Fantasy HockeyJosh Kay

2013 NHL Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire Wednesday, Week 10: Replacing Zetterberg

Yesterday, Detroit Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg was diagnosed with a back injury that will require at least two weeks of rest and recuperation. The 33-year-old Swede is going to be tough to replace, as he comes in at number five in our Top-100 forward rankings. Obviously when it comes to a player of his caliber, replacement isn’t the question — it’s can you minimize the decrease in production.

With Zetterberg’s fellow center-man Pavel Datsyuk (concussion) also out, the Red Wings will likely turn to the red-hot Darren Helm to supply some much needed offense. Helm kicks off the potential waiver wire replacement options.

Forwards:

Darren Helm– Detroit Red Wings: (32.9% owned) The 26-year-old center has been white-hot of late, scoring nine (of his total 10) points in as many games. Helm’s six goals in this nine game span comes on just 17 shots — good for a 35.29 shot percentage for this nine game sample. Obviously that pace won’t continue, but if Helm is bumped up to play with Gustav Nyquist and Johan Franzen (which we expect to happen), the Winnipeg native will flourish from the jump up. For deep league owners, Zetterberg’s injury paves the way for the call-up of center Cory EmmertonExpect the 25-year-old Emmerton to log third-line/fourth-line minutes. Until he proves otherwise, he isn’t a reasonable fantasy commodity, but Helm definitely is.

Scottie Upshall– Florida Panthers: (31.4% owned) The 30-year-old winger has become substantially less aggressive since his age 23 season. Here is a look at Upshall’s shots per game numbers over the past few years.

Year Games Played Shots Per Game
2006-2007 32 2.72
2007-2008 61 2.10
2008-2009 74 2.59
2009-2010 49 2.43
2010-2011 82 2.33
2011-2012 26 2.04
2012-2013 27 2.00
2013-2014 24 1.75

Under Kevin Dineen Upshall clearly was discouraged from shooting. In fact, through November 7th against Boston (Dineen’s last game behind the bench), Upshall tallied just 15 shots in 13 games. That paltry rate has not continued under new coach Peter Horachek. Under Horachek, the former first-round pick has 32 shots in 12 games — stretched over a full season that would be his highest career rate if it continued. Upshall, a native of Fort McMurray, Alberta has averaging a point per game over his past 10 games. He’s a shrewd pickup.

David Desharnais– Montreal Canadiens: (3.6% owned) Desharnais has really benefited from centering the white-hot Max Paciorettyas well as Brendan GallagherIn his last seven games, the 27-year-old French-Canadian has eight points. Desharnais had a career year in 2011-2012 which saw him earn a contract of 4-yrs $14-million that began this season. The contract, that came off the basis of his 60 point 2011-2012 campaign, was beginning to look like a huge mistake after the the diminutive 5’7 forward got off to a rocky start — posting one point in his first 19 games this year. If Desharnais can keep this up, he may avoid the bust label.

Justin Abdelkader– Detroit Red Wings: (1.6% owned) Abdelkader has benefited from being bumped up to the second-line with fellow winger Daniel AlfredssonThe 26-year-old Abdelkader, a native of Muskegon, Michigan, has a point in four straight games. More importantly, he’s skated 19 minutes in three of those games, and 17 minutes in the other one. He’s also plus-4 during this stretch. He’s a sneaky deep-league add.

Defense:

Andrej Sekera– Carolina Hurricanes: (57.7% owned) The 27-year-old Czechoslovakian blue-liner returned to the ice yesterday with a goal against the Washington Capitals. Before his return in this game, the former third-round pick missed three games with an upper-body injury. Further, before that, Sekera had a four game stretch during which he posted five points (3 G, 2 A) as well as a plus-six rating. Add him.

Jan Hejda– Colorado Avalanche: (47.3% owned) The 35-year-old defenseman has been a plus-minus god this year — racking up a plus-17 so far. In addition, the Czechoslovakian has four points in his past six games.

Eric Gelinas– New Jersey Devils: (35.3% owned) If your league doesn’t use plus-minus, or you’re well set in the category, Gelinas is an offensive-minded defenseman to target. The 22-year-old rookie has six points in his past eight games, and has been the catalyst of the Devils power-play unit. The downside to Gelinas, in addition to his plus-minus, is that he is averaging just under 19 and a half minutes per game — not an ideal amount from a defenseman. He’s best utilized on a team that owns Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter.

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