(Stats as of: November 17, 2011 - an editing error forced this article to be posted later than normal)
PP Injury Replacements
This week, we look at a handful of key power play guys who have suffered injuries, as well as their teammates who have stepped in to fill the void.
In Anaheim, PP point man Lubomir Visnovsky suffered a broken finger last week and is expected to miss about a month. He was averaging almost five minutes per game with the man advantage at the time of his injury, but was struggling mightily with just four points in 16 games - including two PP assists - and a minus-7 rating. Visnovsky owners can only hope he comes back fully charged, looking more like the guy who scored a career-high 68 points last season, including 31 PP points. In the meantime, it was thought that perhaps the first guy in line to receive Visnovsky's PP minutes might be fellow d-man Kurtis Foster, but he's been in and out of the lineup most of the year with a thigh/groin injury. Instead, the two guys who have benefited the most from Visnovsky's absence (so far) have been Cam Fowler, who becomes the Ducks' no. 1 PP defenseman, and Saku Koivu, who is now also seeing first-line duties.
In Carolina, Joni Pitkanen just recently went down with a lower body injury, the full extent and nature of which remain unknown as of this writing. However, it's believed that he is dealing with an injured foot that could keep him out for as little as one week, so fantasy owners cross your fingers. In the meantime, Pitkanen's absence has coincided nicely with the return of Jussi Jokinen (leg), who has been able to slide back into the lineup and pick up a good chunk of the slack. In addition, you might also want to keep an eye on blueliner Jamie McBain, who saw 3:48 worth of PP action against the Penguins on Nov. 12, well above his season-to-date average of 2:48, and another 4:32 against the Canadiens on Nov. 16.
In the case of the woeful, last-place Columbus Blue Jackets, we look at a team who just recently got an injured player back from injury, namely Jeff Carter who missed the previous 10 games with an injured foot, but is now back skating on the team's top PP unit alongside Rick Nash. At the same time, it's interesting to note that, although not injury-related, Derick Brassard was a healthy scratch for two games before returning Nov. 17 against Boston. Before his demotion, he was averaging more than three minutes per game, but saw zero extra-attacker minutes against the Bruins. In his place, the Jackets are giving the recently-acquired Mark Letestu a look on the second line next to Ryan Johansen and Vinny Prospal.
In Dallas, another PP defenseman who is now out for about a month is Alex Goligoski, who was placed on IR earlier this week with a broken thumb. Despite the Stars' hot start overall (11-6-0), Goligoski was actually not doing much as a point man prior to his injury, with just two PP points in 15 games, and was actually being paired up with Stephane Robidas on the second PP unit. Since his injury, Toby Petersen has actually seen a bump in his extra-man ice time - in the three games ending Nov. 15, he was averaging roughly 1:47. Overall, the top PP line for Dallas continues to be Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro and Michael Ryder up front, with Sheldon Souray and Trevor Daley on the back end.
In Washington, the Caps are currently dealing with yet another injury to blueliner Mike Green, who left last Friday's game with a groin injury, his first game back after missing six straight with a right ankle injury. One guy that coach Bruce Boudreau always leans on more heavily at times like this is Dennis Wideman, who saw 5:28 in PP minutes the night Green got hurt, and a whopping 8:19 the following night in back-to-back game against the Devils. Another couple of guys to watch are Brooks Laich, who actually played as a defenseman Nov. 12 against New Jersey and saw 6:08 on the PP, and Marcus Johansson who is also seeing elevated PP time the last couple of games.
In Toronto, with injuries earlier this week to Mikhail Grabovski (leg) and Clarke MacArthur (upper body), one guy who is likely to pick up the slack is Tim Connolly, who just returned from an(other) upper body injury of his own. In addition, you are also likely to continue seeing a bigger presence from Tyler Bozak, who didn't see any significant PP minutes from Oct. 20 to Nov. 5 - a span of nine games - but who is now seeing time on the top line with Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul.