What's next for St. Louis after Stamkos' injury?
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Steven Stamkos injury is obviously a crushing blow to fantasy owners who had the good fortune of drafting him in the first place.

There's nothing that can be done to replace his production -- he's tied for the NHL lead in goals and points as of Tuesday morning -- so owners are going to have to try different hot hands and look into buying low on struggling stars to make up some of the difference.

But what about Martin St. Louis, Stamkos' Tampa Bay Lightning linemate?

St. Louis certainly isn't solely a product of Stamkos' presence; in 996 career games, the 38-year-old has 928 points, and Stamkos has only been around since 2008. But that doesn't mean Stamkos' absence won't have any effect at all either.

St. Louis has rarely been on the ice without Stamkos this season.

Of all the Tampa Bay 5-on-5 line combinations that include St. Louis, just two do not also include Stamkos and they have usage rates of 0.88 percent and 0.57 percent, according to leftwinglock.com.

The top power-play line of St. Louis, Stamkos, Teddy Purcell and Ryan Malone has been used 48.1 percent of the line, and the St. Louis-Stamkos combo has been used together 60.2 percent of the time on the team's power plays.

St. Louis has seven goals, nine assists and 43 shots on goal (SOG) in 17 games this season after winning the Art Ross Trophy with 60 points a season ago.

Just three of his 16 points have come on the power play this season after he scored 20 of his 60 points with the man advantage in 2012-13, so he's been relying on his even-strength partnership with Stamkos to produce most of his points this season.

Now that he'll have to play with some combination of Ryan Malone, Alex Killorn and Tyler Johnson for the next 4-6 months, his 5-on-5 production surely will drop off, and the team's power-play isn't likely to improve without its best player.

St. Louis isn't suddenly going to become a stiff, in fantasy or reality, but if you can sell him at his pre-Stamkos-injury value or even a slightly lower level you should make the move.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

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