With only two goals and six assists in 20 games on the season, Detroit Red Wings forward Mike Modano was by no means a Fantasy Hockey stud before his injury over the weekend against the Columbus Blue Jackets. But his injury, which is expected to sideline Modano until close to playoff time, could allow some other Red Wings players to step up and shine both on the ice and on your Fantasy roster. Here are a couple players that might be look a second glance in the coming weeks if you’re in need of an offensive boost.
Justin Abdelkader will see significantly more playing time as he steps in to center the third line with former 20-goal scorers Jiri Hudler and Dan Cleary on his wings. With seven points in 13 games, most of which came as a fourth line grinder, Abdelkader has the skill set to play in the top-6 and seems to get better every game. He will get ample opportunity to create offense and help fill Modano’s shoes on the third line. Abdelkader also excels in hits and shot block categories if your league rewards for those stats.
Dan Cleary, who is already off to an impressive start with 10 goals and five assists in 21 games, will also be looked upon to shoulder the load and help carry the offense. He might be worth a look if your league is deep and he hasn’t been snatched up already.
One real anomaly on the team is Jiri Hudler. In his first stint with the Wings before defecting to Russia for last season before rejoining the team this year, Hudler managed to increase his scoring production in each season he played and finally topped out at 23 goals and 57 points in 2008-09. However, Hudler has struggled to find his way this year and only has six points in 18 games and has often found himself the odd man out as a healthy scratch. However, Hudler replaced Modano on the point of the second power play unit this past Sunday against Columbus. With a bomb of a shot and excellent play making abilities, Hudler could see a lot more power play time this season as a point man which will give him more ice time and hopefully help increase his sluggish production.
The Wings currently boast the second best goals per game average in the league and the 10th best power play percentage. Some of these players may be worth keeping an eye on if your league is deep and you need options for players with the possibility to have breakout campaigns. At least stash them on your watch list and see how things pan out over the next few weeks. Abdelkader seems to have the most room to benefit and will finally see steady ice time for the first time in his young career. He has been a workhorse this season and continues to get rewarded for his stellar play and his work ethic.
While no exact timetable has been given for Modano’s return after suffering a severed tendon and some nerve damage in his right wrist, the team hopes that Modano can make it back in time to get back up to speed before the playoffs roll around in April.