Kasperi Kapanen has made a home in Pittsburgh and his two upcoming games against the Sabers this week make him a must-see. (Getty)
The Colorado Avalanche are finding their step, and that’s a frightening development for the rest of the NHL.
The Avs are driving a six-game winning streak in which they outperformed their opponents by a margin of 27-7. The team also got a big boost last week when Cale Makar returned to the lineup and what the old self looked like. In the two games he has played since his re-entry into the squad, the outstanding rearguard has a goal, an assist and a voluminous nine shots on goal.
It’s no surprise that a member of the Avalanche is among the top fantasy hockey members this week.
Here is one player who can give your team the much-needed boost in any category.
Destinations: LW / RW Kasperi Kapanen, Pittsburgh Penguins (40% on Yahoo)
Kasperi Kapanen was pointless in the Pittsburgh Penguins two-game set against the New Jersey Devils last weekend, but it’s his back-to-back competitions against the Buffalo Sabers next week that make him a nice addition for those in need Gates. While Evgeni Malkin’s injury isn’t positive for his fantasy level, I think he’ll still get the job done in the team’s top six and on the first power play session. The penguins have three games scheduled for this week.
Assists: C / LW Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks (9% at Yahoo)
I really like what I’ve seen of Trevor Zegras lately. The exciting young striker is currently scoring three points and over the last six Anaheim Ducks games, his natural Corsi mark of 23 with all strengths is third on the roster according to Natural Stat Trick. He has demonstrated the ability to collect assists at all levels, including 20 helpers in 12 games while representing the United States of America at the World Juniors on two separate occasions. After a quiet start, it seems like Zegras is really settling in. He and the ducks have four games planned for this week.
Plus-minus: D Ryan Graves, Colorado Avalanche (24% at Yahoo)
The story goes on
Given how well the Colorado Avalanche has been playing lately, it would be stupid to look for a plus-minus climb elsewhere. For the past 14 days, Ryan Graves’ plus-10 rating has been synonymous with the top of the NHL as his team is currently on a six-game winning streak. Additionally, the Yarmouth, Nova Scotia American native has made a highly regarded 52 blocks and 44 hits in 28 games this season. He has scored three points in the last two games but with only eight points and no total goals this year it is unlikely to get into much trouble. He and his Avs have four games this week.
Powerplay Points: C / RW Martin Necas, Hurricanes of Carolina (44% on Yahoo)
In March, no team in the NHL performed better in power play than the Carolina Hurricanes, as the unit of special teams clicks at 38.7 percent. Martin Necas is recording minutes in the squad’s best power play unit and has scored two points for man advantage in the last five games. Carolina has three games on the schedule this week, all against teams who have been in the league’s top 10 on penalties since the calendar was turned into March.
Shots on goal: D Josh Morrissey, Winnipeg Jets (45% at Yahoo)
Josh Morrissey remains an underrated category stuffer in fantasy hockey as his roster percentage is still below 50%. In the past 14 days, the Calgary, Alberta-born goalscorer’s 23 shots on goal have been the sixth-best of any Bluelin as he continues to quarter the Winnipeg Jets’ top power play unit. In addition to putting rubber in the net, Morrissey has 14 helpers, 46 blocks and 39 hits in 31 games this season. The 25-year-old is a backend workhorse for the Winnipeg Jets as his average 24:00 ice time ranks 20th in the entire NHL. Four games are scheduled for this week, including two against the Vancouver Canucks, who have scored the second-highest shots on goal in the league this year.
Faceoff wins: C Phillip Danault, Montreal Canadiens (14% at Yahoo)
Since Phillip Danault played a season low of 11:29 on ice against the Calgary Flames on March 13, he has been involved much more offensively. In his last four games, the Victoriaville, Quebec-born player’s 10 chances to score rank third in the Habs, while his six-stroke performance against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday is the highest he has ever had in a game this season . His face-off skills are undisputed as his 272 draw wins in the NHL are 13th. Danault, who has accumulated 100 points over the past two seasons, seems to be finding his chance at scoring, which means he should bring more than just faceoff wins to your fantasy team. The Canadiens have four games planned for this coming week.
Hits: LW / RW Nick Foligno, Columbus Blue Jackets (25% at Yahoo)
In the past 14 days, Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno’s 22 goals were the ninth most strikers. The Folignos are a tough group of players who can also contribute offensively, following the example of their father Mike, who is one of only 14 players in NHL history with several seasons with more than 25 goals and more than 200 penalty minutes. Although Nick’s offense has decreased over the past three seasons, he still sees 6:03 pm on the ice and is a member of the Blue Jackets’ top power play unit. Foligno has four games scheduled for the coming week, including a pair against the low Detroit Red Wings.
Blocked recordings: D Adam Larsson, Edmonton Oilers (31% at Yahoo)
In over 50% of the Yahoo Fantasy Hockey leagues, there is no player available who can help your defensive category coverage more than Adam Larsson. The 28-year-old leads the NHL in blocked shots (96) and ranks 11th in hits (97). There isn’t much that Larsson can really offer, but what he does, he does very well. He and the Edmonton Oilers have four games scheduled for the coming week.
Goalkeeper: G Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators (40% at Yahoo)
Juuse Saros has been utterly sensational for the Nashville Predators since returning from an upper body injury. The Finnish puck stopper averted a staggering 87 out of 89 shots in the two games he played and helped the Preds steal one of two competitions against the Florida Panthers. His savings percentage, which is above expectations this season, is a decent -0.001, which puts him ahead of Carey Price, Frederik Andersen and Jordan Binnington, according to Money Puck. I’m on board with adding the 25 year old while he’s hot. Nashville has four games scheduled this week, including two against the Red Wings.