Andrei Markov – After sitting out more than two months with a severed ankle tendon, Markov’s showing no rust accumulated, compiling 12 points in nine games. Fantasy-wise, Markov is arguably the next best defenseman after juggernaut Mike Green.
Jordan Staal – Playing on a team strapped for centres, Jordan Staal would probably already have at least a couple 50 point seasons under his belt. Unfortunately, playing with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin limits the 21 year old’s powerplay time. He is finally getting more ice-time on a scoring line however, and with three goals and five assists in his last seven contests, he’s headed for a career year.
Milan Lucic – Lucic’s return to the Bruins’ lineup should buffer some of the blow from the loss of Patrice Bergeron, who will be out several weeks with a badly broken finger. Lucic, who hasn’t played since November 25th, is expected to play Saturday night against the Blackhawks, and owners should expect his typical truculent style of play to resume.
Simon Gagne – Gagne’s healthy, and has nine points in as many games since his return. Gambling on Gagne staying healthy is a bet you’ll lose more often than not though, so tread carefully. If you own him, he’s a definite starter. If you don’t, you probably shouldn’t go out of your way to trade for him.
Rick Nash – The Columbus Blue Jackets have been the worst NHL team over the past month or so, with a 2-11-4 record since December 3rd. During that 17 game stretch, Nash has just 11 points and a -8 rating. Nash has gained the reputation of a stud, so he’ll haul a fair bit on the trade market if you’re getting impatient.
John Tavares – With just a single point over his last 12 games, the rookie has hit a definite wall. Unless you’re in a keeper league, you should be shopping the slumping 19 year old.
Phil Kessel – Kessel quickly silenced Leafs’ GM Brian Burke’s critics when he exploded out of the gates in November with 15 points in his first 15 games. Expect the speculators to come crawling back out of the woodwork, as Kessel has slumped his way to just seven points in his last 17.
If you recall, Burke forfeited the Leafs’ first round pick in 2010 and 2011, and also their second round pick in 2010. With the Leafs’ current struggles, it’s appearing more and more that this year’s first round pick is going to be a top-5 selection. With the Leafs having no other offensive threats even close to as skilled as Kessel, he should expect the tight checking to continue. Seek out the Leafs’ fans in your pool and shop Kessel accordingly.
Marty Turco – The Dallas Stars’ starter hasn’t exactly played like a star lately, allowing three or more goals in seven of his last eight games. The Pacific has been the NHL’s strongest division this season, and with seven of their next nine games coming on the road, the Stars could be in for a rough ride. If you already have some strength between the pipes and are short offensively, you should consider trading Turco to someone desperate for a starting tender.