Well, here we are. There’s one week left in the fantasy hockey regular season – at least in Yahoo! standard leagues. Some of you may have a couple of weeks to go. Some of you may already be in the thick of postseason. But for the sake of continuity and all that, we’ll call it one week to go.
At this point in the season, hot and cold players don’t matter as far as buying low and selling high go. For this week’s impressions, I’ll focus solely on under-the-radar forwards, defencemen, and goalies who could help give you an edge in the final weeks of the fantasy season.
Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@jkj0787) for anything at all. Even complaints! Without further ado, let’s take a look back at Week 20.
Note: For the sake of consistency, Yahoo! standard leagues are the baseline for all rankings and ownership rates.
All stats are as of games played through February 29.
Week 20 Fantasy Hockey Impressions
Kevin Fiala (48 percent owned) is still ripping it up, yet not even half of Yahoo! owners have caught on. Fiala is turning into a matchup-proof, elite winger. He’s on a three-game multi-point streak and has 22 points in his last 19 games. Fiala is averaging close to 3.5 shots per game in that span. At 3.2 points per 60, he’s in the company of hockey’s elite. Plus he’s firing off 10.1 shots per 60 – also among the best.
Mikael Backlund (42 percent owned) is simply on fire. For much of the season, Backlund has been waiver fodder. Now he’s sporting a 12-game stretch where he’s scored 19 points. In that timeframe, he failed to register a point in a game only once. That’s nine goals and 10 assists in 12 games. Plus 40 shots. And if your league counts faceoffs, he’s adding value there as well given his centre and winger eligibility.
It’s been four years since Adam Henrique (30 percent owned) reached the 30-goal milestone, but he’s on pace to get there this season. Fantasy hockey owners out there should probably make sure this guy is rostered. Henrique has seven goals and 12 points in his last 10 games. He shoots, hits, and blocks a decent amount as well.
Another Blackhawk providing some great late-season value is Dominik Kubalik (48 percent owned). In his last eight games, Kubalik has seven goals and 11 points. His rate metrics are nearly identical to Fiala’s. Kubalik is at 3.0 points per 60 and also at 10.1 shots per 60. You can slot him into either wing position.
Bobby Ryan (eight percent owned) is the feel-good story of the year so far. Yes, David Ayres and his epic win were amazing, but Ryan overcoming his past struggles to net a hat-trick in his first home game in forever was truly special. The fans showered him with support, and Ryan was overcome with emotion on the bench. The veteran probably won’t score as he has in the past; however, he fills categories consistently. The shots, hits, and blocks will be there. You don’t often find a forward who blocks regularly, but Ryan already has seven in his three games back in action.
This is a little hard to believe, but Duncan Keith (13 percent owned) is fantasy relevant again. Keith used to be a fantasy hockey stud, but those days came and went a few seasons ago. But with the Blackhawks shipping Erik Gustafsson to Calgary, Keith has taken over the top power-play unit. He has six assists in his last five games. And a goal. And five of those assists were via the man advantage.
San Jose Sharks
Mario Ferraro is probably a name you’ve never heard. But the 21-year-old is coming on strong at the end of the season. Ferraro shows as zero percent owned in Yahoo! leagues, yet he’s providing very solid banger numbers. He even has a goal and three assists in his last five games. If your defence is weak, Ferraro might not be a bad streaming option. San Jose has some good off-nights in a couple of different weeks ahead.
Vegas Golden Knights
Veteran defenceman Alec Martinez (29 percent owned) is another under-owned option to give your team a late boost. All of a sudden, Martinez plays for a legit Stanely Cup contender. He has two goals and four assists in his last five games. Martinez also has a whopping 18 blocked shots in that time. Plus he’s seeing time on the second power-play unit.
Chicago Blackhawks, Again
Banger-league owners, go and get Connor Murphy. The Blackhawks defenceman is only nine percent owned and is a category stud. On the season, he has 110 shots, 117 hits, and 122 blocks. Three triple-digit marks from a defenceman is a solid value, especially from a guy nobody drafted entering the season. Murphy is nine percent owned.
Goalies are not easy to come by in fantasy hockey in March. For the most part, you have to roll with what you’ve got or be a smart streamer. But in Alex Stalock (29 percent owned), you could have yourself a very solid starting goaltender. Stalock has played seven of Minnesota’s last nine, going 5-1-1 in that time while posting a .934 save percentage. Additionally, two of those wins were shutouts. The Wild are still in the playoff hunt – miraculously – so look for them to lean on the red-hot Stalock the rest of the way.
Anton Khudobin (36 percent owned) is another goalie to keep an eye on. At the very least, stream him when you know he’s going to start. Among qualified goalies, he ranks first in save percentage (.930). Khudobin actually has started five of the last seven for Dallas, news which is not exciting for Ben Bishop owners.
San Jose Sharks
Martin Jones (48 percent owned) is fresh off a shutout of the Penguins and has been playing much better of late. Aaron Dell was the clear starter for a while, but the momentum seems to have shifted back to Jones. In his last five games, he has two shutouts and three wins to go along with a dazzling .951 save percentage.
Juuse Saros (32 percent owned) is the main man in Nashville these days. The changing of the guard for long-time veterans like Pekka Rinne and Henrik Lundqvist is in full effect. Saros, over his last 14 games, is 9-4-0 with a .926 save percentage. The Predators still have more games remaining than most teams in the league – Saros could be a big help for those in need of goaltending.
New York Rangers
As mentioned above, Lundqvist is a victim of the changing of the guard. Alexandar Georgiev (40 percent owned) is the goalie to own on the Rangers. It was Igor Shesterkin, who already looks like a franchise superstar, but a freak accident has given Georgiev the reins. Aside from his most recent outing (a five-goal stinker against Philadelphia), Georgiev was 4-2-0 in his last six, with a shiny .931 save percentage. The 24-year-old is most valuable in leagues that count saves, as he’s had to make more than 30 in five straight outings. The good news is the offence is firing on all cylinders, so the wins could come as well.