In every single fantasy hockey format, C Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning was one of the first players taken off the board. The center has averaged 1.16 points per game over his previous four seasons and has earned his first round fantasy grade.
Unfortunately, Stamkos went down this week with an agonizing injury, which left the fantasy world absolutely devastated. The superstar hit the goalpost at full speed in a game versus the Boston Bruins and ended up suffering a displaced fracture of his tibia. He had surgery to place a steel rod through the full length of the tibia and the timetable for his return is still not clear. Some reports have Stamkos returning as early as 3-6 weeks. Either way, the superstar likely won’t be returning anytime soon.
The 23-year-old was ranked third in the NHL in points (23) before his injury and was carrying the team’s offense. He scored 14 goals and added nine assists through 17 games, including 13 points in his last nine games alone. He was truly having another MVP caliber season and that only makes the injury harder to deal with.
Stamkos was an elite option before going on the shelf, but his latest setback has left many fantasy owners without their first round pick. The waiver wire is always filled with centers that can produce, though, so make sure to hit the wire hard this week if you own Stamkos.