Center Matt Hendricks has gotten a shot on the team's top scoring line, posting a game-winning goal and an assist with a plus-3 rating over the past three games. While he is considered mostly a placeholder until center Brooks Laich (groin) is ready for a return, Hendricks has some short-term fantasy appeal. Center Mike Ribeiro has lit the lamp in three straight, and he maintains a stranglehold on the team's top scoring spot with nine goals and 28 points. If you need help with hits and blocked shots without taking too much of a hit in the offensive categories, look to defenseman John Carlson. He has four goals and a respectable 10 points in 22 games to go along with 59 blocked shots and 26 hits.
Must start: Nicklas Backstrom, Troy Brouwer, John Carlson (hits/blocked shots leagues), Braden Holtby, Alex Ovechkin, Mike Ribeiro
Left wing Evander Kane has been on an awful streak this season. Right now, he is in the midst of one of those troughs, going scoreless with an even rating and six PIM over his past four games. He'll keep your head above water in leagues which reward hits and shots on goal (SOG), but if those two categories aren't part of your pool, you're likely very frustrated. He'll get on a hot streak, gain the trust of fantasy owners and then he'll go cold. Fantasy owners sit him, and then he goes on a tear. The best thing to do is sink or swim with him, leaving him active while riding the waves.
Must start: Dustin Byfuglien, Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler
Those in cumulative fantasy leagues will take a hit this week, as their Blackhawks standouts have just two games. Goaltenders Corey Crawford and Ray Emery are likely to split the two games, so they are definite must-sits unless your pool averages points per game in a scoring period. Also, note that left wing Patrick Sharp (shoulder) is out at least three weeks, and perhaps a month, with a shoulder ailment.
Must start: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews
Les Habitants de Montreal have just two games on tap, so nearly every player on their roster is a must-sit until next week. Left wing Brandon Prust is actually an exception in leagues which reward penalty minutes. He has 81 PIM in 24 games, while posting a respectable four goals, nine points and a plus-13 rating. Goaltender Carey Price will likely make both starts, so he should remain active regardless of format.
Must start: Josh Gorges (hits/blocked shots leagues), Brandon Prust (PIM leagues), Max Pacioretty, Carey Price
New York Islanders
The good news is that the Islanders will play favorable games for their offensive players at Tampa Bay and at Florida. The bad news is that will be their only two games in the upcoming week. Fantasy owners in cumulative leagues will want to steer far clear of those marginal producers such as right wing Brad Boyes, right wing Michael Grabner and defenseman Mark Streit. Left wing Matt Martin leads the NHL with 116 hits in just 24 games.
Must start: Matt Martin (hits/blocked shots leagues), Matt Moulson, John Tavares
The Fly Guys have shown some signs of life lately, picking up the pace offensively. The return of right wing Wayne Simmonds from concussion has really made a difference, as he has three goals and an assist over his past four games. Defenseman Niklas Grossman has emerged as a must-start in advanced scoring systems with a whopping 63 hits and league-leading 73 blocked shots through 25 games.
Must start: Claude Giroux, Niklas Grossman (hits/blocked shots leagues), Luke Schenn (hits/blocked shots leagues), Wayne Simmonds, Kimmo Timonen, Jakub Voracek
About Daniel Dobish
Daniel is a Hot Off the Wire Analyst who joined the KFFL staff in 2010. He is a veteran of the fantasy industry dating back to 1999, with stops at CBSSports.com, The Sports Forecaster, OPENSports.com and RotoExperts.com. His work has also appeared on NFL.com and Yahoo.com. Daniel was named the 2011 Fantasy Golf Writer of the Year, 2011 Fantasy Racing Writer of the Year, and he was nominated for the 2011 Fantasy Hockey Writer of the Year. Daniel lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.