Finally, the most exciting time of the year has arrived if you are a fantasy hockey player: the playoffs. It is time to keep an eye on trends that will help your team in the most crucial weeks of the season. Whether it be working the waiver wire or lineup decisions, there is no more important time to stay up on all the latest trends to help you stay ahead of the competition, so let's get started.
Ben Bishop is becoming a must-start. We talked about this a bit last week after the trade that sent the goaltender from the Ottawa Senators to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The trade has paid off in a big way if you had Bishop stored away on your roster or were able to grab him on the waiver wire. He started all four games for the Lightning since then and put up decent numbers as well. If you have Bishop on your roster, he has become a sneaky play in all formats.
Ilya Bryzgalov struggles on and off the ice. One of the more eccentric players you will ever find, the Philadelphia Flyers goaltender found himself in the middle of controversy this week when stories started circulating that he fell asleep in a meeting and that led to a benching. That story was denied by almost all involved, but it is just another distraction for the goaltender who has not been great this year in most of his games. Bryzgalov has checked in with a record of 17-15-3 with a 2.88 goals against average and a .896 save percentage. Use extreme caution with him if you need him in the postseason.
Keep an eye on Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk (shoulder) is close to returning from a shoulder issue that has kept him out of the lineup over the past month. While the Devils forward is not expected to play this weekend, he could make his return as soon as Monday. With the Devils fighting for their playoff lives, keep a close eye on Kovalchuk's status over the next couple days to make sure the team does not sneak him into the lineup earlier than expected, and as soon as he does return to the lineup, get him back in to yours.
Kris Letang returns. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman will return to the lineup Thursday, April 11, against Tampa Bay after missing the last two weeks with a lower-body injury. Letang has checked in with three goals and 25 assists this season. He is basically a must-start in all formats and could give your team an added boost as your playoff runs continue. While it may take him a game or two to get back up to speed, you should not be concerned about his production.
That will do it for this week's fantasy hockey trends. Make sure you check back for the Fantasy Hockey Weekly Planner and the Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire. Good luck to all of you in your playoff matchups this week.
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