Saturday, January 28 2023

Special to Yahoo Sports

In this space, we’ll look at which NHL players are seeing their fantasy hockey values rise or fall on a week-to-week basis.

This week’s article includes a hot center in the Desert, Jake from Pittsburgh guaranteeing production, the return to form of an Edmonton D-man, the Flower blooming and Vasy scuffling.

First Liners (Risers)

Clayton Keller, C, ARI

When thinking of first-line centers, Keller’s name doesn’t usually come to mind. But over the last two seasons, he’s been close to a point-per-game player, living up to his seventh overall selection in the 2016 draft. Last season, Keller posted 28 goals and 35 assists in 67 games. He’s slightly increased that per-game production this season, potting six lamplighters with 11 apples in 15 contests and producing at least one point in 12 of 14 games, including each of his last five.

Nick Suzuki, C, MTL

Suzuki, selected 13th overall in 2017 by Vegas, took a major step forward last year, especially after Martin St. Louis was hired as coach. After scoring 41 points in each of his first two NHL seasons, Suzuki played in all 82 games, posting career highs in goals (21), assists (40), points (61), shots on goal (186) and power-play points (20). This year, Suzuki, skating with Kirby Dach and Cole Caufield, is up to 10 goals and nine assists in 15 games. Even more impressive is that after posting an unsightly minus-29 rating last year, Suzuki is a plus-6 so far this season.

Jake Guentzel, LW, PIT

Guentzel scored for the fourth straight contest Friday, and despite getting shut out Saturday, he now has eight goals in his last 11 games. His hot streak dates to last season. Starting from April 12, Guentzel has 15 goals among 26 points over his past 18 appearances. Skating to Sidney Crosby‘s left, Guentzel potted 40 goals last season and in 2018-19. His early hot streak gives the sniper a chance to match or exceed that total, though there is certainly a long way to go.

Tim Stutzle, LW, OTT

Somewhat quietly, Stutzle is finding his form. After notching a goal and five assists in his first nine games — with all the scoring coming in three of those contests — Stutzle has hit the scoresheet in five of his last six games. During that stretch, the third overall selection in the 2020 draft has four goals and five assists to give the 20-year-old winger five markers and 10 apples in 15 contests. Skating on the top line with Claude Giroux and Brady Tkachuk, Stutzle should exceed the 58 points he posted in 79 games during his sophomore season in the NHL last year.

Alex Pietrangelo, D, VGK

Last season, Pietrangelo topped the 40-point plateau (44) for the fifth time in the past six years and averaged more than 24 minutes per game (24:39) for the 11th straight year. This season is shaping up to possibly be even better offensively. Pietrangelo has 13 points through 16 games along with 20 hits, 35 shots on net, 37 blocked shots and a plus-3 rating. The slight difference, besides the scoring pace he is on, is that the veteran blueliner is seeing about a minute less per game in ice time though he is averaging 30 seconds more in power-play time.

Tyson Barrie D, EDM

Barrie continued his return to form Saturday, notching two goals in the Oilers‘ 4-2 win over the Panthers. It’s not as if Barrie was completely unproductive his first two seasons in Edmonton, but his output left you wanting more. This year, Barrie has points in four straight and in six of his last seven contests. During that stretch, he’s potted the previously mentioned two goals plus six assists to give him 12 points in 16 games. As the point man on the potent Edmonton power play, Barrie is in a very good position to remain extremely productive.

Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie is in position to remain extremely productive in fantasy hockey.Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie is in position to remain extremely productive in fantasy hockey.

Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie should continue to be a productive fantasy hockey player. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

Martin Jones, G, SEA

Raise your hand if you thought Jones would end up as Seattle’s No. 1 netminder and play well. As expected, not many. Jones has benefited from an injury to Philipp Grubauer to see additional playing time, but he’s more than taken advantage of the opportunity. After enduring several rough seasons between the pipes, Jones hasn’t allowed more than two goals in five straight starts. Overall, the 32-year-old netminder is 7-4-2 with a 2.38 goals-against average and .909 save percentage through 13 appearances.

Marc-Andre Fleury, G, MIN

After looking like he had wilted, the Flower is blooming again in Minnesota. Fleury stopped 28 shots Friday to notch the 72nd shutout of his illustrious career and first with the Wild. Seattle is the 28th franchise Fleury has shut out, passing Ed Belfour, Dominik Hasek, Martin Brodeur and Tomas Vokoun for the most in NHL history. After beginning the year slowly, MAF has allowed one goal or fewer in three of his last four starts, upping his season marks to 6-3-1 with a 2.87 goals-against average (GAA) and a .905 save percentage through 11 outings.

Others include Filip Chytil, Elias Pettersson, Tage Thompson, Nicolas Roy, Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Phil Kessel, Chris Kreider, Jason Zucker, Morgan Rielly, Miro Heiskanen, Rasmus Andersson, Josh Morrissey, Ilya Sorokin, Connor Hellebuyck and Karel Vejmelka.

Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)

Alexander Kerfoot, C, TOR

Kerfoot was a revelation last season, his third as a Maple Leaf, but has crashed back to earth this year. Signed to a four-year, $14 million contract with the Leafs in July 2019, Kerfoot’s 51 points last season matched his production from the prior two seasons combined. Kerfoot has turned back into a pumpkin this year, posting just one goal and four assists through 16 games. Slated to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, Kerfoot will need to find his game to earn a solid contract in the offseason.

Oliver Wahlstrom, LW, NYI

Wahlstrom, a first-round pick in 2018, has yet to find his stride. Drafted as a potential sniper, Wahlstrom scored just 13 times in 73 games last season, including just one goal in his final 17 contests. This year, Wahlstrom has seen time on the fourth line as coach Lane Lambert has attempted to light a fire under the young winger. The talent is most certainly there, but you must wonder if and when Wahlstrom will put it all together. Maybe the power-play goal he scored Monday will be the start, though he logged just 10:01, including a mere 0:30 on the power play.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, TBL

Who replaced Vasilevskiy with a subpar replica? Vasilevskiy was a Vezina Trophy finalist in every season from 2017-18 through 2021-22, but he’s struggled so far this year. After allowing five goals on 24 shots and taking the loss Friday and three goals in 22 shots while earning the win Sunday, Vasilevskiy is just 5-5-1 with a 3.10 GAA and .898 save percentage on the year. In addition, he’s allowed at least three goals in each of his last seven contests. His track record suggests he should bounce back as the season progresses — the only question (hopefully) is when.

Others include Adrian Kempe, Ryan Johansen, Alex Killorn, Andrew Mangiapane, Michael Bunting, Moritz Seider, Damon Severson, Jaroslav Halak and John Gibson.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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