)
24. Logan Couture, F, SJ (26)
25. Nicklas Backstrom, F, Was (31)
26. Kris Letang, D, Pit (29)
27. Evander Kane, F, Wpg (30)
28. Antti Niemi, G, SJ (18)
29. Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR (27)
30. Matt Duchene, F, Col (35)
31. Corey Crawford, G, Chi (34)
32. Taylor Hall, F, Edm (33)
33. Ryan Suter, D, Min (36)
34. Semyon Varlamov, G, Col (60)
35. Shea Weber, D, Nsh (39)
36. David Backes, F, StL (40)
37. Drew Doughty, D, LA (46)
38. Martin St. Louis, F, TB (25)
39. Patrick Marleau, F, SJ (41)
40. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Pho (53)
41. Bobby Ryan, F, Ott (57)
42. Patrick Sharp, F, Chi (50)
43. James van Riemsdyk, F, Tor (42)
44. Roberto Luongo, G, Van (45)
45. Alexander Steen, F, StL (63)
46. Jonathan Quick, G, LA (32)
47. James Neal, F, Pit (NR)
48. Josh Harding, G, Min (87)
49. Jamie Benn, F, Dal (48)
50. Joe Thornton, F, SJ (49)
51. Marian Hossa, F, Chi (51)
52. Jason Spezza, F, Ott (37)
53. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Cls (38)
54. Thomas Vanek, F, NYI (54)
55. Jaroslav Halak, G, StL (55)
56. Claude Giroux, F, Phi (43)
57. Alex Pietrangelo, D, StL (56)
58. Niklas Kronwall, D, Det (58)
59. Joe Pavelski, F, SJ (73)
60. Eric Staal, F, Car (44)
61. Mike Green, D, Was (62)
62. Andrei Markov, D, Mon (61)
63. Matt Moulson, F, Buf (70)
64. Craig Anderson, G, Ott (47)
65. Ryan Kesler, F, Van (65)
66. Dustin Brown, F, LA (66)
67. Marian Gaborik, F, Cls (67)
68. Nazem Kadri, F, Tor (68)
69. Max Pacioretty, F, Mon (69)
70. Mikko Koivu, F, Min (76)
71. Jonathan Bernier, G, Tor (64)
72. David Krejci, F, Bos (89)
73. Joffrey Lupul, F, Tor (71)
74. Jimmy Howard, G, Det (52)
75. Duncan Keith, D, Chi (72)
76. Jordan Eberle, F, Edm (74)
77. Keith Yandle, D, Pho (98)
78. Dion Phaneuf, D, Tor (77)
79. Radim Vrbata, F, Pho (78)
80. Kyle Okposo, F, NYI (79)
81. Alexander Semin, F, Car (59)
82. Justin Williams, F, LA (80)
83. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, F, Edm (81)
84. Gabriel Landeskog, F, Col (82)
85. Jason Pominville, F, Min (83)
86. Dennis Wideman, D, Cgy (84)
87. Andrew Ladd, F, Wpg (96)
88. Tobias Enstrom, D, Wpg (85)
89. Kyle Turris, F, Ott (104)
90. Jarome Iginla, F, Bos (88)
91. Patrice Bergeron, F, Bos (90)
92. Brad Richards, F, NYR (91)
93. Milan Lucic, F, Bos (92)
94. Pascal Dupuis, F, Pit (94)
95. Cody Franson, D, Tor (95)
96. Braden Holtby, G, Was (109)
97. Zdeno Chara, D, Bos (86)
98. Ryan O'Reilly, F, Col (106)
99. Mike Smith, G, Pho (93)
100. Torey Krug, D, Bos (119)
101. Johan Franzen, F, Det (100)
102. Brandon Dubinsky, F, Cls (117)
103. Mike Ribeiro, F, Pho (75)
104. Derek Stepan, F, NYR (114)
105. Brian Campbell, D, Fla (101)
106. T.J. Oshie, F, StL (102)
107. Sam Gagner, F, Edm (99)
108. Mike Richards, F, LA (105)
109. Tomas Fleischmann, F, Fla (107)
110. Blake Wheeler, F, Wpg (108)
111. David Perron, F, Edm (138)
112. Jakub Voracek, F, Phi (110)
113. Jeff Carter, F, LA (97)
114. Cory Schneider, G, NJ (113)
115. Tomas Hertl, F, SJ (111)
116. James Wisniewski, D, Cls (122)
117. Dan Boyle, D, SJ (112)
118. Ryan Callahan, F, NYR (NR)
119. Brent Burns, F, SJ (115)
120. Kari Lehtonen, G, Dal (121)
121. Tomas Plekanec, F, Mon (120)
122. Jaromir Jagr, F, NJ (135)
123. Jiri Hudler, F, Cgy (142)
124. Bryan Little, F, Wpg (147)
125. Jonas Hiller, G, Ana (118)
126. Frans Nielsen, F, NYI (123)
127. Loui Eriksson, F, Bos (124)
128. P.A. Parenteau, F, Col (125)
129. Scott Hartnell, F, Phi (127)
130. Brad Marchand, F, Bos (154)
131. Robin Lehner, G, Ott (200)
132. Brendan Gallagher, F, Mon (128)
133. Ben Bishop, G, TB (126)
134. Jeff Skinner, F, Car (103)
135. Rick Nash, F, NYR (140)
136. Alex Burrows, F, Van (129)
137. Daniel Alfredsson, F, Det (130)
138. Steve Downie, F, Phi (151)
139. Shane Doan, F, Pho (171)
140. Kevin Shattenkirk, D, StL (131)
141. Marek Zidlicky, D, NJ (156)
142. Patrik Elias, F, NJ (116)
143. Brandon Saad, F, Chi (133)
144. Alexander Edler, D, Van (134)
145. Clarke MacArthur, F, Ott (199)
146. Alex Galchenyuk, F, Mon (136)
147. Mike Cammalleri, F, Cgy (174)
148. Teddy Purcell, F, TB (137)
149. Pekka Rinne, G, Nsh (139)
150. Erik Johnson, D, Col (176)
151. Paul Stastny, F, Col (161)
152. Cody Hodgson, F, Buf (143)
153. Jason Garrison, D, Van (145)
154. Mikhail Grabovski, F, Was (146)
155. Lars Eller, F, Mon (159)
156. Martin Hanzal, F, Pho (184)
157. Cam Ward, G, Car (179)
158. Jussi Jokinen, F, Pit (148)
159. Jack Johnson, D, Cls (150)
160. Justin Schultz, D, Edm (132)
161. Matt Carle, D, TB (152)
162. Nathan MacKinnon, F, Col (153)
163. Brent Seabrook, D, Chi (182)
164. Radko Gudas, D, TB (190)
165. Jay Bouwmeester, D, StL (175)
166. Kevin Bieksa, D, Van (NR)
167. Jiri Tlusty, F, Car (144)
168. Alex Killorn, F, TB (160)
169. Jean-Sebastien Giguere, G, Col (187)
170. Milan Michalek, F, Ott (162)
171. Marcus Johansson, F, Was (163)
172. Seth Jones, D, Nsh (164)
173. Mikkel Boedker, F, Pho (165)
174. Ray Whitney, F, Dal (166)
175. James Reimer, G, Tor (198)
176. Andre Benoit, D, Col (167)
177. Mikael Granlund, F, Min (197)
178. Martin Brodeur, G, NJ (NR)
179. Mark Streit, D, Phi (168)
180. Vincent Lecavalier, F, Phi (169)
181. Vladimir Tarasenko, F, StL (170)
182. Justin Faulk, D, Car (172)
183. Matt Niskanen, D, Pit (173)
184. Sean Monahan, F, Cgy (149)
185. Cam Fowler, D, Ana (NR)
186. Nail Yakupov, F, Edm (177)
187. Michael Grabner, F, NYI (178)
188. Brenden Dillon, D, Dal (180)
189. Kris Russell, D, Cgy (186)
190. Steve Mason, G, Phi (188)
191. Frederik Andersen, G, Ana (NR)
192. Alex Chiasson, F, Dal (191)
193. Travis Hamonic, D, NYI (192)
194. Francois Beauchemin, D, Ana (193)
195. Antoine Vermette, F, Pho (194)
196. Charlie Coyle, F, Min (NR)
197. Nino Niederreiter, F, Min (195)
198. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D, SJ (196)
199. Ilya Bryzgalov, G, Edm (NR)
200. Carl Hagelin, F, NYR (NR)

Tyler Johnson, C, Tampa Bay Lightning: Johnson played the third period of Monday's game in Stamkos' role on the top line with Martin St. Louis and Alex Killorn. That doesn't mean he'll still be there when the Bolts play the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, but it's an endorsement of his skills as a goal scorer. Johnson led the AHL in goals last season, with 37 in 62 games, and picked up six points in his first five NHL games last season when he replaced an injured Vincent Lecavalier in the lineup. Johnson has the ability to score, and an assignment on a line with St. Louis would go a long way in giving him a chance to replicate his AHL numbers in the big leagues.

Nikita Kucherov, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning: Of course, if last season's AHL gaol-scoring leader doesn't fit the bill, there is always this season's goal-scoring leader. Kucherov paces the AHL with 12 goals in 13 games, and as recently as this weekend, Yzerman was fawning about his young talent in the Tampa Bay Times, saying, "I know I talk about being patient, but if a guy is ready to play in the NHL and I have a roster spot for them, they'll play."  The second-round draft pick from 2011 had 63 points in 33 games in his North American debut in the QMJHL last season. He currently has 22 points in the AHL (second overall) and while he may not immediately get a top-line assignment if called up, he could work his way toward it.

Brett Connolly, RW/LW, Tampa Bay Lightning: It's easy to forget that Connolly is a high-upside prospect because he hasn't developed on the traditional path. Instead of seasoning in the minors, Connolly had a trial by fire in the NHL during the 2011-12 season and didn't perform all that well. But last season, he was given almost an entire campaign to play in the AHL and ended up finishing in the top 10 in the league's scoring race, with 31 goals and 63 points (just two points back of Johnson). If promoted to the top line, Connolly could harness his scoring prowess at the NHL level.

As for those other options for Stamkos' fantasy owners:

Chris Kreider, LW/C, New York Rangers: The Rangers have plenty of hot hands at the moment, but Kreider has the advantage of playing center and still being available in 38 percent of ESPN leagues. On a line with Derek Stepan and Mats Zuccarello at even strength, and sometimes joining Brad Richards, Stepan and Ryan Callahan on the power play, Kreider is at the center of the suddenly dangerous Rangers offense. While the return of Rick Nash (who skated on Sunday) would push someone out of the clicking top six, Kreider has earned his stripes at this point. His two goals, six points and plus-3 in plus/minus in 10 games come closer to matching what you will be losing from your lineup with Stamkos out.

Tommy Wingels, C, San Jose Sharks: Still available in 71 percent of ESPN leagues, Wingels is playing premium ice time with talented linemates. He was most recently spotted with Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl, and Wingels' totals for this season include five goals, 13 points and a plus-10 rating in 17 games. Brent Burns is traveling with the team again, though, and his return would likely spell the end of Wingels' run as a top-six winger. So this may be a short-lived recommendation.

Replacing Stamkos is, at the end of the day, not possible. You will have to do your best to plug the gaping hole left behind, but your team just won't be the same without its top pick. You will notice Stamkos gone from the rankings for now. If we get a timetable that has him back earlier rather than later, he'll be back in the ranks as the date approaches. Martin St. Louis and Ben Bishop both slide in the rankings, as do most other members of the Lightning. Without Stamkos, the team just won't be as good for fantasy purposes.

Forwards Rising and Falling

James Neal, LW, Pittsburgh Penguins (enters list at No. 47): Obviously, Neal has better upside than No. 47 in the rankings, but we'll be tentative with his return because it came so suddenly. With a gloomy outlook and a status of "week-to-week" being given for Neal as recently as 10 days ago, he made a surprise return to the ice Saturday. Right back in his comfortable spot beside Evgeni Malkin on the second line, Neal picked up a power-play assist on the top unit with Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. The second line for the Pens hasn't been as good this season without Neal, and we'll wait to see if he can be the catalyst to get Malkin scoring again. For now, be happy with Neal's return, but don't target him in trade until you see some mojo on the line that does not include Crosby.

Jason Spezza, C, Ottawa Senators (down 15 spots to No. 52): It's awesome to watch as Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan become true fantasy forces for the Senators, but the Turris-Ryan connection may be too good for the good of Spezza. Each riding at least six-game point streaks (with Turris at seven games), the second line that also includes winger Clarke MacArthur may be the first line for the Senators now. When one center (Turris) has a connection with the best winger on the team (Ryan), it's trouble for the center who may be the No. 1 center in another situation. Turris is playing more ice time than Spezza in some games. Yes, Turris and Ryan are insanely hot right now, but no, they probably aren't done climbing the ranks. Unless Milan Michalek or Mike Zibanejad get a serious wake-up call, Spezza could continue to tumble.

Defensemen Rising and Falling

Keith Yandle, D, Phoenix Coyotes (up 21 spots to No. 77): There may have been some concern that Oliver Ekman-Larsson's continued development on the Coyotes' blue line would hurt Yandle's fantasy value. But as the two D-men continue to be deployed together on the power play, it looks as if OEL is only helping Yandle. While not as strong at plus/minus as Ekman-Larsson, and not as liable to score goals himself, Yandle matches the young stud everywhere else for fantasy value, and actually leads the way with nine power-play points.

Torey Krug, D, Boston Bruins (up 19 spots to No. 100): Zdeno Chara is still ranked three spots ahead of Krug, but this might be the last week he's ahead of the rookie. While Chara's numbers are improving, Krug has double the big man's goals and points this season. The two defensemen are playing together on the Bruins' power play, and Krug plays with the defensively responsible Dennis Seidenberg at even strength. Chara has three goals this season, but Krug has three power-play goals and another three at even strength. Perhaps most telling about a direct comparison is that Chara is averaging six minutes more ice time per game than Krug, yet the two players are tied with 38 shots apiece.

Goaltenders Rising and Falling

Craig Anderson, G, Ottawa Senators (down 17 spots to No. 64): Tuesday night's start is absolutely pivotal for Anderson's immediate future. Robin Lehner is a future star in net for the Senators and the future may be now if Anderson can't shut down a fledgling Philadelphia Flyers offense. Lehner rolled off three straight wins -- with four total goals allowed -- while Anderson dealt with a neck injury this past week. And Lehner has a .945 save percentage while tending the same crease where Anderson has managed a .912 save percentage. Anderson has some rights as the incumbent, but anything short of a sparkling performance against the Flyers may have Lehner back between the pipes for the Sens' next game.

Ilya Bryzgalov, G, Edmonton Oilers (enters ranks at No. 199): Why would you invest in Bryzgalov after a horrendous season with the Flyers in 2013 and signing on to play behind the porous defense of the Oilers? It's more of a question of why not? He's probably available in your league and has a clear path to winning the No. 1 job for the Oilers. It is extremely doubtful that he can do any better than Devan Dubnyk has, given the overall defensive troubles of a young, offensively gifted team. But we know that Bryzgalov has skill, and in the right situation, a team can rally in front of him.

Quick Hits

• We guessed that Hampus Lindholm might emerge as the Anaheim Ducks' go-to offensive defenseman in the near future. While Lindholm is collecting a few points here and there, it's Cam Fowler that is jumping into the play and rocking on the power play. There is still a small window in some leagues to get Fowler.

• Don't look now, but Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron are picking up points now that Loui Eriksson is back from a concussion. This line has the potential to heat up quickly.

• The Calgary Flames keep tinkering with their lines. Mikael Backlund had two assists in a game when given the chance to play with Jiri Hudler and Mike Cammalleri. But at the end of the day, there will only be one winner of the Cammalleri-Hudler sweepstakes, and it's still not clear who that player will be.

• With everyone now healthy for the Oilers, it is very notable to see Nail Yakupov not playing a top-six role. Ales Hemsky is skating with Taylor Hall and Sam Gagner. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is centering Jordan Eberle and David Perron. Yakupov's role remains quite unclear.

Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek earned a couple of goals on Saturday night. The Philadelphia Flyers need this line to heat up, and it is being given every opportunity to do so.

Sean Allen is a fantasy analyst for ESPN.com. He was the 2008 and 2009 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hockey Writer of the Year. You can tweet him @seanard.

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