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Fantasy Hockey: Players you need to add to improve in each category

Steven Psihogios
·6-min read
DALLAS, TX - MARCH 25: Jason Robertson #21 of the Dallas Stars celebrates a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the American Airlines Center on March 25, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
Stars rookie Jason Robertson has found a steady hoome on Dallas' top line. (Getty)

Week 14 of the fantasy hockey season means just about every league has entered the playoffs. In a year that’s been as difficult to navigate as this one, take a moment to congratulate yourself for all of the work you’ve put in.

Now, it’s the postseason, which means every move you make across every column is increasingly important. Here are some players that can help you in every category ahead of your big matchup.

Goals: LW Jason Robertson, Dallas Stars (48% rostered on Yahoo)

I really hope this is the last week I write about Jason Robertson as one of the best players available in over 50% of Yahoo fantasy hockey leagues. His rostered percentage continues to rise very slowly despite his excellent production of late. In 27 games since March 1, Robertson has recorded 10 goals and 26 points which ranks 16th in the NHL. Additionally, the 21-year-old’s plus-16 rating is tied for eighth in the league during this span. Playing valuable minutes as a member of the Dallas Stars’ first line and with four contests against the Detroit Red Wings scheduled for this week, Robertson’s likely to continue his success.

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Assists: LW/RW Nikita Gusev, Florida Panthers (6% rostered on Yahoo)

The Florida Panthers made a number of moves prior to the NHL’s trade deadline, and perhaps the most underrated acquisition the team made was the signing of former New Jersey Devils forward Nikita Gusev. A standout in the KHL, Gusev produced a respectable 13 goals and 44 points in 66 games on a Devils team that tied for the seventh-fewest goals-per-game in 2019-20. After a rough start with New Jersey this season, Gusev was released. Now in Florida, however, Gusev has played 17-plus minutes in each of his two games while seeing time on the team’s first line and top power-play unit. Exposure to players like Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau is very good for his fantasy value, and it wouldn’t shock me if he’s an impact player for the Cats. After all, everything general manager Bill Zito touches seems to turn to gold. Florida has four games scheduled for this upcoming week.

Plus-minus: D Esa Lindell, Dallas Stars (22% rostered on Yahoo)

Few blueliners are supplying better category coverage than Esa Lindell these days. Over the last 14 days, the Dallas Stars defenseman leads the league in plus-minus (plus-11), is third in blocks (22), and tied for 29th in hits (19) all while adding a respectable four assists and five points. Lindell’s plus-minus should continue to skyrocket with four games against the Central Division’s worst team, the Red Wings, this upcoming week.

Power-play points: RW Mats Zuccarello, Minnesota Wild (24% rostered on Yahoo)

With the Minnesota Wild power play clicking at an NHL-best 41.9 percent during April, it’s wise for fantasy managers to continue cherry picking players on the team seeing time on the man advantage. In his last three games, Mats Zuccarello has notched five points, with three coming on the power play. The play-making forward has actually had a lot of success lighting the lamp lately, as he’s potted four goals over the last three contests. The Wild play a fantasy-friendly four games this week, so Zuccarello will have lots of opportunities to capitalize on the PP.

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Shots on goal: C/LW Jack Hughes, New Jersey Devils (39% rostered on Yahoo)

If you’re looking to put some more pucks on net, this is your guy. Jack Hughes is one of just 11 NHL players that has fired over 50 shots on goal over the last 30 days, making him a stellar source for shots. Additionally, there seems to be some goal-scoring potential with Hughes, as he’s just one of two forwards in the aforementioned 50-shot club that has scored two goals or less. His 8.3 shooting percentage on the season also seems a little light for someone of his pedigree. Scheduled to play four games this week, the 19-year-old will likely be among the weekly leaders in this category.

Faceoff wins: C David Krejci, Boston Bruins (33% rostered on Yahoo)

David Krejci has been a solid source of faceoff wins all season as his 237 draw victories are 61st in the NHL, but recently, he’s been even more valuable at the dot, winning 66 faceoffs over the last 14 days, tying him for ninth during this span. The addition of Taylor Hall to his wing has helped jumpstart his offensive production, as the Bruins middleman has recorded three goals and five points in four games since Boston acquired the former Hart Trophy winner. The Bruins have four contests scheduled for this upcoming week, including three against the Buffalo Sabres. Expect Krejci to win a lot of draws and put up some points, too.

Hits: D Jani Hakanpaa, Carolina Hurricanes (15% rostered on Yahoo)

Acquired by the Carolina Hurricanes at the trade deadline, Jani Hakanpaa hasn’t changed his bruising ways with his new team. In the two games he’s played with the Canes since being acquired, the 29-year-old has registered seven hits and six blocks. One bonus he’s seen since switching clubs is a boost in his plus-minus rating, as the 2010 fourth-round pick has earned a plus-one mark in each of his two contests with Carolina. On the season, his 175 body checks sit third in the entire NHL, making him an elite player for the category. Playing four times this week, there’ll be lots of punishment dished out by Hakanpaa.

Blocked shots: D Alex Goligoski, Arizona Coyotes (28% rostered on Yahoo)

I first wrote about Alex Goligoski in this blog a couple of weeks ago, and the Arizona Coyotes blueliner continues to service a number of categories. Averaging over 24 minutes of time-on-ice over the last 14 days, the veteran rearguard has been a reliable option for assists (5), plus-minus (plus-2), power-play points (4), and most importantly blocked shots, as his 17 blocks are tied for seventh during this period. The Coyotes only play three games this week, but Goligoski is still worth scooping up given his versatility.

Goaltending: G Jake Oettinger, Dallas Stars (34% rostered on Yahoo)

No goalie is set up better for this week than Dallas Stars netminder Jake Oettinger. The rookie has been solid for his team lately, allowing just one goal in each of his last two starts and with Dallas scheduled to play the Detroit Red Wings four times this week, he’ll likely see at least two starts against the struggling squad. Additionally, the 2017 first-round pick has been great in his freshman season, owning a .919 save percentage which ranks 13th and a 2.16 goals-against-average that sits seventh amongst all goaltenders. If I had to pick between Anton Khudobin or Oettinger for the rest of the season, I’d take the latter.

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