Fantasy Hockey Risers/Fallers: Hope for the young star in Vancouver

Yahoo Sports

By Jan Levine, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports

This week’s article includes Calgary’s top center, the Kings’ captain, Dumba’s “replacement” driving the Wild attack, Pettersson not sidelined as long as originally thought, and The King looking to regain his crown.

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First Liners (Risers)

Sean Monahan, C, CGY

Monahan extended his point streak Monday to five games and 11 points with a goal and an assist. Those 11 points give Monahan 54 in 44 games, just 10 from his career mark of 64 set last season in 74 contests. The trio of Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm has powered the Flames into playoff contention and has become one of the more dominant lines in hockey.

Dylan Larkin, C, DET

Larkin sealed Detroit’s win Friday with an empty-net marker, his 18th of the season. He now has reached 41 points (18 goals, 23 assists) for the 2018-19 campaign after posting 16 goals and 47 points in his breakthrough campaign last year. Larkin scored a career-high 22 as a rookie and is on pace to far exceed that total this year. With 41 points in 44 games, Larkin is close to a point-per-game pace as the leader of the Detroit attack.

Jake DeBrusk, LW, BOS

DeBrusk has three goals and an assist in the five games since his return to action following a nine-game absence. Selected No. 14 overall in 2015, DeBrusk tallied 16 goals and 27 assists in 70 games before suffering a shoulder injury. DeBrusk is up 16 points in 33 games now, which trails his rookie output. Currently ensconced on the second line with David Krejci and David Backes, though, the 22-year-old should remain productive the rest of the way.

Dustin Brown, RW, LA

Brown exploded last season for a career-high 61 points and had his first 20-goal season since 2012, lighting the lamp 28 times. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that Brown isn’t scoring at last year’s pace overall, but he has heated up recently. With eight goals and 16 points in his last 20 games prior to Monday’s contest, Brown has provided fantasy owners solid production.

Sam Reinhart, RW, BUF

Reinhart, following his goal and assist Thursday, is up to 40 points in 42 games this season and has been an offensive juggernaut for the better part of 2018-19. Since Nov 27, the 23-year-old has been held scoreless just twice on his way to 24 points in 16 games.

Jared Spurgeon, D, MIN

Spurgeon is doing his part to make up for the absence of Matt Dumba. With five points in two games since the calendar flipped to 2019, Spurgeon is up to 22 points in 39 games. After tallying 38 and 37 points the past two seasons, Spurgeon is on pace to exceed the 40-point mark for the first time in his career. Ryan Suter is still the top option on the Minnesota blue line, but Spurgeon may be 1B right now.

Tyson Barrie, D, COL

Barrie notched three assists Friday, extending his point streak to four. Racking up assists is Barrie’s specialty this year, as he has 25 of them in 38 games, along with his five goals. Barrie took a major step forward with 57 points last year after declining from 53 to 49 to 38 the prior three campaigns. He’s the top rearguard option for a Colorado squad bursting with firepower up front and should be coveted in all but the very shallowest of leagues.

Anton Khudobin, G, DAL

Khudobin continued his strong play, stopping 36 of 37 shots in a 2-1 overtime win over the Capitals on Friday. In seven outings since the beginning of December, Khudobin has posted a 1.83 GAA and .947 save percentage. Ben Bishop is still the unquestioned starter in Dallas, but Khudobin could earn more time over the second half of the season if he continues his fine play between the pipes.

Others include Ryan O’Reilly, Aleksander Barkov, Matt Duchene, Dylan Strome, Casey Cizikas, Anze Kopitar (goal #300 Saturday), Zach Parise, Johnny Gaudreau, Thomas Vanek (goal in game #1,000), Alex Tuch, Jeff Skinner, Mark Stone, Alexander Radulov, Joonas Donskoi, Viktor Arvidsson, Mikko Rantanen, Patrick Kane, Kaapo Kakko (World Juniors), Elias Lindholm, Roman Josi, Seth Jones, Alexander Edler, Keith Yandle, Alex Pietrangelo, Johnny Boychuk, Mattias Ekholm, Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Ristolainen, Erik Karlsson, Jonathan Quick (win #300 with a shutout Saturday), Tuukka Rask, Linus Ullmark, Matt Murray, David Rittich, Devan Dubnyk, Marc-Andre Fleury, Juuse Saros and Robin Lehner.

Buy Low

Curtis McElhinney, G, CAR

McElhinney was picked up off waivers by Carolina from Toronto at the beginning of October. At the time, he was acquired to serve as the Canes’ second goalie. While Petr Mrazek may be the No. 1 on paper, McElhinney has been Carolina’s best netminder this season. His 2.20 GAA and .923 save percentage on the year should enable McElhinney to see the majority of the playing time between the pipes.

Training Room (Injuries)

Elias Pettersson, C, VAN

Pettersson, who injured his right knee when he got tangled up with Montreal’s Jesperi Kotkaniemi, is only expected to miss one or two weeks with a sprained MCL. This bit of news is almost the best-case scenario after seeing how hurt Pettersson looked when the injury first occurred. Selected to the All-Star Game as a rookie, Pettersson has 22 goals and 20 assists as he drives the Vancouver attack.

Elias Pettersson is set to return from injury a lot sooner than expected. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
Elias Pettersson is set to return from injury a lot sooner than expected. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

Others include Jack Eichel (upper body, listed as day-to-day), Kevin Hayes (upper-body, missed Friday’s and Sunday’s games, likely out Tuesday), Vincent Trocheck (ankle, skating, could be back in early February), Rickard Rakell (ankle, out since December 7, was at practice Saturday), Nikolaj Ehlers (upper body, injured Friday when he collided with Sidney Crosby, won’t return until early-to-mid February), Filip Forsberg (hand, missed 17th straight game Saturday in Montreal, activated Monday), Alex Chiasson (knee, activated off injured reserve), Max Pacioretty (undisclosed, activated off injured reserve, played Friday), Justin Schultz (fractured leg, out since the fourth game of the season, was back on the ice Saturday for the first time since the injury, could be back in mid-February), Frederik Andersen (groin, still sidelined) and MacKenzie Blackwood (lower body, left Friday’s game, missed Sunday’s contest).

Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)

Brayden Schenn, C, STL

Schenn took St. Louis by storm last season after coming over from Philadelphia. He obliterated his prior career high of 59 points by notching new bests in goals (28), assists (42) and points (70). The Blues brought in Ryan O’Reilly this offseason, moving Schenn down to the second line, which has resulted in a 1:20 drop in ice time — including 30 seconds less on the power play. As a result, he has just nine goals and 15 assists in 36 contests, though he has lit the lamp in back-to-back contests.

Brayden Schenn — like the Blues as a whole — is having a disappointing season. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
Brayden Schenn — like the Blues as a whole — is having a disappointing season. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Clayton Keller, LW, AZ

Keller is on pace for 59 points, which is only a slight decline from the 65 he posted last season. But it sure seems like he is struggling. After potting 23 goals along with 43 assists, Keller has just nine in 42 games this year. Prior to scoring Sunday, Keller’s last goal was Dec. 1 (a stretch of 16 games) though he managed 11 assists in that time. Keller has a solid enough center in Derek Stepan, but he needs to fire more shots on net.

Mikhail Sergachev, D, TB

Sergachev, acquired by Tampa Bay from Montreal in the Jonathan Drouin deal, all but forced the Lightning to play him more than 40 games last season, negating the conditional second-round pick in 2018 that was part of the trade. The depth on the Lightning blue line didn’t adversely impact Sergachev in his rookie campaign, as the 2016 first-rounder potted nine goals and added 31 assists. This season, the sophomore slump has mildly impacted Sergachev, as he has just one goal, which he potted Saturday, and 13 assists in 40 games.

Others include Bryan Little, Derek Stepan, Calle Jarnkrok, Mats Zuccarello, Tobias Rieder, Loui Eriksson, Dylan DeMelo, Sami Vatanen, Shayne Gostisbehere, Anders Nilsson, Mikko Koskinen and Carter Hart.

Sell High

Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR

Lundqvist failed to notch 30 wins for the first time in his career in a full campaign last year. Despite a solid start to 2018-19, his overall numbers are in line with last season’s decline, as he now has a 3.04 GAA and .909 save percentage. With just 12 wins in 31 games, Lundqvist will likely fall short of the 30-win mark for the second straight season. In addition, he has posted a 3.83 GAA and .886 save percentage in 11 games since the beginning of December.

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