Thursday, September 29 2022

Special to Yahoo Sports

This week’s fantasy hockey article includes Vegas’ No. 1 center heating up, the Rat rolling, Cody (who?) in Edmonton, a veteran netminder carrying the Isles into playoff contention, Kadri going down and a slumping Garland.

First Liners (Risers)

Steven Stamkos, C, TB

Stamkos extended his point streak to six games Saturday. During that span, Stamkos has 10 points (five goals, five assists), increasing his season totals to 32 goals and 76 points in 67 games. With this hot streak, Stamkos now has career 471 goals and as many assists in 908 games. Assuming he has a typical season next year, he should crack 500 goals and 500 assists in what should eventually be a Hall of Fame career.

Jack Eichel, C, LV

If Vegas is going to return to the playoffs, Eichel will have to carry the load with Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone sidelined. The 25-year-old has picked up four tallies and a pair of assists in his last five games, though the Knights are just 3-2 in those games. For the season, the star center has 17 points, 89 shots on net, a plus-two rating, 28 blocked shots and 28 hits in 23 outings in a top-line role. Eichel may need to find another level to help push the Knights into the postseason.

Brad Marchand, LW, BOS

The Rat is starting to heat up. Marchand saw his four-game, nine-point streak — which increased his points to 71 in 58 games — end on Monday. However, the feisty winger has 350 goals and 436 assists in 862 games. Signed through 2023-24, Marchand should easily hit 400 goals by the end of his deal and breach 900 points for his career as he has shown no signs of slowing despite his physical style of play. As he continues to age, the only question will be if his production eventually craters due to the contact he has absorbed.

Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins is a fantasy hockey starBrad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins is a fantasy hockey star

Brad Marchand is back to making a serious fantasy hockey impact. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, WPG

Ehlers lit the lamp Saturday and continues to be a goal-scoring machine with eight tallies in his last 11 games. The winger is up to 22 goals, 41 points, 197 shots on net and a plus-10 rating in 50 games this season, maintaining a top-six role. With a dozen or so games remaining, the Denmark native could hit the 50-point mark for the fourth time in his career despite missing about 25 percent of the season due to injury.

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Cody Ceci, D, EDM

Ceci continued his run of surprisingly late-season production by bagging a pair of apples Saturday and another helper Sunday. The veteran has thrived in a larger role in his last 13 games, picking up two goals, eight helpers, 31 blocked shots and a plus-nine rating. Edmonton is third in the Pacific with 12 games remaining. The play of Ceci along with Darnell Nurse has been a huge key in the team winning nine straight at home to shoot up the Western Conference standings.

Kris Letang D, PIT

It’s quite interesting that Letang’s name gets lost when discussing the top blueliners in the league. Maybe it’s because the Pitt defenseman has missed so much time in his career with injury. But when he is on the ice, he is highly productive. Letang has notched seven helpers in his current four-game point streak and is up to seven goals and 53 assists, giving him at least 60 points for the second time in his career. Letang’s career-high 67 points set in 2015-16 is clearly at risk.

Semyon Varlamov, G, NYI

Varlamov has taken advantage of Ilya Sorokin‘s absence (undisclosed) to notch three consecutive wins, including a 3-0 shutout over the Rangers on Friday. It’s been a disappointing season for the veteran netminder, but he has stepped up when needed lately to help keep the Islanders on the fringes of the playoff race. Sorokin has no timetable to return, and until he is activated, Varlamov will see most of the action between the pipes, supported by Cory Schneider.

Jake Oettinger, G, DAL

Dallas has pulled to within a point of Vegas for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Oettinger has been between the pipes most nights lately for the Stars, notching wins in five of his last eight starts to improve to 24-12-1 with a 2.49 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. The future is now for the Minnesota native with only Scott Wedgewood providing support between the pipes due to the injuries to Braden Holtby, Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin.

Others include Dylan Strome, Erik Haula, Adrian Kempe, Brayden Schenn, Matt Duchene, Mathew Barzal, Jack Hughes, Josh Norris, Brock Nelson, Auston Matthews, Alexander Barabanov, Cole Caufield, Roope Hintz, Nick Paul, Mikko Rantanen, Mats Zuccarello, Seth Jarvis, Zach Hyman, Rickard Rakell, Yegor Sharangovich, Sean Durzi, Brent Burns, Tyson Barrie, Charlie McAvoy, Craig Anderson, Mikko Koskinen, Logan Thompson, Marc-Andre Fleury and Jake Allen.

Player to Add

Victor Olofsson, LW, BUF (9 percent rostered)

Olofsson has come alive since the beginning of March, pocketing eight goals and 11 points in 16 games. The Swedish winger has 15 goals and 20 helpers this year, which is offset by a minus-20 rating. Olofsson’s production to date is in line with his output each of his first two full seasons in the NHL, when he notched 42 and 32 points, respectively, in 54 and 56 games. If he remains reasonably hot, Olofsson should establish career highs in assists and points.

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Training Room (Injuries)

Nazem Kadri, C, COL

The Avalanche have become a MASH ward lately, losing Gabriel Landeskog and Kadri. Colorado’s second-line center suffered an upper-body injury following a big hit Thursday and will be lost until the playoffs. An unrestricted free agent after the season, Kadri has enjoyed a career year in 2021-22, having racked up an eye-popping 26 goals and 83 points through 65 games. The injury should not impact his future earnings or result in the Avalanche losing home-ice advantage for the Western Conference playoffs, but it will prevent him from having a shot at 100 points this season.

Others include Clayton Keller (broken leg, suffered March 30 when he slammed into the boards, underwent surgery, out 4-6 months), Sean Monahan (hip, set to undergo surgery, out for rest of season), Ryan Strome (lower body, missed the last four games), Kyle Connor (COVID, could be back next week), Troy Terry (undisclosed, sat Sunday’s game), Robin Lehner (undisclosed, out since March 8, started Sunday), Ilya Sorokin (upper body, missed last four games) and Jack Campbell (ribs, returned after a 10-game absence with a win Saturday).

Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)

Dylan Cozens, C, BUF

Cozens ended a six-game drought, notching a pair of assists on March 28, and followed with two more apples two games later. Unfortunately, the seventh overall pick has not lit the lamp since Feb. 25, a span of 17 games. Cozens still has added nine assists in that span, making him somewhat productive. But he has just 12 goals in 67 games this season. Despite that low output, the future is more than bright for the 21-year-old center.

Alexander Romanov, D, MTL

Romanov’s season looks like a Geiger chart — up, down, up, down, lather, rinse, repeat. After seemingly taking a major step forward by notching a goal and four assists in seven games, Romanov has failed to hit the scoresheet in his last five games. If there is a silver lining, he has not seen less than 21:14 in any of those contests, though that is offset by his near-complete lack of power-play time on ice, limiting his opportunity to produce.

Philipp Grubauer, G, SEA

Grubauer parlayed his solid 2020-21 campaign with the Avalanche into a six-year, $35.4 million deal with the Kraken. It’s been a nightmarish season for the German netminder who has allowed at least three goals in six of his eight appearances since the start of March. The 30-year-old goalie is 15-28-5 with a 3.19 GAA and an .888 save percentage in 49 games. He’ll likely split time with Chris Driedger in April, a far cry from what he and the team expected when he inked that contract.

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Others include Sam Steel, Blake Coleman, Marcus Foligno, Lawson Crouse, Noah Dobson, Dougie Hamilton, Jordan Binnington and Ilya Samsonov.

Player to Cut

Conor Garland, RW, VAN

Garland has had a solid first season in Vancouver, but for a while, it sure looked like he would end up with much better production. Since Feb. 24, the winger has just six assists in 17 games, leaving him with 14 goals and 22 helpers in 65 contests. Despite that material decline in output, Garland is still seeing top-line minutes, as Vancouver has few other options available to fill that spot, which might make a trade possible.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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