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Hot streak makes Gustav Nyquist a valuable pickup

January 12th, 2024

Connor Zary has 21 points in 32 games, making him an overlooked fantasy hockey add at just 3% rostered. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Special to Yahoo Sports

Don’t give up. We’re not far enough into the season where a significant percentage of poolies should already be abandoning all hope. Unless your lineup is completely decimated, there’s at least the potential of making the playoffs.

Make a push. Get back into it. And you can start the process by adding one or more of the following players.

(Rostered rates as of Jan. 12)

Forwards

Gustav Nyquist, Nashville Predators (Yahoo: 44% rostered)

Nyquist’s initial inclusion back in October was the product of four points from seven games. Since then, he’s maintained a pace that would see him shatter his personal best of 60, set five years ago. Over the last two-plus months, Nyquist has gone off for nine goals, 20 assists and 59 shots. And he’s regularly skated alongside Filip Forsberg and Ryan O’Reilly on the top line and power play, posting 12 points with the man advantage. The Preds are in action 10 times before the end of January, so you probably want a piece of their attack, with Nyquist one of the better available options.

Joel Farabee, Philadelphia Flyers (Yahoo: 34%)

There have been a couple stumbles this season for Farabee, but he’s been on fire the last month, accumulating 15 points, 35 shots, 23 PIM, 19 blocks and 12 hits. A spot on the first man-advantage has only yielded three PPAs, though the prime placement hasn’t always been consistent. Getting to team up with solid linemates like Sean Couturier, Travis Konecny and Owen Tippett can only help Farabee’s cause.

Jonathan Drouin, Colorado Avalanche (Yahoo: 28%)

It’s been quite the ride for Drouin in Colorado as things started off very slowly and have gone into overdrive since mid-December as he’s notched six goals and eight assists across 14 outings. By no coincidence, all of this was achieved alongside Nathan MacKinnon — including four PPPs. It was expected Artturi Lehkonen would reclaim first-line assignments upon his impending return, but Drouin’s exploits have the Finn slated for the second trio. Drouin has endured some disappointing totals in the past, yet he should be a prime fantasy target as long as he sticks with MacKinnon.

Sean Monahan, Montreal Canadiens (Yahoo: 15%)

Monahan has carved out a nice role for himself with the Habs after falling out of favor during those later years in Calgary. Third even-strength center doesn’t seem like a great position, but combine that with a place on the top power play (with 11 points), 18-plus minutes, two shots a night and 338 faceoff wins and that sounds like someone who shouldn’t be available in at least four of every five Yahoo leagues.

Vladislav Namestnikov, Winnipeg Jets (Yahoo: 14%)

There couldn’t have been much expectations for Namestnikov when he arrived in Winnipeg back in March. After all, he was originally dealt by Tampa to the Sharks two days earlier and was headed to his seventh team over six years. Namestnikov wasn’t getting much ice time when this season started, and his output was predictably inconsistent. November saw him receive more responsibility and click with a number of talented wingers like Cole Perfetti and Nino Niederreiter. Then came a swap with Mark Scheifele that had Namestnikov inherit Nikolaj Ehlers and Gabriel Vilardi as his wingers. All of that has resulted in 11 points from the last 13 games. And even though it appears Namestnikov has switched back with Scheifele, he’s still in the top six for one of the league’s best clubs.

Connor Zary, Calgary Flames (Yahoo: 3%)

Zary rolled through the WHL en route to a 2020 first-round selection and then tallied 93 points across 131 AHL contests. He was at 10 in six when Calgary came calling and proceeded to rack up eight from his first eight NHL appearances. And Zary hasn’t slowed down, managing another 13 the rest of the way. In addition to a place beside Nazem Kadri at five-on-five, he combines with the veteran pivot and others on the No. 1 power play, where he’s picked up three points. There may be hesitation about Zary’s inexperience, but you can’t argue with someone at three percent offering this much production.

Dylan Guenther, Arizona Coyotes (Yahoo: 4%)

It was a decent debut for Guenther last season when he made the Arizona lineup out of training camp and scored some before tailing off and being sent back to the junior ranks. He opened this campaign in the minors, where he led the way with 10 goals and 18 assists in only 29 games before the call-up last weekend. All Guenther has done with the Coyotes is register three points — with one of those a PPA on the lead group — through three games, supplemented by 10 shots. He was technically promoted on an emergency basis, but it’ll be really difficult to send him back based on skill and potential.

Cole Sillinger, Columbus Blue Jackets (Yahoo: 2%)

Sillinger was selected three picks after Guenther at the 2021 Draft, though the former made an instant impact after posting 31 points, 148 shots and 98 hits as a rookie. Regression followed in Year Two, so not a lot was predicted for Sillinger coming in. Only two assists in the first eight matchups appeared to uphold that projection, but more minutes resulted in additional offense. It’s been a solid last three weeks, as Sillinger has recorded eight points, 25 shots, 13 hits and 10 blocks while notching his second career hat trick on Saturday. That’s pretty good value at two percent.

Defensemen

Thomas Harley, Dallas Stars (Yahoo: 41%)

Harley was already firmly on the fantasy radar the last month or so, and that profile has been enhanced with Miro Heiskanen sidelined and a vacancy opening on the Stars’ top power play. Harley has stepped in as the quarterback the last three-plus games in addition to receiving a significant boost in overall ice time. Other than a pair of assists Saturday — with one of those a PPA — and a few shots, hits and blocks, there hasn’t been much offensive output since starting his new role. But considering the placement and the fact Heiskanen will remain out for at least a few more weeks, Harley’s a must-add.

Nate Schmidt, Winnipeg Jets (Yahoo: 4%)

Schmidt has reached the 30-point mark four times during his career, though he hasn’t been asked to do much there the last two years. The current campaign has featured a slump of one assist in 25 games and a scattering of healthy scratches. Of course, there’s a reason why Schmidt is here, and that’s based on his five points, 15 shots, 14 hits and 22 blocks since Dec. 22. He’s continued on Winnipeg’s backup man-advantage with two PPAs alongside the resurgent Neal Pionk. Schmidt probably won’t be able to sustain the offense, yet he carries a history of decent production and usually supplies enough in the physical categories.

Adam Boqvist, Columbus Blue Jackets (Yahoo: 1%)

Right after Boqvist was first featured in this column at the beginning of December, a shoulder injury forced him to miss the next month. His return last week came soon after Zach Werenski suffered an ankle issue that may not see him back until the end of the month at the earliest. Ivan Provorov and Damon Severson initially took turns on the Blue Jackets’ first power play, though that honor has since been passed on to Boqvist. And in his first game, he managed an assist on that unit in addition to one at even-strength. The Blue Jackets are carrying a couple significant injuries up front, though their talent there is decent enough to compile a competent power play where Boqvist could post a few points.

Scott Perunovich, St. Louis Blues (Yahoo: 0%)

The Blues have been horrendous this season while up a man, having only converted an NHL-worst 10.6% of attempts. That has led to a power-play shakeup where a few players have switched around, with one of the beneficiaries being Perunovich. Since turning pro in 2020, he’s bounced between levels and underwent multiple surgeries. But it looks like Perunovich will stay in the St. Louis lineup, having racked up five assists during a recent five-game run. Let’s see how the power-play experiment works the next week to determine whether he’s safe for consumption.

Goaltenders

Anthony Stolarz, Florida Panthers (Yahoo: 10%)

Stolarz has spent most of his career as a backup, and that’s no different this season in Florida with Sergei Bobrovsky continuing to operate as the lead. The key lies in his numbers — especially the 1.40 GAA and .935 save percentage across five appearances since Dec. 10. Bobrovsky has assumed double the starts during that same stretch, where he’s posted a 2.44/.912 line. The Panthers have also helped out their goalies of late by scoring a combined 34 times over eight straight wins. There’s no debating Bob’s place as the No. 1, though Stolarz has done enough to warrant more opportunities on a team that’s rediscovered its offensive stride.

Cayden Primeau, Montreal Canadiens (Yahoo: 6%)

Three-headed netminding situations can often be a headache, yet there’s often someone who emerges from the pack. In Montreal’s case, Sam Montembeault is the goalie who’s managed the most outings and better overall stats. Jake Allen got off to a decent start and then encountered a prolonged slump. Primeau bided his time in the AHL the previous few years, but was given the chance to start the season with the parent club. He’s recently taken advantage by stopping 128 of 138 shots through the last month covering four starts and only losing once in regulation. As the other two aren’t seeing significantly more appearances over that period (Montembeault with seven and Allen at four) and Primeau gaining attention with some otherworldly saves, the Habs should give him more work to assess whether he can truly be their goalie of the future.

Players to consider from past columns: Pavel Zacha, Seth Jarvis, Ryan O’Reilly, Troy Terry, William Karlsson, Trevor Zegras, Wyatt Johnston, Matty Beniers, Nick Schmaltz, Quinton Byfield, Sam Bennett, Owen Tippett, Jake DeBrusk, Josh Norris, Robert Thomas, Nazem Kadri, Mikael Granlund, Cole Perfetti, Nikolaj Ehlers, Chandler Stephenson, Adam Fantilli, Mason McTavish, Dylan Strome, Brayden Schenn, Ivan Barbashev, Charlie Coyle, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Marco Rossi, Dawson Mercer, Nick Paul, Trevor Moore, Marcus Johansson, Ryan Strome, John-Jason Peterka, Blake Coleman, Morgan Geekie, Yegor Sharangovich, Sean Couturier, Eeli Tolvanen, Oliver Bjorkstrand, David Perron, Kirill Marchenko, Rickard Rakell, Gabriel Vilardi, Dakota Joshua, Michael Bunting, Matias Maccelli, Alex Kerfoot, Colton Sissons, Alex Killorn, Jake Sanderson, Owen Power, Mike Matheson, Brock Faber, Filip Hronek, Torey Krug, Noah Hanifin, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Thomas Harley, Jamie Drysdale, Neal Pionk, Travis Sanheim, Mattias Ekholm, Ivan Provorov, Simon Nemec, Will Borgen, Connor Ingram, Pyotr Kochetkov, Scott Wedgewood, Karel Vejmelka, Martin Jones, Alex Lyon, Joey Daccord, Samuel Ersson, Sam Montembeault, Joel Hofer, Lukas Dostal, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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