Special to Yahoo Sports
This week’s article includes Kuz rolling, the Islanders’ center, a pair of young blueliners, Colorado losing a key component and a Winged Wheel netminder scuffling.
First Liners (Risers)
Evgeny Kuznetsov C, WAS
Kuznetsov is rolling, highlighted by his hat trick Friday. The 29-year-old center has posted four goals and three assists during his current five-game point streak. That hot streak has raised his season total to 19 goals, 57 points (19 on the power play), 149 shots on net and a plus-10 rating in 57 appearances overall. If he can keep up this pace, Kuznetsov could challenge the 83 points he tallied in 79 games in 2017-18 and reverse his downward trend of the last few seasons.
Anders Lee, LW, NYI
Lee continued his Cy Young-like numbers Sunday with another goal. Since missing a March 5 game against the Blues for personal reasons, Lee has racked up seven goals and a helper in his last four outings. His overall numbers of him are down compared to the run he went on from 2016-2019, but Lee’s current hot streak has given him 21 goals — six on the power play — for the sixth time in his career, albeit with only seven assists in 50 appearances this season. Lee has posted 110 shots and notched 65 hits for good measures.
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Ivan Barbashev, RW, STL
Barbashev is having a career year for the Blues. Despite moving between the second and third lines, Barbashev just continues to produce. Barbashev has three goals and five assists in his last 10 games, moving the 26-year-old forward up to 18 goals, 42 points, 87 shots on net, 103 hits and a plus-8 rating in 58 games. All his production of him the last two months has come 5×5 after notching eight points on the power play earlier in the season, contributing to his plus-nine rating.
Brandon Hagel, LW, CHI
Hagel has been on a goal streak lately, notching three goals in his last three games and six goals in his last eight. That recent scoring binge has allowed the 23-year-old forward to reach 20 goals for the first time in his career, aided, though, by an unsustainable 22.5 shooting percentage. Hagel has shown he is not just a shooter, adding 16 assists, setting a career-high in that category as well. Hagel is firmly entrenched as the second-line left winger and on the right side of the second power-play unit.
Quinn Hughes, D, VAN
With all the rightful focus on Cala Makar and Adam Fox, sometimes Hughes gets lost in the shuffle. The 22-year-old defenseman has posted 14 points in 11 games since a three-game Covid-related absence in mid-February. With that hot streak, Hughes is up to five goals, 48 points (23 on the power play), 113 shots on net, 40 blocked shots and a plus-eight rating through 56 outings, leaving him five points shy of the 53 he posted in 68 games as a rookie in 2019-20.
Evan Bouchard D, EDM
Bouchard has taken a quantum leap forward in this his first full season. After playing seven games in 2018-19, Bouchard spent the entire following year in the minors before seeing 14 games last season. Entrusted with a full-time role, Bouchard has blossomed, playing 20 minutes a game while on the second pair. The Ontario native is up to 31 points (six on the power play), 136 shots on net, 76 blocked shots, 55 hits and a plus-2 rating in 58 games.
Antti Raanta, G, CAR
Raanta is firmly well behind frederik andersen in the goaltending pecking order in Carolina. Even with that status, that doesn’t mean that Raanta has no value. Given the team he plays behind, Raanta should be used in DFS when between the pipes. He is 4-1-1 in his last six starts, three of which came recently while Andersen was sidelined, further evidencing that value. Once/if Carolina clinches the division, look for Raanta to be used liberally by coach Rod Brind’Amour.
Jacob Markstrom, G, CGY
Markstrom notched his league-leading ninth shutout of the season Saturday. With the win, Markstrom also equaled his career-high in victories set in 2018-19 as a member of the Canucks. The shutout lowered his goals-against average to 2.07 and raised his save percentage to .928 both of which are also career bests. It’s been a magical second season in Calgary for the 2008 second-round pick of the Panthers.
Others include Brock Nelson, Jonathan Toews, Robert Thomas, Ryan Johansen, Charlie Coyle, Josh Norris, Derick Brassard, Adam Henrique, Joe Pavelski, Colin Blackwell, Matt Duchene, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Dylan Strome, JT Miller, TJ Oshie, Jesper Bratt, Elias Lindholm, Bryan Rust, Patrick Kane, Anthony Beauvillier, Jordan Kyrou, Jonathan Marchessault, Nick Schmaltz, Conor Sheary, Anthony Mantha, Jakub Vrana, Kyle Palmieri, Matthew Boldy, Jason Robertson, Brady Tkachuk, Noah Dobson, Aaron Ekblad, Roman Josi, Rasmus Andersson, Devon Toews, Dysin Mayo, Ryan Pulock, Aaron Ekblad, Jeremy Swayman, Ilya Sorokin, Vitek Vanecek, Craig Anderson, Mikko Koskinen, and Pavel Francouz.
Player to Add
Paul Stastny, C, WPG
Firmly on the NHL trade block, Stastny has done his best recently to raise his value. The 36-year-old Stastny has been effective in March with five goals and two assists in his last seven games. He’s still playing as a left wing on the top line with Blake Wheeler and mark scheifele, which needs to be factored in by any potential acquiring team. Stastny’s at 30 points in 49 games, surpassing his 29-point effort from 56 outings last season, though a far cry from the output in his prime.
Training Room (Injuries)
Jack Campbell, G, TOR
Campbell will miss the next two weeks with a rib injury. After a brilliant start to the season, Campbell has hit the skids recently. The 30-year-old has gone 4-3-1 with a 3.96 GAA and an .877 save percentage in his last 10 appearances. Campbell’s struggles have resulted in ceding playing time in net to Petr Mrazek, who should see most of the action while Campbell is sidelined. Could this make Toronto more aggressive in the trade market? It was also reported that rookie Erik Kalgren will be making his NHL debut Tuesday night against the Stars.
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Gabriel Landeskog, LW, COL
Landeskog will be considered out indefinitely after undergoing knee surgery Monday. The injury seemingly came out of nowhere, as nothing was reported following Thursday’s game until word came down Saturday. Colorado hopes to have Landeskog back for the playoffs, which would mean a late-April return. alex newhook may get the first crack at replacing Landeskog, who’s racked up 30 goals and 59 points through 51 games this season.
Others include Mathew Barzal (lower body, missed six games, was in Friday’s lineup against Winnipeg), Nico Hischier (lower body, missed third straight game Saturday), Boone Jenner (back, placed on injured reserve, considered week-to-week), Drake Batherson (ankle, out since Jan. 27, skated this week in practice, may be two weeks away), Patrick Laine (knee injury, left Friday’s game, played Sunday), Sam Steel (face, injured Thursday, posted on injured reserve Saturday), Pavel Buchnevich (concussion, missed Thursday’s and Saturday’s games), Jakob Chychrun (lower body, injured Thursday, out 2-4 weeks), Erik Karlson (forearm, missed 15 games, returned to action Thursday), and Robin Lehner (lower body, injury is serious enough to require crutches).
Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)
Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, CAR
Kotkaniemi is rumored to be on the verge of signing an eight-year contract extension for around $4.25-4.50 million per that should be inked after the March 21 trade deadline. That deal is evidence of how highly Carolina thinks of him, with the dollar figure giving the ‘Canes future cap flexibility. His future value of him depends largely on whether Vincent Trocheck returns. If he doesn’t, then Kotkaniemi could be the second-line center. If he does, Kotkaniemi will either need to slot in on the wing or serve as the third line pivot. Kotkaniemi has seen his production ebb and flow, and he is going through a mild slump with just one assist his last 10 games.
Marcus Johansson, LW, SEA
Johansson’s production peaked with 58 points in 2016-17 as a member of the Capitals. Since then, his output from him has leveled off. The hope was that by moving to Seattle — where he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal — the additional ice time potentially afforded him would reignite his offense from him. Johansson has been better, notching 23 points in 49 games, though he is goalless since Feb. 17 and that output has come with a minus-23 rating, offsetting that production.
Alex Nedeljkovic, G, DET
The future is still bright for Nedeljkovic. Part of that is due to his talent level while a second piece is what GM Steve Yzerman looks to be building in Detroit. After a strong start, Nedeljkovic is suffering through a significant rough patch, going 3-6-1 in his last 10 starts with at least five goals scored in half of those. In keeper leagues, Nedeljkovic is clearly worth a roster spot, but you might want to cut bait in redraft leagues for a more secure option.
Hampus Lindholm, D, ANA
An unrestricted free agent after the season, Lindholm stands a good chance to be on another team come the March 21 trade deadline. The 28-year-old has 22 points, 118 shots on net, 76 blocked shots, 55 hits and an even plus-minus rating in 60 appearances this season. Much of that production came earlier in the year, as Lindholm has just two helpers in his last 18 games and no goals since Dec. 17. Keep an eye on where he goes and how he is used as each could signal a possible uptick in production for the Swedish blueliner.
Others include Sean Monahan, Kasperi Kapanen, Oliver Wahlstrom, Evgenii Dadonov, Oliver Kylington, Alexandar Georgiev, Petr Mrazek and Carter Hart.