Welcome to our NHL Fantasy Blueline premiere edition! For the remainder of the NHL season, we will take a look at each division to see what impact there is for fantasy owners. I will probably not offer deep, detailed coverage on each team, but I will do my best to hit the key points of each.
Boston’s top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Lee Stempniak had been on fire for the better part of the last week. They should continue to be torrid down the stretch. Tampa Bay’s top line has not been performing up to par lately, but the second line of Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat have been killing it. Sven Andrighetto from Montreal has been earning his keep since moving to the top line and if he is available in any leagues you are in, snatch him up. Though they are playing for a team that is not exactly very good, both William Nylander and Nikita Soshnikov certainly have some potential.
It looks like Rick Nash is back, and appears to be starting on the third line. It has not been a banner year for Nash, between his injury and lack of production. He could be a great buy low candidate moving into next hockey season. Pittsburgh was handed another loss, with Evgeni Malkin being knocked out of action for 6-8 weeks with an upper body injury. This is a huge blow for the team, as it is struggling to hold on to a spot in the playoffs. His spot will be taken by Nick Bonino, who has been good over the last few weeks, and gets an improvement in talent around him, but ultimately is not close to the talent of Malkin. This division as a whole has not been great this week, with most of the teams ending it with a loss or set of losses.
Quick question. Who is the top line for the Dallas Stars? Correct answer is just another question: What night is it? Lindy Ruff doesn’t make it easy on fantasy owners, as he is constantly shifting his lines around. For the time being, it appears that the players to own for the Stars are Benn, Seguin and Spezza. Sharp is down right now giving guys like Cody Eakin, Patrick Eaves and Valeri Nichushkin better opportunities, but I still only want the three I mentioned earlier. Nashville’s top line has cooled down considerably from the last few weeks, but they still have a few guys who should have your attention, with my favorite being Viktor Arvidsson, who skates on the third line. St. Louis is making a push to challenge Dallas for the top spot in the Western Conference, and it seems that Vladimir Tarasenko is catching fire again. I suggest taking advantage of that.’
The Pacific is probably my favorite, with Arizona, Edmonton and Calgary all finding homes. That’s not to discount the Sharks or Ducks. My point is that I like so much here. Interesting to note that Arizona and Vancouver are both in the midst of winning streaks, which is kind of crazy to think about. Oliver Ekman-Larsson missed the Coyotes two previous games, and while he is out, Michael Stone makes for a strong play. Anaheim, who had been surging, is coming off a pretty bad week in which they lost three games and a few positions in the Western conference.
Keep in mind this is a work in progress. I will look to add to this potentially in the coming weeks as we round out the league season.