The fantasy hockey season is getting super exciting for some, as the playoffs are here and those in head-to-head formats are battling for seeding, byes, etc., or their playoffs have already started.
If you are eliminated from the postseason in long-term keeper formats, but transactions are still open, you have different goals than those who are in it to win it right now. There are a handful of guys who cannot necessarily help those contending for a fantasy championship right now, but they can be super useful in future seasons. Get these guys now, and next season at this time, you might be the one battling for your league's trophy.
Marcus Foligno, left wing, Buffalo Sabres
When the Buffalo Sabres dealt right winger and captain Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild at the NHL Trade Deadline, it was obvious that this team is going into rebuild mode. They will focus on their young corps of budding NHLers, and one of the biggest standouts is Foligno. He has managed five goals and 16 points with a minus-4 rating and 39 penalty minutes in 38 games.
While those trying to win now will be put off by his plus/minus rating, a category which might hold his fantasy value down for a year or two, those looking to stock their roster with potential superstars down the road will definitely want to have Foligno in future years. He has already shown he is an NHL-caliber player, and he hasn't come close to his ceiling.
Alex Galchenyuk, center, Montreal Canadiens
Galchenyuk is a fan favorite with the young ladies in Montreal, but he is good for a lot more than just having a fresh face. The Belarusian has potted five goals while posting 13 assists and a plus-9 rating through 38 games. He sits eighth overall for points by a rookie this season, and one of his goals was a game-winner.
He and right winger Brendan Gallagher give the Canadiens a very bright future. Both Galchenyuk and Gallagher are worth stashing away in long-term keeper pools, as they could be 50- to 60-point players as soon as next season.
Mika Zibanejad, center, Ottawa Senators
Zibanejad has a last name which sounds somewhat like the leader of Iran, but he is not an iron-fist type of guy. In fact, he is a finesse player with a sweet passing touch who is not only worth a look in long-term keeper formats, but he can help those still contending for championships right now. Zibanejad has managed six goals with 19 points and an impressive plus-10 rating, and he has only spent six total minutes in the sin bin.
For fantasy owners in leagues which discourage bad behavior, Zibanejad has been quite the find lately. The Swede has not scored a goal since March 13, a span of 11 games. However, he has 10 assists during the impressive span.
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.