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Fantasy impact of key NHL injuries

Matt Duchene will miss the rest of the regular season, with major implications in fantasy hockey. Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

We are really down into the nitty-gritty now. Most rotisserie leagues will have but the smallest of wiggle room left for movement in the standings, and head-to-head leagues will be into the semifinals. NHL teams have between six and eight games remaining this season, and where each team falls on that spectrum has a big impact on these final rankings for the 2013-14 season.

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. Sidney Crosby, F, Pit (1)
2. Corey Perry, F, Ana (2)
3. Alex Ovechkin, F, Was (3)
4. Ryan Getzlaf, F, Ana (4)
5. Claude Giroux, F, Phi (12)
6. Steven Stamkos, F, TB (8)
7. Chris Kunitz, F, Pit (7)
8. Ryan Miller, G, StL (13)
9. Erik Karlsson, D, Ott (10)
10. P.K. Subban, D, Mon (6)
11. Jonathan Quick, G, LA (17)
12. David Backes, F, StL (22)
13. Patrick Sharp, F, Chi (5)
14. Ben Bishop, G, TB (20)
15. Joe Pavelski, F, SJ (15)
16. Tyler Seguin, F, Dal (30)
17. Duncan Keith, D, Chi (16)
18. Alexander Steen, F, StL (33)
19. Zach Parise, F, Min (18)
20. Phil Kessel, F, Tor (11)
21. Jamie Benn, F, Dal (34)
22. Semyon Varlamov, G, Col (29)
23. Carey Price, G, Mon (19)
24. Anze Kopitar, F, LA (21)
25. Logan Couture, F, SJ (23)
26. Jonathan Toews, F, Chi (9)
27. Patrick Marleau, F, SJ (25)
28. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Cls (35)
29. Nicklas Backstrom, F, Was (31)
30. Antti Niemi, G, SJ (26)
31. Tuukka Rask, G, Bos (14)
32. Shea Weber, D, Nsh (27)
33. Dustin Byfuglien, D, Wpg (28)
34. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Pit (36)
35. Nathan MacKinnon, F, Col (46)
36. Jarome Iginla, F, Bos (38)
37. Marian Hossa, F, Chi (32)
38. David Krejci, F, Bos (42)
39. James Neal, F, Pit (45)
40. Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR (41)
41. Alex Pietrangelo, D, StL (57)
42. Jaromir Jagr, F, NJ (59)
43. Drew Doughty, D, LA (39)
44. Jonas Hiller, G, Ana (51)
45. Joe Thornton, F, SJ (47)
46. Gabriel Landeskog, F, Col (64)
47. Paul Stastny, F, Col (136)
48. Johan Franzen, F, Det (40)
49. Rick Nash, F, NYR (53)
50. Matt Niskanen, D, Pit (56)
51. Eric Staal, F, Car (37)
52. Corey Crawford, G, Chi (48)
53. Martin St. Louis, F, NYR (24)
54. Alexander Semin, F, Car (58)
55. James van Riemsdyk, F, Tor (49)
56. Mikko Koivu, F, Min (60)
57. Thomas Vanek, F, Mon (55)
58. Zdeno Chara, D, Bos (61)
59. Jakub Voracek, F, Phi (71)
60. Jeff Carter, F, LA (52)
61. Kevin Shattenkirk, D, StL (68)
62. Scott Hartnell, F, Phi (74)
63. Milan Lucic, F, Bos (65)
64. Taylor Hall, F, Edm (67)
65. Craig Anderson, G, Ott (114)
66. Gustav Nyquist, F, Det (77)
67. T.J. Oshie, F, StL (107)
68. Daniel Sedin, F, Van (63)
69. Mark Giordano, D, Cgy (81)
70. Roberto Luongo, G, Fla (54)
71. Keith Yandle, D, Pho (72)
72. Ryan Suter, D, Min (69)
73. Patrice Bergeron, F, Bos (85)
74. Cory Schneider, G, NJ (76)
75. Kari Lehtonen, G, Dal (91)
76. Jason Spezza, F, Ott (78)
77. Niklas Kronwall, D, Det (79)
78. Blake Wheeler, F, Wpg (80)
79. Ryan O'Reilly, F, Col (73)
80. Ryan Kesler, F, Van (70)
81. Jimmy Howard, G, Det (82)
82. Kyle Turris, F, Ott (87)
83. Ryan McDonagh, D, NYR (93)
84. Dion Phaneuf, D, Tor (75)
85. Kyle Okposo, F, NYI (66)
86. Lee Stempniak, F, Pit (90)
87. Clarke MacArthur, F, Ott (100)
88. O. Ekman-Larsson, D, Pho (92)
89. Andrei Markov, D, Mon (89)
90. Brent Seabrook, D, Chi (83)
91. Max Pacioretty, F, Mon (94)
92. Mike Cammalleri, F, Cgy (125)
93. Jay Bouwmeester, D, StL (102)
94. Brent Burns, F, SJ (111)
95. Marian Gaborik, F, LA (86)
96. Jordan Eberle, F, Edm (97)
97. Radim Vrbata, F, Pho (88)
98. James Wisniewski, D, Cls (112)
99. Victor Hedman, D, TB (99)
100. Steve Mason, G, Phi (113)
101. Jaden Schwartz, F, StL (98)
102. Anton Khudobin, G, Car (117)
103. Patrik Elias, F, NJ (101)
104. Matt Moulson, F, Min (96)
105. David Legwand, F, Det (103)
106. Ryan Johansen, F, Cls (119)
107. Alex Goligoski, D, Dal (124)
108. Bryan Little, F, Wpg (95)
109. Justin Williams, F, LA (109)
110. Jaroslav Halak, G, Was (110)
111. Ilya Bryzgalov, G, Min (NR)
112. Jack Johnson, D, Cls (126)
113. Pekka Rinne, G, Nsh (44)
114. Derek Stepan, F, NYR (104)
115. Jeff Skinner, F, Car (115)
116. Nazem Kadri, F, Tor (84)
117. Brad Marchand, F, Bos (116)
118. Martin Hanzal, F, Pho (118)
119. Andrew Ladd, F, Wpg (108)
120. Jason Pominville, F, Min (120)
121. Ondrej Palat, F, TB (122)
122. David Perron, F, Edm (123)
123. Wayne Simmonds, F, Phi (144)
124. Jonathan Bernier, G, Tor (106)
125. Adam Henrique, F, NJ (127)
126. Karri Ramo, G, Cgy (149)
127. Alec Martinez , D, LA (NR)
128. Ales Hemsky, F, Ott (128)
129. Kimmo Timonen, D, Phi (148)
130. Alex Burrows, F, Van (131)
131. Troy Brouwer, F, Was (138)
132. Mikael Granlund, F, Min (133)
133. Valtteri Filppula, F, TB (134)
134. Torey Krug, D, Bos (135)
135. Erik Johnson, D, Col (137)
136. Shane Doan, F, Pho (139)
137. Tomas Plekanec, F, Mon (129)
138. Mike Green, D, Was (140)
139. Christian Ehrhoff, D, Buf (121)
140. Henrik Sedin, F, Van (62)
141. Evander Kane, F, Wpg (132)
142. Marek Zidlicky, D, NJ (145)
143. Tyler Bozak, F, Tor (130)
144. Pavel Datsyuk, F, Det (147)
145. Tyson Barrie, D, Col (158)
146. Brandon Dubinsky, F, Cls (141)
147. Alex Killorn, F, TB (151)
148. Olli Maatta, D, Pit (152)
149. Brad Richards, F, NYR (142)
150. Andrej Sekera, D, Car (154)
151. Mikael Backlund, F, Cgy (169)
152. Cam Ward, G, Car (156)
153. John Carlson, D, Was (157)
154. Teemu Selanne, F, Ana (160)
155. Valeri Nichushkin, F, Dal (NR)
156. Radko Gudas, D, TB (161)
157. Dougie Hamilton, D, Bos (171)
158. Daniel Alfredsson, F, Det (162)
159. Tyler Ennis, F, Buf (176)
160. Loui Eriksson, F, Bos (164)
161. Jussi Jokinen, F, Pit (165)
162. Alex Chiasson, F, Dal (NR)
163. Evgeni Nabokov, G, NYI (155)
164. Martin Brodeur, G, NJ (168)
165. Drew Stafford, F, Buf (180)
166. R. Nugent-Hopkins, F, Edm (170)
167. Ray Whitney, F, Dal (NR)
168. Joffrey Lupul, F, Tor (150)
169. Joni Ortio, G, Cgy (153)
170. Dan Boyle, D, SJ (173)
171. Jason Garrison, D, Van (163)
172. David Desharnais, F, Mon (174)
173. Tobias Enstrom, D, Wpg (167)
174. Kris Russell, D, Cgy (179)
175. Ben Scrivens, G, Edm (159)
176. Patric Hornqvist, F, Nsh (NR)
177. Al Montoya, G, Wpg (181)
178. Frans Nielsen, F, NYI (191)
179. Carl Hagelin, F, NYR (172)
180. Jake Gardiner, D, Tor (183)
181. Milan Michalek, F, Ott (184)
182. Mike Richards, F, LA (175)
183. Mike Fisher, F, Nsh (178)
184. Carl Soderberg, F, Bos (NR)
185. Ondrej Pavelec, G, Wpg (166)
186. Kevin Bieksa, D, Van (177)
187. Cory Conacher, F, Buf (199)
188. Tyler Johnson, F, TB (190)
189. Mike Smith, G, Pho (143)
190. Brendan Gallagher, F, Mon (185)
191. Jared Spurgeon, D, Min (NR)
192. Jamie McGinn, F, Col (NR)
193. Alexander Edler, D, Van (182)
194. Jordan Staal, F, Car (193)
195. Andrew Shaw, F, Chi (195)
196. Frederik Andersen, G, Ana (196)
197. Shawn Matthias, F, Van (186)
198. Hampus Lindholm, D, Ana (197)
199. Roman Josi, D, Nsh (194)
200. James Reimer, G, Tor (200)

That's right, next week we will transition into rankings that are looking ahead to the 2014-15 NHL season, but this week is one final sort for those owners making a final push. You will find that players from teams that have been doing well offensively lately and have eight games remaining (like the Philadelphia Flyers) receive a boost in this week's rankings. Meanwhile, players from teams that have struggled offensively of late and have only six games left (like the Toronto Maple Leafs) receive a downgrade in the rankings.

Living in a six- to eight-game window with rankings is difficult enough without injuries. Consider that a day-to-day ailment at this point can mean the rest of the regular season and you can begin to see the added difficulty. How do we rank Kyle Okposo when he was red-hot before getting hurt and potentially has eight games left, but hasn't played since last Wednesday and there is minimal information available about his lower-body injury? It's not an easy task.

Since injuries are the largest stumbling block when dealing with a shortened window for rankings, we will take a closer look this week at the injury news.

Matt Duchene, F, Colorado Avalanche: It's devastating news that Duchene is done for the remainder of the season (at least the season that matters to fantasy owners). The implication beyond the obvious lack of Duchene is that Ryan O'Reilly is about to cool off a lot. He will be left almost alone on the second line for the Avs. Playing with John Mitchell and Jamie McGinn isn't the same as having Duchene as a linemate. This also means that Nathan MacKinnon, Paul Stastny and Gabriel Landeskog will be relied upon to do the bulk of the scoring during the final games of the season. The Avs need scoring, and unless there's a shake-up of the lines, they now have a very top-heavy offense.

Jonathan Toews, F, Chicago Blackhawks: It's not clear yet whether Toews will even miss a game, with the Hawks off until Thursday, but his absence would have significant implications with Patrick Kane already on the shelf. If Toews needs to miss a few games, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp will be left to anchor the offense. It would mean whoever is playing with Sharp and Hossa could be worth a short ride in fantasy leagues. Rookie Teuvo Teravainen is the most interesting of the options, but it is pretty established that Andrew Shaw seems to gain value when a Blackhawks player is on the shelf.

Henrik Sedin, F, Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks traded one injured Sedin for another, and now Henrik's injury seems to be lingering. As mentioned in recent columns here, the best medicine right now is to avoid the Canucks' offense if you can. It's interesting to see David Booth and Zack Kassian start to perform in the absence of any other form of offense from the team, but not the kind of "interesting" that makes you want to pick them up for this season. Unless Henrik makes a triumphant return in the next couple of days, you may want to have a backup plan in place for any Canucks whom you count on regularly. That includes Alex Burrows (who is on a four-game drought after hot streak), Alexander Edler (four-game drought after showing signs of life), Ryan Kesler (one point in four games since returning from injury) and Daniel Sedin (two points in four games since returning from injury).

Pavel Datsyuk, F, Detroit Red Wings: Datsyuk has been spotted skating at practice a few times now and seems to be waiting in the wings for a return in the final few games. That scenario is likely to play out only if the Red Wings remain on the bubble for a playoff spot. But fantasy owners with an empty bench spot in a league where Datsyuk was dropped (36 percent of ESPN leagues) will want to stash him now. Nothing like having a potential top-25 fantasy forward spur your lineup in the final week.

Bobby Ryan, F, Ottawa Senators: A disappointing second half for Ryan comes to a close with season-ending sports hernia surgery for the Sens' second-line sniper. This shouldn't hurt Ryan owners that much, as they weren't getting much production from him since January. The largest fantasy implication is that Mark Stone will get to continue to ride with Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur for the remainder of the season. Stone has one goal, three assists and a plus-7 rating in five games since replacing Ryan on the second line. He's a steal off the waiver wire to finish the campaign.

Roberto Luongo, G, Florida Panthers: Targeting a Friday return from an upper-body injury, Luongo will have just five games remaining to tend goal for the season. Knowing his action is limited to just five games makes him less attractive to fantasy owners in rotisserie leagues. However, head-to-head owners that survive this week without Luongo and advance to their championship will be pleased by the Panthers' evenly spaced three-game schedule next week that could result in three wins for Luongo as the team looks to play spoiler against three teams in the playoff hunt.

Darcy Kuemper, G, Minnesota Wild: Kuemper joins the likes of Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom as a Wild goaltender who could have been a fantasy darling if not for injury. Given that Ilya Bryzgalov has won two straight games and Kuemper is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, it's fair to say that Kuemper is out of the picture for now and Bryzgalov is in. Is Bryzgalov the ideal fantasy goaltender? No. But does he play for an exceptional defensive team that has been hot lately? You bet he does. Whoever is tending twine for the Wild needs to be on fantasy radars, and that whoever should be Bryzgalov down the stretch.

Mike Smith, G, Phoenix Coyotes: Since Smith won't even be re-evaluated until Saturday, that gives him a maximum of four games back in action this season if everything goes well. If you haven't already, you need to grab Thomas Greiss and get him in the active lineup. Smith may not even return to action this season, and Greiss is your best backup plan. In three starts since Smith was hurt, Greiss has allowed only two goals each time out, winning two of the games.

Forwards rising and falling

Patrice Bergeron, F, Boston Bruins (up 12 spots to No. 73): The Bruins' second line has been on an absolute tear lately. Bergeron has eight goals in the past seven games and is getting it done both on and off the power play. What can you do about it? Grab Reilly Smith and try to draft off the value of Bergeron. The Bruins are just three wins shy of clinching first overall in the Eastern Conference, but that has more implications for goaltending than it does for offense. The team won't stop trying to score just because it has settled into the top seed.

David Desharnais, F, Montreal Canadiens (up two spots to No. 172): The Habs are, unfortunately, one of the teams with only six games remaining. But Desharnais is widely available and on a red-hot line with Thomas Vanek and Max Pacioretty. Five games from Desharnais will beat out six or seven games from a lot of other available players.

Valeri Nichushkin, F, Dallas Stars (re-enters ranks at No. 155): This a ranking that is gambling on the fact that Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn have been hot enough lately that some of it is bound to rub off on the Russian rookie. While the third and fourth line for the Stars -- including Colton Sceviour, Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt -- have been doing more than their fair share of damage on offense, Seguin and Benn have been two of the most productive fantasy forwards since the Olympic break. Nichuskin is playing with them on the top line again and is inevitably going to start getting in on some points if he stays there. Working to Nichuskin's advantage is that the other lines are producing so well, he almost has to stay on the top line so as not to spoil the other units' momentum.

Defensemen rising and falling

Alec Martinez, D, Los Angeles Kings (enters ranks at No. 127): Perhaps the best way to point out how impressive Martinez's scoring has been is to compare him to another Kings player. Martinez has played in 55 games this season, while forward Mike Richards has played in 76. They both have 11 goals. The power-play time on the top unit has certainly been beneficial, but Martinez is producing at even strength, too. Still available in 84 percent of ESPN leagues (which is crazy and won't last another two days), Martinez is about as great an addition to your defense for the final few weeks as you can possibly find on the waiver wire.

Goaltenders rising and falling

Tuukka Rask, G, Boston Bruins (down 17 spots to No. 31): As mentioned already, the Bruins need only three more wins to clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the playoffs. But more to the point, Chad Johnson has been playing admirably behind Rask to the point that the team has been confident in reducing Rask's workload even before the Olympic break. Johnson should get almost a 50 percent share of the crease for the final few weeks, which hurts Rask's overall value.

Kari Lehtonen, G, Dallas Stars (up 16 spots to No. 75): The Stars have been hot on offense, better on defense, are in the hunt for the playoffs and are on the high end of the scale with eight games remaining. Those arguments make a case for Lehtonen as one of the better goaltenders for the remaining schedule. If you are battling closely with his owner in either rotisserie or head-to-head leagues, you should make plans to have stronger goaltending than you might have expected.

Pekka Rinne, G, Nashville Predators (down 69 spots to No. 113): In what has to be considered one of the most disappointing finishes to a campaign for a player who is usually considered elite, Rinne is beyond unreliable for his owners down the stretch. Since March 15, his only fantasy game that could be considered a positive was a shutout of the Blackhawks. He's allowed at least four goals in five other contests during that time, most recently giving up seven goals to the Stars. The stretch has been made even more concerning because it doesn't appear to be a systemic team issue, as Carter Hutton has been solid in his stead. Rinne has the talent to turn things around, but his owners need to have some backup plans in place.