Players to watch, all formats:
1) Mathew Barzal, Islanders, (58% Yahoo ownership): The kid already has 35 PTS in 36 GP and most definitely needs to be added in more leagues. I added him in a standard league a few weeks ago and he’s been doing great. He’s got 7 PTS in his last 4 GP.
2) Noah Hanifin, Carolina, (22% Yahoo ownership): The kid is on pace for 45 PTS and 190 shots, which is a substantial improvement on last season’s 29 PTS and 108 shots. At this rate his ownership should be in the 60%+ range, especially in keeper and dynasty formats.
3) James Reimer, Florida, (27% Yahoo ownership): The outlook for Reimer was looking bleak just a few weeks ago, but since Luongo has been injured, he’ been playing well. He was just named the NHL’s 3rd star for the week. Over his last 7 GP he’s 4-2-1 with a 1.85 GAA and .946 SV%. If you need starts, he’s probably available on most standard league waiver wires.
4) Matt Dumba, Minnesota, (53% Yahoo ownership): Dumba has yet to reach his projected offensive ceiling at age 23, but he’s on pace to eclipse 40 PTS this season. He’s got 5 PTS in his last 8 GP. He’s a safe add in standard leagues.
5) Zach Parise, Minnesota, (41% Yahoo ownership): Parise has been injured all season but is said to be close to a return. He’s immediately standard league relevant as soon as he’s back. He could end up being a bit slow out of the gate. You may want to wait until he’s played a few games before picking him up.
Going Deep: players owned in 10% of leagues or less:
1) Brian Boyle, New Jersey, (9% Yahoo ownership): It’s hard not to cheer for this guy. Despite his health issues, he’s managed to put up 9 PTS in his last 6 GP. I'm not sure if he ever had 9 PTS in a 6 game stretch before getting cancer.
2) Adam Lowry, Winnipeg, (2% Yahoo ownership): He was dropped in my 18-team league and did not stay on the waiver very long before being claimed. 4 PTS in his last 4 GP is good. He can also help you out in hits and face-off wins if you play those categories.
3) Juuse Saros, Nashville, (5% Yahoo ownership): There will continue to be limits on his upside while Pekka Rinne is healthy. Over his last 5 GP Saros has a 1.59 GAA and .956 SV%. He’s had some great starts and the Predators are using him more often. I’d certainly want to own Saros if I owned Rinne.
4) Kevin Lebanc, San Jose, (3% Yahoo ownership): Lebanc has had some small samples of fantasy hockey relevance. He scored 20 PTS in 56 GP last season and already has 17 PTS in 29 GP in 2017/18. 6 PTS in his last 3 GP is pretty good too.
5) Jake Debrusk, Boston, (4% Yahoo ownership): I would like to see his ice time increase before making a long-term commitment, but he’s a young player with upside who has scored 4 PTS in his last 4 GP. He’s worth a gamble in deeper leagues.
The 1%: Top 3 Players to Add that are 1% Owned or Less
1) Derek Ryan, Carolina: He already has 20 PTS this season and is on pace to get close to 50. That’s a guy who needs to be owned in more than 0% of leagues.
2) Mark Barberio, Colorado: This is not somebody who was on my radar prior to the season, but his ice time has climbed up over 20 minutes per game recently and he’s got 5 PTS in his last 7 GP. At the very least he needs to be added in my 18-team league. I might take a quick break to go do that.
3) David Desharnais, Rangers: He’s been running hot and cold for most of the season, scoring at a 45-point pace. That’s not bad. He can provide some value in the deepest of leagues.
1) James Neal, Vegas, (90% Yahoo ownership): It’s not unreasonable to expect the Golden Knights to cool down in the second half. Neal has been doing well with 8 PTS in his last 8 GP, but I still feel like that ownership % is too high. If I owned him, I’d be shopping him in trade offers.
2) Dustin Brown, LA, (80% Yahoo ownership): Brown is a player that I fully expect to cool off in the 2nd half. His season thus far has been a remarkable comeback story, but we’ll see his age start to show as the season drags on. I’d be aggressively shopping him if he were on my team.
3) Brent Burns, San Jose, (100% Yahoo ownership): It was a terrible start to the season for Burns who has been red hot as of late. He’s scored 12 PTS in his last 8 GP and looks like the guy who won the Norris Trophy last season. Either we can forget about the bad start, or take it as a warning that age decline may be on the horizon. It’s fine to hold on to him for the rest of the season in re-draft leagues, but if you’ve got him in a keeper league, now might be the best time to sell.
1) Pekka Rinne, Nashville, (99% Yahoo ownership): It’s probably a bit too soon to be concerned about Rinne, who has given up 9 goals in his last 2 starts while his back-up has been playing fantastic. Saros is starting to get a greater share of the starts, which is problematic for Rinne owners who need a workhorse. If you’ve got Rinne in a deep keeper league, then yes, maybe it’s time to start worrying.
2) Alex Pietrangelo, St Louis, (99% Yahoo ownership): This Norris Trophy contender recently missed a few games due to injury and has only scored 4 PTS in his last 12 GP. It’ll still be hard to get him, but easier now than it was a month ago.
3) Jake Guentzel, Pittsburgh, (78% Yahoo ownership): Just 1 point in his last 8 GP might have the Guentzel owner in your league a little bit nervous. He’s in the top 10 players dropped on Yahoo today. He’s a guy that I’d be targeting right now.
1) Scott Darling, Carolina, (56% Yahoo ownership): Over the last 30 days, Darling has a 3.18 GAA and .889 SV%. If he’s your #1 goalie in reality or fantasy, you’re probably outside the playoff picture.
2) Nazem Kadri, Toronto, (76% Yahoo ownership): Naz has gone pointless in 10 straight games, which is far too low for a player over 70% ownership. Leaf fans will probably still hold on to him if doesn’t score any PTS for the rest of the season, but non-Leaf fans can safely drop him in standard leagues if you haven’t already.
3) Mikko Koivu, Minnesota, (25% Yahoo ownership): If your league counts face-off wins, then he still has some value. He can be dropped in all other formats. He has scored just 1 point in his last 14 GP.