Especially for Yahoo Sports
Do you remember last week when I apparently gave up on my fantasy hockey playoff game after losing a couple of big names – and later a third – due to an injury? Well, you will be glad to know that I managed to win and advance to the semifinals of the RotoWire Staff Keeper Hockey League.
And right into a head-to-head towards the top seed where I am expected to be wiped out. Or not.
Regardless of format or activity, RotoWire can provide you with the latest news and offer lots of in-depth material.
We’re down for the last few weeks. Below are a few names to help you through.
(Timeline / statistics as of April 14.)
Trevor Zegras, ANH (Yahoo: 49%)
If you said before the season that Zegras would soar about 50 percent in the list in April, it would probably be assumed he would fight or be injured. Looking at his recent return, that also does not explain the case with 11 points and 29 shots in 11 games, while he has an average of 20:40, including 2:40 on powerplay. None of the Ducks’ last seven opponents are elite when it comes to the GAA, so the Zegras can accumulate plenty of attacks.
Ivan Barbashev, STL (Yahoo: 42%)
Despite already darkened career highs with 23 goals, 30 assists and 108 shots along with 141 hits (three from matching a highlight), Barbashev remains available in most leagues. And it’s not like he’s struggled lately, as he just got a six-match scoring streak that was accompanied by 23 hits. Skating on the third line may sound like a deterrent, but the Blues’ front line is strong. Barbashev has also covered you if you are looking for special team help as he is significantly involved on both sides.
Paul Stastny, WPG (Yahoo: 27%)
Stastny’s statistics have fallen in previous years, but he is back in the flow with eight points and 19 shots in eight outings. Most of that success came on the wing with either Mark Scheifele or Pierre-Luc Dubois down the middle. Scheifele missed Monday’s match and Stastny was returned to center, where he scored a goal, fired four pucks on the net and won 10 faceoffs. That ranking may only be temporary, though Stastny’s position really does not matter unless he falls out of the top six.
Matthew Boldy, MIN (Yahoo: 14%)
Boldy went on a tear after being promoted by rejecting 12 goals and 15 assists in his first 35 NHL games. That momentum was briefly stopped due to an injury, but he appears to have progressed, escaping with three points in two. And although Boldy has not existed for a long time, he is already up to double digits in power-play points and is on Wilds top unit. Add him before another heat wave comes.
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Conor Sheary, WAS (Yahoo: 2%)
When it comes to favorable placement, Sheary gave advantage after being paired with Sidney Crosby all the way back when. This has generally not been the case since, but recent lines have him next door Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov in equal strength and it has resulted in three points in two games. That status probably does not last too long TJ Oshie and Tom Wilson lurking on the right, so enjoy Sheary’s rise while it lasts.
Alex Chiasson, VAN (Yahoo: 1%)
In terms of being in the right place at the right time, Chiasson can not complain about his current place on Vancouver’s best powerplay. Getting to work with four talented teammates has directly led to four PPPs in the last four games. That alone could cement anyone’s imagination, but Chiasson’s increase in value further after hitting 16 shots and six hits on the same stretch. As long as that device stays warm, he’s probably going nowhere.
Matty Beniers, SEA (Yahoo: 1%)
The Beniers led the University of Michigan in scoring this season on a stacked lineup and immediately jumped to Kraken for his first game on Tuesday, where he noted an assist for 17 plus minutes. The second pick from last summer also centered on Seattle’s first man advantage while taking 12 faceoffs. Although the team will not necessarily rush Beniers into a starring role, there is no reason to hold him back as he is clearly ready for NHL competition.
Bobby Brink, PHI (Yahoo: 1%)
Brink’s University of Denver spoiled Michigan’s Frozen Four hopes in the semifinals and took the title. The former second-round pick also led the NCAA by scoring 57 points and was a Hobey Baker finalist. And just like the Beniers, Brink debuted on Tuesday and managed an assist – even though his came on the powerplay – while adding two shots, two hits and two blocks. The Flyers could certainly use some offensive firepower up front, and Brink should give that spark.
Alec Martinez, VGK (Yahoo: 35%)
Martinez spent most of the season on the shelf and did not return until two weeks ago. He impressed last year with 31 points, plus-26 and 168 hits and looks set to get back in shape with a goal, two assists and 21 hits from seven games. Martinez could see his ice age rise as Vegas continues its rise to a place in the playoffs. And with all the big names available again, he is queuing up to increase his offensive contributions.
Owen Power, BUF (Yahoo: 14%)
The Beniers were not the only UofM skater to make his NHL debut on Tuesday when Power started his career in Toronto with friends and family in the stands. The first overall pick from the 2021 draft did not find the target, but held out in less than 20 minutes en route to a 5-2 victory over their cross-border rivals. Since the Sabers do not have much to play for, you can expect Power to get a longer look and get involved in the power game.
Vladislav Gavrikov, CLS (Yahoo: 8%)
Raise your hand if you know Gavrikov has 32 points – and you do not live in Ohio. That number is only a fraction of the fantasy equation, considering he also got 89 shots, 60 PIM, 117 hits and 125 blocks. Gavrikov only appears on special teams as the leader on the penalty kill, though he will continue to get chances to build on his totals as he averages 22 minutes a night within a relatively decent scoring Columbus attack.
Timothy Liljegren TOR (Yahoo: 1%)
Offensive upside does not guarantee a place in the ranks, and Liljegren is a recent proof of this with four healthy scratches since the beginning of March. However, he has also recorded three goals, seven assists, 22 shots, 31 hits and a plus-11 in the same period. The lily branch had been mated with Mark Giordano after the latter arrived in Toronto but was moved next door Morgan Rielly Tuesday and immediately yielded with a goal, four shots and four hits. It’s probably best to monitor his progress over the next few fights before bringing him on board.
Kaapo Kahkonen, SJ (Yahoo: 27%)
Since James Reimer was discussed a week ago, he left last Thursday’s match and Kahkonen quit. The Finn eventually started the next two and combined for 77 saves, including all 40 in the regulation against the Preds on Tuesday, before scoring on their lone shot in the OT. Kahkonen was pretty solid while in Minnesota and is almost nine years younger than Reimer, so the Sharks should give him more runs the rest of the season if they believe he’s their future No. 1.
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Nico Daws, NJ (Yahoo: 5%)
Quick turnaround for Daws here after first being mentioned in early March. 3.52 GAA, .886 save percentage and three hooks since does not look great but the fact is he has started 15 of 17 over that stretch. It’s a clear sign that coaches trust Daws and believe he can be part of Jersey’s long-term plans. If you’re looking for another reason to add him, consider that he has won his last two. And as has been repeated in this column, all you need is sometimes the assurance of volume to pick up a goalkeeper – especially late in the season and in formats that count saves.
(Players to consider from previous columns: Nazem Kadri, Joel Eriksson Ek, Nick Schmaltz, Dylan Strome, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Tim Stutzle, Nico Hischier, Robert Thomas, Brock Nelson, Lucas Raymond, Valeri Nichushkin, Michael Bunting, Kailer Yamamoto, Ryan Hartman , Andrew Copp, Mikael Granlund, Ryan Johansen, Tyler Toffoli, Jesper Bratt, Alex Tuch, Alexander Barabanov, Kevin Hayes, Cole Caufield, Andrew Mangiapane, Jakub Voracek, Mason Marchment, Victor Olofsson, Rickard Rakell, Anthony Cirelli, Chandler Stephenson, Mathieu Joseph, Jack Roslovic, Tage Thompson, Seth Jarvis, Josh Norris, Jake DeBrusk, Boone Jenner, Troy Terry, Matt Duchene, Yegor Sharangovich, Nick Ritchie, Evan Bouchard, Jared Spurgeon, Damon Severson, Noah Hanifin, Noah Dobson, Shayne Gostisbehere, Vince Dunn, Moritz Seider, Rasmus Andersson, Josh Morrissey, Ryan Pulock, Cam Fowler, Erik Brannstrom, Bowen Byram, Sean Durzi, Ville Husso, Logan Thompson, Jonathan Quick, Jake Oettinger, Anton Forsberg, Mike Smith, Spence r Knigh t, Antti Raanta)