Still fighting to the finish in your fantasy hockey league? Or maybe you are looking for some keeper prospects for next year. Here is the weekly buy and sell recommendations with a bit of help on both fronts.
Tyler Bozak, C, Toronto Maple Leafs—There is no denying the chemistry developing between Phil Kessel, Nikolai Kulemin and Bozak. While producing offensively, Bozak is also dominating in the faceoff circle (56.2 percent) and is showing he could be the long-term solution for the Leafs as their first-line center. The Leafs have a moderately favorable schedule the rest of the way so Bozak should be good for another 10 or so points.
Tyler Myers, D, Buffalo Sabres—Myers made a name for himself early this season as the towering 19 year old Calder Trophy favorite on the Sabres’ blueline, but his production hit the ever-popular rookie wall on February 1st – his 20th birthday. From February 1st through March 7th Myers had just one goal, no assists and was -5 through 11 games. Since then, he has reverted to his impressive ways, posting two goals, seven assists and a +10 rating. Scan your waiver wire—Myers is owned in just 55 percent of pools.
Alex Steen, C, St. Louis Blues—Steen ranks fifth in the NHL in points over the last month with 14, putting him ahead of superstars like Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. Normally, I would be skeptical to see a player of Steen’s caliber producing at such a pace, but his added incentive to contribute likely has something to do with his expiring contract. While we might see Steen return back to his old, less-fantasy relevant style of play next season, he is definitely worthy of a pickup down the final stretch this year.
Jamie McBain, D, Carolina Hurricanes—Keeper alert! McBain, 22, appears to be the Hurricanes’ powerplay quarterback of the future. After three years of offensive success with the NCAA’s Wisconsin Badgers, he accumulated 40 points in 68 games with the ‘Canes’ AHL affiliate the Albany River Rats this season. He has points in each of his first four games as an NHLer, with a goal and four assists.
Niklas Backstrom, G, Minnesota Wild—Backstrom, Minnesota’s franchise player, has been struggling with a groin injury, and with the Wild soon to be out of playoff contention, look for the starting reigns to be handed to Josh Harding, so as not to risk further injury to Backstrom. Cam Ward is in a similar situation in Carolina with an ailing lower back problem. While goaltenders like the Philadelphia Flyers’ Brian Boucher and the Edmonton Oilers’ Devan Dubnyk might be more suited for the AHL, they are starting games and are more valuable at this point of the season than typical studs like Backstrom and Ward.
Marc Savard, C, Boston Bruins—Injured players like Savard, Mikael Samuelsson, and Jeff Carter are still owned in over 60 percent of leagues. Unless you’re in a keeper pool it’s time to drop players who will be out for the remainder of the season.
Alex Kovalev, RW, Ottawa Senators—Surprise, surprise—the notoriously streaky Kovalev has disappeared now that the Senators need him most. In the month of March, he has zero points and a -11 rating through 10 games, while teammates Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson have picked up their respective games. Exchange him for Bozak or Steen, or Nikolai Kulemin if you’re in need of a winger.
Jay Bouwmeester, D, Calgary Flames—Though we expected Dion Phaneuf’s departure to open up offensive opportunities along the Flames’ blueline, Bouwmeester has no goals and four assists in 17 games since the trade. Instead, Calgary’s turned to Mark Giordano and Ian White to provide offense from the back-end.