Right wing Jakub Voracek got off to a slow start, as did right wing Claude Giroux. But those two are really clicking, and they have made center Brayden Schenn a must-start fantasy option, too. The Flyers have been better offensively since right wing Wayne Simmonds (concussion) returned from injury, too. If you're looking for blocked-shots help, defenseman Nicklas Grossman leads the NHL with 61 blocks and he has a respectable 57 hits in 22 games.
Must start: Ilya Bryzgalov, Danny Briere, Claude Giroux, Brayden Schenn, Luke Schenn (hits leagues), Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek
Left wing Mikkel Boedker has picked up his play lately, posting two goals with five assists over his past six games, ascending to the top of the points list in Phoenix. Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson continues his strong play, posting 13 points (3 G, 10 A) with a team-high plus-10 rating in 20 games. He has emerged as a must-start in all formats.
Must start: Mikkel Boedker, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Mike Smith, Keith Yandle
Center Evgeni Malkin (concussion) missed his third straight game Thursday, but he is skating and a return might come sooner rather than later. Still, he should be reserved in all leagues in the new week until a more certain timetable is presented. Defenseman Paul Martin (undisclosed) missed the third period Thursday in Carolina due to an undisclosed injury, so he is a question mark in the new week, too.
Must start: Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury, Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang, James Neal
St. Louis Blues
Not many saw this coming, but left wing Alexander Steen actually leads the Blue Notes with 16 points (4 G, 12 A, plus-2) through 18 games. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk has slowed to a crawl, but he still has a team-high 14 assists. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has tailed off significantly, and is due. However, the Blues face some of the Western Conference's best goaltenders this week in visits to L.A., Phoenix, San Jose and Anaheim.
Must start: Brian Elliott, Jaroslav Halak, T.J. Oshie, Kevin Shattenkirk, Alexander Steen
San Jose Sharks
Center Joe Thornton has pieced together a five-game point streak, his best since opening the season with at least one point in each of his first six. Left wing Patrick Marleau opened the season with five straight multi-point games, but he hasn't had more than one point in a game in 14 consecutive games since the impressive streak ended Jan. 27.
Must start: Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau, Antti Niemi, Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton
Tampa Bay Lightning
Center Steven Stamkos is ridiculous. Or maybe the reaction of fans is ridiculous. He had Tampa fans and fantasy owners wringing their hands when he had no goals and just two assists with a minus-4 rating in a five-game span from Feb. 5-14. Since, he has seven goals with 13 points in the past seven outings. He is special to say the least.
Must start: Cory Conacher, Vincent Lecavalier, Teddy Purcell, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos
Toronto Maple Leafs
Center Nazem Kadri is looking like the real deal. He had a hat trick at the N.Y. Islanders Thursday, giving him six points (3 G, 3 A, plus-6) over his past three games. He has ascended to the top of the Leafs' leaderboard in points, surpassing the inconsistent right wing Phil Kessel. Goaltender James Reimer (knee) made his first start Thursday since Feb. 11, and he reported feeling fine. He and goaltender Ben Scrivens are likely to be in a 60-40 split, making both No. 2 fantasy options at best.
Must start: Nazem Kadri, Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, James Reimer, James van Riemsdyk
The enigmatic left wing Alex Ovechkin continues to be a question mark, but he is still tied for the team lead with eight goals. He can pick up points in bunches, and despite less-than-stellar play by his standards, and a team-worst minus-7 rating, he remains a must-start for now. Center Mike Ribeiro continues to lead this team in scoring by a mile, totaling six goals with 22 points and a respectable minus-2 rating. He has five markers on the man advantage, and is also helpful to those in PIM leagues with 28 penalty minutes.
Must start: Nicklas Backstrom, Troy Brouwer (PIM leagues), Alex Ovechkin, Mike Ribeiro
Not long ago, many in Winnipeg were concerned about right wing Blake Wheeler's production. Ever since a two-goal game, including the game-winner, in Raleigh Feb. 21, Wheeler has three goals and six points to move near a point-per-game production level. He has re-emerged as a must-start in all formats. Left wing Andrew Ladd is also hot since that game against the Canes, posting four goals with seven points during the past five. Defenseman Ron Hainsey can help owners in advanced scoring system leads with 55 hits.
Must start: Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom, Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler