By Jan Levine, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
This week’s article includes Tkachuks times two, a lesser known Philly blueliner, future value in Tampa’s backup, a sidelined St. Louis sniper, and Anaheim’s netminder struggling — due to the team around him.
First Liners (Risers)
Logan Couture, C, SJ
Couture’s hot play lately has helped the Sharks keep pace with the Flames in the battle for the top spot in the Pacific Division and Western Conference. With 11 points in his last 11 games, Couture is up to 62 points, exceeding the 61 he posted last season, in 69 games. Couture, the ninth overall pick in 2007 and true top-line center for San Jose, has a good shot at surpassing his career-high 67 points set in 2014-15.
Danton Heinen, LW, BOS
Heinen, normally a center, is filling in on left wing while David Pastrnak (thumb) is sidelined. While he is not scoring goals like Pasta, Heinen has admirably stepped into the breach created by the winger’s absence, posting nine assists in his last 10 games. Overall, Heinen has nine goals and 19 assists in 65 appearances this season. But don’t be deceived by that low total; just roll with him for as long as Pastrnak is out.
Brady Tkachuk, LW, OTT
Tkachuk, the new Face of the Ottawa franchise following the departures of Erik Karlsson, Mark Stone and Matt Duchene, had a three-game, four-point streak (two goals, two assists) that ended Monday. The Senators opted to keep last year’s pick and trade this season’s to Colorado as part of the Duchene deal, showing just how much they valued Tkachuk. Brady, Matthew’s younger brother, is a winger in the power forward mode of his father, Keith, though unlikely to be that prolific as a scorer.
Matthew Tkachuk, LW, CGY
The older Tkachuk has regained his scoring touch, notching his first career hat trick Sunday. The 21 year old winger added an assist in a game dominated thoroughly by the reunited 3M line, as Michael Frolik had four assists and Mikael Backlund posted three points. Matthew, who is in the last season of his entry-level deal appears set for a huge payday, as he is in the midst of a career year, notching 29 goals and 67 points in 69 games. He also will finish with more than 100 hits, adding to his value.
Travis Sanheim, D, PHI
Sanheim notched two assists Saturday, pushing the young Flyers’ blueliner over the 30-point mark for the first time in his career. As Philly remains on the fringes of playoff contention, Sanheim is driving the bus from the back line, notching four goals with 12 points and a plus-10 rating in the last 13 games. In addition, Sanheim has had some power-play time, which bodes well for future production.
Shea Theodore, D, LV
Theodore has blossomed since moving to Vegas from Anaheim. The 23-year-old defender posted 29 points in 61 games last season, but has really taken his game up a notch this year. With two goals and five assists in his last eight games, Theodore has extended his career-high to 32 points in 69 games. Playing more than 20 minutes per game, including two-plus on the man advantage, Theodore should continue to rack up points from the blue line.
Jake Allen, G, STL
Allen, with Jordan Binnington hitting a little of a bobble, started consecutive games Friday and Sunday for the first time since Jan. 3 and 5. Binnington is still the No. 1 netminder in the Arch City, but Allen has taken back a small sliver of the job he had earlier in the season. Allen is not someone to rely on in season-long leagues, but as a spot, possibly cheap DFS starter, he is worth a look.
Louis Domingue, G, TB
With Tampa Bay already clinching a playoff berth and not far from locking up the top seed in the Eastern Conference and President’s Trophy, the Lightning could opt to rest Andrei Vasilevskiy a bit down the stretch to keep him fresh for the playoffs. When that occurs, Domingue will get a bump in value due to the additional playoff time. Domingue, who started earlier in the year when Vasilevskiy was out injured, is 20-5 in 25 starts this season. His counting stats aren’t great (2.88 GAA; .908 save percentage), but if you need wins, roll with Domingue — because he plays for Tampa Bay.
Others include Leon Draisaitl, Henrik Borgstrom, David Krejci, Nathan MacKinnon, Travis Konecny, Clayton Keller, Sidney Crosby, Bo Horvat, Kevin Hayes, Ryan Strome, Boone Jenner, Mark Stone, Jonathan Huberdeau, Nino Niederreiter, Timo Meier, Brendan Gallagher, Michael Grabner, Mike Hoffman, Filip Zadina (scored first NHL goal), James van Riemsdyk, Jakob Silfverberg, Reilly Smith, Tomas Hertl, Drew Doughty, Roman Josi, John Carlson, Keith Yandle, Nate Schmidt, Nick Leddy, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Quinn Hughes (possible debut Wednesday), Anton Khudobin, Tuukka Rask, Matt Murray, Darcy Kuemper, Braden Holtby and Pheonix Copley.
Christian Dvorak, C, AZ
Injuries have wreaked havoc on the Coyotes this season, the latest being Derek Stepan, who is sidelined 4-6 weeks. Sliding in to fill the breach down the middle has been Dvorak, who didn’t play his first game of the season until Feb. 26 because of a lower-body injury. Now fully healthy, Dvorak has two goals and three points in the six games since his return, all coming in his last two games. If looking for a late-season sleeper, Dvorak might well be your man.
Training Room (Injuries)
Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, STL
Tarasenko will be out at least 10 days after he suffered an upper-body injury Thursday against the Kings. After a slow start, Tarasenko had caught fire and was up to 28 goals and 58 points through 66 games, putting Tarasenko two goals shy of reaching 30 goals for the fifth consecutive campaign. St. Louis had rocketed up the Western Conference standings, though a recent slump has the team third in the Central Division. The Blues will have a hard time remaining in the hunt without their sniper.
Others include Dylan Larkin (neck strain, missed last weekend’s games), Gabriel Landeskog (suffered upper-body injury Saturday, will be sidelined 4-to-6 weeks), Jake DeBrusk (foot, may return during Boston’s upcoming road trip), Evander Kane (mid body, missed fourth straight game Saturday), Kris Letang (upper body, out since Feb. 23), Mike Green’s (season-ending illness, though not a long-term concern), Erik Karlsson (may be out until playoffs with groin injury), Dustin Byfuglien (ankle, went back to Winnipeg to continue his recovery) and Robin Lehner (concussion, out of lineup for third straight game Monday).
Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)
Mathew Barzal, C, NYI
Barzal failed to light the lamp for the 11th consecutive game Sunday and during that stretch, he has notched just five assists. In addition, the Isles’ No. 1 center has also scuffled on the man advantage, failing to notch a point on the power play in his last 17 games. Overall, Barzal has 55 points in 69 games, a far cry from the 85 he posted as a rookie when he won the Calder Trophy last season. Barzal will need to fire up his offensive game as the Islanders make a final playoff push.
Johnny Gaudreau, LW, CGY
My colleagues north of the border shouldn’t lynch me for having Gaudreau on this side of the ledger. No goals in nine games, despite his pedigree and overall production, warrant a spot here. Gaudreau is already up to 84 points, matching his production and career-high output set last year, in just 69 games. In addition, with just one more lamplighter, Gaudreau will hit a career high in that category as well.
Erik Johnson, D, COL
Johnson, after a brief hot spell, has reverted back to prior form. From Jan. 4 to Feb. 9, Johnson had three goals and seven points in 11 games, along with 33 shots, 15 blocks, 14 hits and a plus-3 rating over that stretch. Take out that stretch and Johnson has just two goals and 11 assists in 57 contests. He is still posting blocks and hits, which gives him value in those leagues, but in standard formats, he should remain on the waiver wire.
Others include Jesperi Kotkaniemi (watch for rest down the stretch), Brandon Tanev, Wayne Simmonds, Corey Perry, Brandon Pirri, Zdeno Chara, T.J. Brodie, Shayne Gostisbehere and John Gibson.
John Gibson, G, ANA
Gibson carried the Ducks earlier in the season when his stellar play and advanced metrics made him a Vezina Trophy candidate despite a lack of wins. But he has sagged under the weight of shot volume and injury, with his play leveling off a bit. Gibson is 19-21-8 with a 2.90 goals-against average (GAA) and a .915 save percentage (SV%) in 50 games (49 starts), a far cry from the 2.43 GAA and .926 SV% he posted last year. Anaheim has many issues, but goaltending is clearly not one.