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Fantasy hockey: One player to add in each category this week

Steven Psihogios
·6-min read
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 07: Pittsburgh Penguins Right Wing Kasperi Kapanen (42) looks on during the third period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers on March 7, 2021, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kasperi Kapanen has found a home in Pittsburgh, and his two upcoming games against the Sabres this week make him a must-add. (Getty)

The Colorado Avalanche are finding their stride and that’s a scary development for the rest of the NHL.

The Avs are riding a six-game winning streak in which it has outscored opponents by a margin of 27-7. The team also received a major boost this past week as Cale Makar returned to the lineup and he’s looked like his old self. In the two games he’s played since rejoining the squad, the standout rearguard has a goal, an assist, and a voluminous nine shots on goal.

Surging up the West Division standings, it’s no surprise that there’s a member of the Avalanche amongst the top fantasy hockey adds this week.

Here’s one player that can give your team a much-needed boost in each category.

Goals: LW/RW Kasperi Kapanen, Pittsburgh Penguins (40% rostered on Yahoo)

Kasperi Kapanen was held pointless in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ two-game set against the New Jersey Devils this past weekend, but it’s his back-to-back contests this upcoming week against the Buffalo Sabres that make him a nice add for those in need of goals. While Evgeni Malkin’s injury is not a positive for his fantasy value, I think he’ll still get the job done playing inside the team’s top-six and on the first power-play unit. The Penguins have three games penciled in for this week.

Assists: C/LW Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks (9% rostered on Yahoo)

I really like what I’ve seen from Trevor Zegras lately. The exciting young forward is currently riding a three-game point streak and over the Anaheim Ducks’ last six games, his all-strengths individual Corsi mark of 23 is third-best on the squad, according to Natural Stat Trick. He’s demonstrated an ability to pile on assists at every level, including 20 helpers across 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 starting to settle in. He and the Ducks have four games scheduled for this week.

Plus-minus: D Ryan Graves, Colorado Avalanche (24% rostered on Yahoo)

Given how well the Colorado Avalanche have been playing lately, you’d be foolish to look elsewhere for a plus-minus uplift. Over the last 14 days, Ryan Graves’ plus-10 rating is tied for tops across the NHL as his team is currently riding a six-game winning streak. Additionally, the Yarmouth, Nova Scotia native has provided a highly respectable 52 blocks and 44 hits through 28 games this season. He’s recorded three points over his last two games, but with just eight points and no goals in total this year, it’s unlikely you’ll see much offense out of him. He and his Avs have four games this week.

Power-play points: C/RW Martin Necas, Carolina Hurricanes (44% rostered on Yahoo)

During the month of March, no team in the NHL has performed better than the Carolina Hurricanes on the power play as the special teams unit is clicking at 38.7 percent. Martin Necas is logging minutes on the squad’s top power-play unit and he’s recorded two points on the man advantage over his last five games. Carolina has three games on the schedule this week, all of which are against teams that have been bottom-10 in the league on the penalty kill since the calendar flipped to March.

Shots on goal: D Josh Morrissey, Winnipeg Jets (45% rostered on Yahoo)

Josh Morrissey remains an underrated category stuffer in fantasy hockey as his rostered percentage still sits below 50%. Over the last 14 days, the Calgary, Alberta native’s 23 shots on goal are sixth-most amongst all blueliners as he continues to quarterback the Winnipeg Jets’ top power-play unit. In addition to putting rubber on net, Morrissey has a healthy 14 helpers, 46 blocks and 39 hits through 31 games this season. The 25-year-old is a workhorse on the back-end for the Winnipeg Jets as his 24:00 average time-on-ice ranks 20th across the entire NHL. He has four games scheduled for this week, including two against the Vancouver Canucks who have surrendered the second-most shots on goal in the league this year.

Faceoff wins: C Phillip Danault, Montreal Canadiens (14% rostered on Yahoo)

Since playing a season-low 11:29 of time-on-ice on Mar. 13 in a loss to the Calgary Flames, Phillip Danault has been noticeably more involved offensively. Over the last four games, the Victoriaville, Quebec native’s 10 scoring chances are tied for third on the Habs while his six-shot performance on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks is the most he’s put on goal in any game this season. His skills in the faceoff dot are unquestioned as his 272 draw victories are 13th-most in the NHL. Danault, who combined for 100 points over the last two seasons, seems to be finding his scoring touch which means he should bring more than just faceoff wins to your fantasy team. The Canadiens have four games scheduled for this upcoming week.

Hits: LW/RW Nick Foligno, Columbus Blue Jackets (25% rostered on Yahoo)

Over the last 14 days, Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno’s 22 hits are tied for the ninth-most amongst forwards. The Folignos are a tough bunch of players that can also contribute offensively, following the example of their father, Mike, who is one of just 14 players in NHL history to have multiple seasons of 25-plus goals and 200-plus penalty minutes. Although Nick’s offense has been in decline over the past three seasons, he’s still seeing 18:03 of time-on-ice and is a member of the Blue Jackets’ top power-play unit. Foligno has four games scheduled for this upcoming week, including a pair against the lowly Detroit Red Wings.

Blocked shots: D Adam Larsson, Edmonton Oilers (31% rostered on Yahoo)

There isn’t a player available in over 50% of Yahoo fantasy hockey leagues that can help your defensive category coverage more than Adam Larsson. The 28-year-old leads the NHL in blocked shots (96) and is 11th in hits (97). There’s not much else Larsson can really provide, but what he does, he does very well. He and the Edmonton Oilers have four games lined up for this upcoming week.

Goaltending: G Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators (40% rostered on Yahoo)

Juuse Saros has been absolutely sensational for the Nashville Predators since returning from an upper-body injury. The Finnish puckstopper has turned away an astounding 87 of 89 shots in the two games he has played, helping the Preds steal one of two contests from the Florida Panthers. His save percentage above expected this season is a decent -0.001 mark that puts him ahead of Carey Price, Frederik Andersen and Jordan Binnington, according to Money Puck. I’m onboard with adding the 25-year-old while he’s hot. Nashville has four games scheduled this week, including two against the Red Wings.

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