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This week’s fantasy hockey article includes Vegas’ No. 1 center warm-up, the rat rolls, Cody (who?) In Edmonton, a veteran netminder carrying the islands in the playoffs, Kadri going down and a falling wreath.
First Liners (Risers)
Steven Stamkos, C, TB
Stamkos extended his points series to six games on Saturday. During that time, Stamko has 10 points (five goals, five assists), increasing his season total to 32 goals and 76 points in 67 games. With this hot streak, Stamkos now has 471 career goals and as many assists in 908 games. Assuming he has a typical season next year, he should score 500 goals and 500 assists in what would eventually become a Hall of Fame career.
Jack Eichel, C, LV
If Vegas is to return to the playoffs, Eichel will have to carry the load Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone set on the sideline. The 25-year-old has picked up four goals and a couple of assists in his last five games, even though the Knights are only 3-2 in those games. For the season, the star center has 17 points, 89 shots on the 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 off-season.
Brad Marchand, LW, BIM
The rat is starting to get hot. Marchand saw his four-match, nine-point streak – which increased his score to 71 in 58 matches – end on Monday. However, the fierce winger has 350 goals and 436 assists in 862 games. Signed for 2023-24, Marchand should easily reach 400 goals by the end of his contract and break 900 points for his career as he has shown no signs of slowing down despite his physical playing style. As he continues to age, the only question will be whether his production eventually craters due to the contact he has absorbed.
Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, WPG
Ehlers turned on the light on Saturday and continues to be a goal machine with eight numbers in his last 11 games. The winger is up on 22 goals, 41 points, 197 shots on the net and a plus-10 rating in 50 games this season and retains a top-six role. With a dozen games left, the Danish native was able to hit the 50 points for the fourth time in his career despite missing about 25 percent of the season due to an injury.
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Cody Ceci, D, EDM
Ceci continued his run with surprisingly late-season production by packing a few apples on Saturday and another helper on Sunday. The veteran has thrived in a bigger role in his last 13 games, where he has picked up two goals, eight assists, 31 blocked shots and a plus-nine rating. Edmonton is third in the Pacific with 12 games left. Played by Cecil along with Darnell nurse has been a big key to the team winning nine moves at home to shoot up the Western Conference standings.
Kris Letang D, PIT
It is quite interesting that Letang’s name is lost when discussing the best blueliners in the league. Maybe it’s because the Pitt defender has missed so much time in his career with an injury. But when he’s on the ice, he’s extremely productive. Letang has got seven assistants in his current four-game points series and is up on 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 in jeopardy.
Semyon Varlamov, G, NYI
Varlamov has taken advantage Ilya Sorokin‘s absence (undisclosed) to secure three wins in a row, including a 3-0 shutout over Rangers on Friday. It’s been a disappointing season for the veteran, but he’s gone up when needed lately to help keep the Islanders on the edge of the playoffs. Sorokin has no timetable to return, and until he is activated, Varlamov will see most of the action between the tubes, supported by Cory Schneider.
Jake Oettinger, G, DAL
Dallas has reached a point from Vegas to the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Oettinger has been between the pipes most nights lately for the Stars, with wins in five of his last eight starts to improve to 24-12-1 with 2.49 goals against the average and 0.916 save percentage. The future is now for Minnesota natives with only Scott Wedgewood provide support between the pipes due to the damage 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 listed)
Olofsson has come alive since the beginning of March and has scored eight goals and 11 points in 16 games. The Swedish winger has 15 goals and 20 assistants 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, where he scored 42 and 32 points in 54 and 56 games, respectively. If he stays reasonably warm, Olofsson should establish career height in assists and points.
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Fitness room (injuries)
Nazem Kadri, C, COL
Avalanche has become a MASH department lately and has lost Gabriel Landeskog and Kadri. Colorado’s second line center suffered an upper body injury after a big hit on Thursday and will be lost until the playoffs. As an unlimited free agent after the season, Kadri has enjoyed a career year in 2021-22, having scored a striking 26 goals and 83 points through 65 games. The injury should not affect his future earnings or result in Avalanche losing the home ice advantage to the Western Conference playoffs, but it will prevent him from having a shot of 100 points this season.
Others include Clayton Keller (broken leg, got March 30, when he hit the boards, underwent surgery, out 4-6 months)Sean Monahan (hip, ready to be operated on, out the rest of the season)Ryan Strome (lower body, missed the last four matches)Kyle Connor (COVID, may be back next week)Troy Terry (undisclosed, Saturday Sunday match)Robin Lehner (undisclosed, out since March 8, started Sunday)Ilya Sorokin (upper body, missed last four matches) and Jack Campbell (ribs, returned after 10 matches absence with a win Saturday).
Fourth Liners / Press Boxers (Fallers)
Dylan Cozens, C, BUF
Cozens ended a drought of six games with a couple of assists on March 28 and followed with two more apples two games later. Unfortunately, the seventh overall pick has not turned on the light since February 25, a span of 17 matches. Cozens has still added nine assists in that period, making him somewhat productive. But he has only 12 goals in 67 games this season. Despite the 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, foam, rinse, repeat. After seemingly taking a big step forward by scoring one goal and four assists in seven games, Romanov has failed to hit the target in his last five games. If there is a golden edge, he has seen no less than 21:14 in any of these competitions, though this is offset by his almost complete lack of power-play time on ice, which limits his ability to produce.
Philipp Grubauer, G, SEA
Grubauer parlayed his solid 2020-21 campaign with Avalanche into a $ 35.4 million six-year deal with Kraken. It has been a nightmarish season for the German net guard, who has allowed at least three goals in six of his eight games since the start of March. The 30-year-old goalkeeper is 15-28-5 with a 3.19 GAA and a .888 save percentage in 49 games. He will probably share the time with Chris Driedger in April, far from what he and the team expected when he signed 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.
Playing to cut
Conor Garland, RW, VAN
Garland has had a solid first season in Vancouver, but for a while it certainly looked like he would end up with a much better production. Since February 24, the winger has only had six assists in 17 games, leaving him with 14 goals and 22 assists in 65 games. Despite the significant drop in production, Garland is still experiencing top-line minutes as Vancouver has few other options available to fill this space, which could make a trade possible.