Fantasy hockey league playoffs have begun for some leagues, others will be entering the postseason in short order. With that in mind, it is time to look at the players available who can possibly help your roster as we head down the stretch.
Who are the players you need to know about that can help your team stay near the top of your league?
Before we get into some of the waiver wire players you need to consider, let's catch up on the news some of you have been waiting for most of the year.
Sidney Crosby may be returning to your fantasy hockey lineup soon....
It appears Sidney Crosby is finally on his way back into the lineup for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and that could happen as soon as Thursday when the Penguins take on the New York Rangers. For Crosby owners, this is tremendous news and could potentially be a game changer in your fantasy hockey league. Monitor Crosby's status as the week progresses. As soon as he is confirmed to be in the lineup, get him off IR and into your lineup with confidence he will return to the form that makes him one of the best fantasy hockey players in the world.
Now, on to this week's waiver wire, including two goaltenders that may help your squad down the stretch:
Jamie McGinn, left wing, Colorado Avalanche - McGinn, who is only owned in four percent of all fantasy leagues polled, has collected four goals and two assists his last four games. It appears that much like Steve Downie has found success with his new team in Colorado, McGinn has also found similar success. Consider adding him to your roster if you are looking for scoring depth.
Jordan Caron, right wing, Boston Bruins - Caron, who is only owned in one percent of all fantasy teams polled, is taking advantage of a Bruins team that has been hurt by injuries; and, as a result, putting him on a scoring line at times. Caron registered three goals and four assists over the past five games. If you are looking for a low-risk option, look no further as it does not appear Nathan Horton is any closer to returning and Caron will continue to get opportunities.
Ryan Malone, left wing, Tampa Bay Lightning - Malone, who is only owned in 12 percent of all leagues polled, has been a point-per-game player recently, with three goals and three assists in his last six games. Going back to the beginning of February, he failed to tally a point in just three out of a possible 13 games. The biggest issue with Malone is his ability to stay healthy, so there is some risk involved here. The upside is that he will always see top-six forward time on a team that has Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis around him. As long as he can continue to stay healthy, his fantasy value will continue to rise down the stretch.
Ben Bishop, goaltender, Ottawa Senators - Bishop, who is only owned in 21 percent of all leagues polled, is an intriguing fantasy option moving forward. He has recorded two wins in his first three games as a Senator after being acquired at the trade deadline from the St. Louis Blues. During that time he has posted a .926 save percentage and a 2.27 goals against average. Bishop appears to be gaining confidence. Playing in front of an Ottawa team that appears to be on the way to the playoffs will help. As long as Craig Anderson (lacerated right hand) is out, Bishop will have some fantasy value moving forward.
Dustin Tokarski, goaltender, Tampa Bay Lightning - With the news last week that Lightning goalie Mathieu Garon will miss approximately the next month with a groin strain, it appears its Tokarski's time for the Lightning as they try to stay in the race. He was good in his first game against the Washington Capitals Thursday night, so he is worth a look at this point if you are looking for help in goal. In two games this year, he has a .895 save percentage and 2.93 goals against average, posting a 0-1-1 record. Those aren't tremendous numbers, but at this point in the season it is difficult to find a goalie on the waiver wire capable of seeing significant minutes. Tokarski falls into that role and is, at worst, worth a pickup for depth purposes.
Fantasy hockey news and notes
Bad news for Matt Duchene owners, as it appears the Avalanche forward's fantasy hockey season is all but over after he sustained an ankle sprain in Colorado's game against the Minnesota Wild last week. He is expected to miss up to a month and return sometime in April. If you are a Duchene owner, cut ties and look elsewhere as it appears he no longer has fantasy hockey value. Look for rookie Mike Connolly to see an increased role, but temper your expectations.
If you are a Mike Green owner, you won't be able to use him until March 16. The Washington Capitals defenseman was suspended three games, one of which he has served, for throwing an elbow to the head of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brett Connolly.
That will do it for today, check back soon as we will have more on Sidney Crosby and some final thoughts before the fantasy hockey playoffs officially get under way.
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