In standard fantasy hockey leagues, we are down to just three weeks of regular season action. Is your team ready for the playoffs? Do you have the fantasy hockey players you need to win a championship? In today's edition, we focus on players who should be high on your radar to close out the regular season.
David Perron quietly has 11 goals and 27 points this season for the St. Louis Blues
Mathieu Darche, C, Montreal Canadiens - Darche had an OK week for the Canadiens, checking in with a goal and assist in his last four games. He is also available in nearly all leagues, being owned in one percent of all leagues polled. On the month, he has three goals and three assists to go along with four penalty minutes. He didn't attempt any shots on goal in his last two games, though, which is never a positive sign so keep him on your watch list for the time being to see if he can add some consistency to his play over the last few weeks.
Devin Setoguchi, RW, Minnesota Wild - Setoguchi, who is only owned in 20 percent of all leagues polled, checked in with three goals and two assists in the last week. With Miko Koivu returning to the lineup, the Wild were able to reunite their top line, and Setoguchi was able to take advantage. As long as that line stays together, Setoguchi is worth a look, even with the Wild's struggles of late. On the season, he has 14 goals and 25 points, with four goals coming in the last two weeks.
Max Talbot, C/RW, Philadelphia Flyers - Talbot, who is only owned in six percent of all leagues polled, checked in with four goals and eight penalty minutes over his last five games, including a two-goal effort against the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night. Talbot has set career highs in almost every offensive category this year and is worth considering in deeper leagues at this point.
David Perron, LW, St. Louis Blues - Perron has been mentioned in this space before, and is still one of the more underrated fantasy players in hockey right now. Only owned in 30 percent of all leagues polled, Perron has seven goals and 10 points in his last eight games. If you need scoring help, you need to snag Perron, as he is performing at almost an elite level right now.
Victor Hedman, D, Tampa Bay Lightning - Since Hedman has returned from a concussion, he has picked up right where he left off. He has quickly emerged as the number one defenseman in Tampa and with the news that Pavel Kubina is on his way out, it makes sense that Hedman will get even more minutes. Owned in only 23 percent of all leagues polled, Hedman had a five point week, all assists. He has value if you need a defenseman who can put up points.
Steve Mason, G, Columbus Blue Jackets - It's not often you can find a serviceable goaltender this time of year, and Mason loosely falls into that category based mostly upon the playing time he has received lately. Owned in only 26 percent of all leagues polled, Mason has seven wins, including two this month, on the season. He is worth a look if you need a third or fourth goalie, but he's best used as matchup plays after allowing three goals to the New York Rangers and four to the Chicago Blackhawks in the past two games.
Fantasy hockey news and notes
Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent Hopkins returned to practice last week, which is good news for his fantasy owners. The bad news is that he still is not ready to return to action quite yet. Monitor his status and get him back into your lineups as soon as he is ready to return.
Florida Panthers defenseman Jason Garrison is expected to miss 7-10 days, according to the team. Garrison has been a nice surprise in fantasy hockey this year with 13 goals and 10 assists. Keep him on your bench and monitor his status as he attempts to get back on the ice.
Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg was scheduled to miss Friday's game with an undisclosed lower-body injury, but he played through it Friday and Sunday, notching a goal and an assist. It appears he is beyond whatever the lower-body injury was and you should continue to start him with confidence.
Stay tuned throughout the week as we focus on the NHL trade deadline and on the moves that may make a difference to your fantasy hockey teams and leagues.
About Mike Corcoran
Mike Corcoran joined KFFL in 2011 as their senior fantasy hockey writer. The Tarrytown, New York, native hosts a hockey radio show on ESPN Radio in Tampa, and covers the Tampa Bay Lightning professionally.
You can follow Mike on Twitter @MikeCorcoranNHL