If your fantasy hockey league team is suffering from unexpected injuries (Dion Phaneuf, Drew Doughty, Brian Rafalski), or expected injuries (Marian Gaborik, Sami Salo, Simon Gagne), you should have a headache when pondering your team's early season failures. The silver lining in struggling through injuries is that you may be able to snag some players off the waiver-wire, to replace these injured players, or to correct the error of your ways if you drafted Devon Setoguchi. Either way, if these players are hanging around your waiver wire, or if you can swing a deal or two, nab these youngsters. These wunderkind weren't necessarily the super sexy pre-season draft picks like Jordan Eberle or Taylor Hall, but they've acquitted themselves extremely well early in the young season and should be scooped up before it's too late.
F - Jeff Skinner - Carolina Hurricanes
Skinner has accumulated 12 points through his first 14 games, and is playing loads of minutes for the Hurricanes. He has seemingly supplanted Brandon Sutter on the team's second line and is seeing regular duty on the power play. Skinner has shown consistency this year beyond that of most players his age. A first round pick (10th overall) in the 2010 draft, Skinner looks to be a keeper. If he is available in your league - snatch him up ASAP.
F - Artem Anisimov - New York Rangers
We've been following Anisimov since last year's pre-season where he electrified fans with some stunning goals. This year is his sophomore campaign and he is making the most of his opportunity with injuries to key forwards for the Rangers. Anisimov has garnered 11 points through 13 games, putting him on a 20 goal, 70 point pace. The towering 6'4" center has some slick hands. Averaging 17:33 per game in ice time, including power play time, he is on many people's watch list. Get him now before it's too late
F - Derick Brassard - Columbus Blue Jackets
After getting 25 points in 31 games in 2008-2009, Brassard took a step back last year, recording only 36 points in a 'full' 71 game season. Despite injury woes, and suffering through the Ken Hitchcock regime in Columbus, Brassard persevered and finds himself centering the uber-talented Rick Nash this year. Since the move Brassard has come to life - gathering five goals and three assists in a seven game point streak. Brassard may never become the star once thought, but it is possible he could be a point a game player alongside Nash.
D - Erik Karlsson - Ottawa Senators
Under-sized but not under-talented, the 5'11" 195 pound blue liner is putting it all together this season, with eight points through his first 14 games. With veteran Sergei Gonchar there to learn from, big things are expected from Erik Karlsson this season. He is averaging 21 minutes per night, and looking to build on his rookie season in which he scored 26 points in only 60 games. With the pace he's going this year, 40 points should be likely, perhaps more.
D - Alex Pietrangelo - St. Louis Blues
The fourth pick overall in the 2008 draft is joining Erik Johnson to form a formidable young corps of blue liners in St. Louis. Pietrangelo has all the tools necessary to excel at the NHL level. His 6'3" frame provides a booming shot that should help him anchor the Blues power play for years to come. Pietrangelo has 6 points through 11 games this year. Those solid point totals accompany a lofty +7 +/- rating, and an average of about 20 minutes per night on the ice. If you are in a keeper league, and someone is silly enough to part with him, nab Pietrangelo now.
G - Michael Neuvirth - Washington Capitals
The 22 year old goaltender has impressed many with his early season play, replacing the injured Simyeon Varlamov in style. Neuvirth boasts a 2.41 GAA and .914 SV% for the high flying Capitals. While those numbers are certainly impressive, consider as well the run and gun style the Capitals play, and you can see why so many people are high on this young goaltender.
There you have it - six young NHLers who may still be flying under the radar in your fantasy hockey league. If any of these players are still available - grab them - especially in keeper leagues.