Thursday night we lost one of the most important fantasy players in the world for the rest of the regular season. Not only was Brenden Morrow a multi-category stud, but he also played one of the most difficult positions to fill in fantasy hockey – left wing.
But his torn ACL does not just impact Brenden Morrow owners. Far from it. For better or for worse, owners of any player in the Dallas organization will feel this one.
Who is impacted?
1. Brenden Morrow – Obviously. In rotisserie leagues, finding a left winger who will get 70 points, 140 penalty minutes, plus-10 and 200 shots on goal…well, keep dreaming. In those leagues, owners will be lucky to scrape up a 35-point player who gets 75 PIMs. Possible actions: search the waiver wire for deals. Some possible available left wingers include teammate James Neal, Ryan Malone, Brendan Shanahan, Taylor Pyatt, Sergei Kostitsyn, Sean Bergenheim, Matt Cooke and Ben Eager.
2. Mike Ribeiro – One of the better set-up men in the league, Ribeiro no longer has a 30-goal scorer to pass the puck to. He was on the ice for nine of Morrow’s 14 points this year. If you remove one-third of those points (assuming a 20-goal winger replaces the 30-goal winger), then Ribeiro has 16 points in 18 games. That’s the pace he will have going forward, which would put him in that 74 to 77 range. With Morrow, he would have topped 80 points this campaign.
3. Loui Eriksson – Although Eriksson was often the other winger on the Morrow-Ribeiro line, Morrow’s loss may actually help him. The Stars need offense from the wing, and now there is one less player competing for that responsibility. Eriksson played nearly 21 minutes in Dallas’ first post-Morrow game and scored their only goal. The youngster seemed destined for 55 points this season, but now he could top 60. He has nine goals already this season, so hitting the milestone of 30 seems almost imminent.
4. James Neal – The rookie was called up temporarily to replace Jere Lehtinen. Now that there is an open roster spot, Neal could stick for good. He is a wildcard who, over a full campaign this year, could tally anywhere from 30 to 50 points.
5. Fabian Brunnstrom – It was looking as though the late-bloomer would play three and sit one all season long. An intelligent pure goal scorer, he was on his way to 20 goals, 10 assists…and a minus-12 in 60 games. With the extra roster spot, he will see all of those numbers increase slightly. Unfortunately, that will not include his plus/minus, which will probably be one of the lowest in the league come April.
6. Sean Avery – The premier agitator of the NHL, Avery saw his fourth-highest ice time all season Saturday. That includes 3:38 on the power play. If that’s a sign of things to come, his production will increase by at least 25 percent.
Dallas’ line combinations in the first post-Morrow contest: Brad Richards, with Steve Ott and Eriksson; Ribeiro, with Neal and Avery; Mike Modano, with Brunnstrom and Mark Parrish.
The Islanders’ Sean Bergenheim did not see 12 minutes of ice time in a game in his first five contests of the season. Since then, he has only been under that mark once. The result of the added responsibility is six points and 18 penalty minutes in his last 12 games. Not exactly Morrow numbers, but if the pickings are slim, he looks good for 45 points and 110 PIMs this year…
Since joining the Kings, young rearguard Kyle Quincey has 10 points in 16 games. Six of his points have come on the power play…
New Jersey defenseman Johnny Oduya has eight points in his last 10 games. Those of you who read the DobberHockey Fantasy Guide will remember that he had 21 points in his final 43 games last season…