Healthy players could provide Fantasy Hockey boost

Fantasy Hockey owners looking for an upgrade to their lineup could find it this weekend if they act fast and take advantage of several of the news announcements made recently for games this weekend.

It appears as if Montreal’s power play will get a huge boost as defenseman Andrei Markov is expected to return from injury tonight when they visit the Kings. For Fantasy owners, Markov is a high-risk, high-reward type player recently. He missed most of last season with several injuries, but when he is in the lineup he is one of the better points producing defenseman in the league and a staple on Montreal’s power play. Markov is available in roughly 42% of Yahoo Fantasy Hockey leagues, so consider picking him up if you need a boost in power play points.

The St. Louis Blues, winners of seven of their last 10 games, will also get a boost when forward David Perron returns to the lineup after missing 97 games due to a concussion sustained early last season. This is great news for Perron and for the Blues and comes right on the heels of the return of Sidney Crosby, another player who was down for an extended period of time due to a concussion. In 10 games last season, Perron posted five goals and two assists before going down with the injury. He scored 20 goals and 47 points the season before and could be even better. Keep an eye on him when he returns tonight.

Speaking of concussions, it appears as if Mike Richards may have suffered one during Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers. Although the team is remaining mum on Richards’ condition and the extent of the injury, the team did place Richards on IR today meaning he will miss at least seven days. If you need a replacement for the time being, consider tapping Valtteri Filppula. Not only is Filppula red hot this season with seven goals and 20 points in 23 games, including four goals in his past five games, but the Red Wings will also play four times next week and have 14 games left in the month of December (if Richards stays out long term). Filppula remains available in 60% of Yahoo Fantasy Leagues and is well on his way to a career year.

Other options include Shawn Horcoff, who has seven goals and 10 assists and is owned in only 12% of Yahoo leagues, and Tim Connolly, who has 12 points in 13 games. Connolly is injury-prone, however, so exercise caution before you pick him up.

And good news for Toronto fans as goalie James Reimer has been cleared to play and will be available for tonight’s contest against Boston. Although he will likely serve as the backup for his first game back, Reimer started the season strong with four wins and one shutout in six starts before going down with concussion-like symptoms  and it shouldn’t take long for coach Ron Wilson to get Reimer back between the pipes soon.

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