The trade deadline is behind us, so we are now truly entering the final lap of this marathon. Roughly a month from now the season will be over and already there are teams that are running out of things to play for.
On the fantasy side though, this is the most critical time of the year. Even superstar players are now droppable if they suffer a significant injury, which means that teams will be much more active when it comes to adding potential diamonds in the rough.
So as always, we’ve assembled a list of players you might want to consider if you’re interest in making a change:
Adam Henrique (NJD) – C – Owned in 28% of Yahoo! leagues
Since the Olympic break, Henrique has been one of the hottest players in the league, scoring in six consecutive games. He hasn’t looked this good since his rookie campaign and with the Devils increased focused on generating scoring chances lately, he might end up carrying this momentum until the end of the season. Obviously, his current streak will end and it will probably happen fairly soon, but he’s not a bad guy to pencil in for 11-14 points in the Devils’ final 17 games.
Ales Hemsky (OTT) – RW – Owned in 12% of Yahoo! leagues
Hemsky was having a subpar season with the Edmonton Oilers, scoring nine goals and 26 points in 55 games. Then the Ottawa Senators acquired him at the deadline and suddenly he found himself in his first real battle for a playoff spot in years. On top of that, the Senators put a lot of faith in him by having him play alongside Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek. He rewarded them by recording three assists on Saturday. As long as Hemsky is playing with Spezza, he’ll be worth owning in standard leagues.
Erik Johnson (COL) – D – Owned in 36% of Yahoo! leagues
People understandably gave up on Johnson after his underwhelming numbers over the previous three seasons, but he’s one of the many players that has clicked under Avalanche coach Patrick Roy. He has eight goals and 22 assists in 62 games this season, which puts him in a tie for 26th place on the defensemen scoring race. That’s pretty good for a guy that’s available in a healthy majority of leagues. He tends to be better in pools that include some of the more popular extra categories as he also has 109 hits and 106 blocked shots.
Eddie Lack (VAN) – G – Owned in 39% of Yahoo! leagues
Just a year ago, Lack was stuck behind Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo. He probably figured at least one of them was going to go last summer, but he would have had to be a prophet to predict Vancouver trading both of them in the span of 12 months. It helps that Lack has had a great rookie campaign with a 2.15 GAA and .922 save percentage in 28 games. He’s now the Canucks’ starting goaltender and should do a solid job in that role for what’s left of the season.
Joni Ortio (CAL) – G – Owned in 7% of Yahoo! leagues
It pains me to recommend a Calgary Flames goaltender, but if Lack’s already taken in your league and you’re desperate for a netminder, Ortio might be your best option available at this point. He’s Calgary’s de facto starter now that Reto Berra has been traded while Karri Ramo remains sidelined. To his credit, Ortio has been holding his own with a 2.03 GAA and .916 save percentage in four games. He was also great in the minors before being summoned. We certainly don’t have high expectations for him, but he should at least continue to start until Ramo comes back.
Shawn Matthias (VAN) – C – 1% of Yahoo! leagues
This Matthias recommendation should be taken with a grain of salt in the sense that we only recommend looking at him in deeper leagues. That being said, he is an interesting case. While he’s not known for his offensive contributions, the Vancouver Canucks have been leaning on him since they acquired Matthias on Tuesday. He averaged 16:16 minutes in his first two games with Vancouver, well above his career norm of 13:38 minutes per game. Canucks coach John Tortorella also referred to Matthias as the team’s best player in their 6-1 loss to Dallas on Thursday. If Vancouver continues to give him a healthy amount of ice time, he might manage to record about eight points in the team’s last 16 contests.
Joe Colborne (CAL) – C – Owned in 0% of Yahoo! leagues
Colborne’s first full season hasn’t generated a lot of buzz, but with the Flames focused on the future, he’s likely to get a fair amount of ice time down the stretch. On top of that, he’s been hot lately with three goals and seven points in his last eight contests. He’s someone that you shouldn’t be shy about dropping if he goes a few games in a row without a point, but if you’re looking to ride a late season hot streak, he’s an interesting option.