Jonas Hiller, G, ANA – The Ducks’ tender is 4-0-0 in his last four starts, sporting a 1.50 goals against average and a .954 save percentage. The Ducks are creeping closer and closer to playoff contention, and look to be fully healthy again. Look for the Ducks to be solid down the stretch, and Hiller will be a big reason why.
Mathieu Garon, G, CBJ – Goaltending has ruined the Blue Jackets this season, and part of the problem is that the Jackets insisted on starting Steve Mason, their franchise cornerstone, despite lacklustre results. For us Habs fans, this is eerily reminiscent of the Carey Price vs. Jaroslav Halak debacle.
Garon went 3-0-0 last week with a 1.46 goals against average and a .940 save percentage. The Jackets need to run with this momentum if they have any hope of making the playoffs again, and Garon might be available on the cheap in your league. He’ll play until he strings together a couple poor starts.
Guillaume Latendresse, LW, MIN – Seven goals in his last 11 games. Being a Francophone hockey player in La Belle Province isn’t easy, and Latendresse is playing like a huge weight has been lifted off his shoulders.
Matt Duchene, C, COL – Duchene has steadily improved over the course of his rookie year. He has posted 22 points in his last 25 games, after starting the season with just 7 points in 21 games. The fact that he’s getting significantly better as the season progresses is especially encouraging since many wondered if Duchene was strong enough to play in the show this year, or if he’d fade down the stretch.
Alex Burrows, LW, VAN – He’s not nearly as good as his last week suggests, but he’s probably a bit better than his stats before that week would indicate. Since Daniel Sedin’s return from injury, Henrik has elevated his game to a whole new level, and Burrows figures to continue to reap the benefits. Expect him to be a solid contributor down the stretch, but if anyone in your league overvalues him after this week I wouldn’t hesitate to deal him.
Benoit Pouliot, LW, MTL – He probably doesn’t merit much attention in anything but the deepest of leagues, but the former 4th overall pick is turning some heads since he arrived in Montreal. He has four goals in his last seven games. He is shooting the puck more than ever, and seeing more ice time than ever. With Andrei Kostitsyn sidelined for the foreseeable future, expect Pouliot to continue to log quality minutes.
Tomas Plekanec, C, MTL – I’m always really wary of players who have career years when they’re on the verge of unrestricted free agency. Plekanec’s career high for points in a season is 69 points, and he had just 39 over a full season last year. He was red-hot in late November and early December, scoring at almost a 90 point per season pace, but has slowed a little of late. His trade value now is about as high as it’s ever been, and I suspect at least some owners will manage to take advantage of this fact to help them down the stretch.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that many of his assists came during Andrei Kostitsyn’s hot streak, and the enigmatic Belarusian is now sidelined for some time.
Dustin Penner, LW, EDM – Alright, I think it’s finally time to throw in the towel on Penner for this year. Hemsky’s injury certainly didn’t do him any favours, and the Oilers in general have just been terrible recently. Penner has just two points in his last eight, and looks nothing like the player he did early in the season. He’s still on pace for a goal total in the high 30’s though, so he’s probably got some trade value if someone in your league needs goals.
Rich Peverley, C, ATL – Hopefully you sold him a little while ago. Peverley reminds me a lot of Andy MacDonald, or Andrew Ebbett. He’s had some productive stretches, and clearly has a great offensive mind, but size, strength, and consistency are always going to be issues. He’s a stopgap solution as a first-line playmaker. Nevertheless, as with Penner, he’s still on pace for a decent point total, and someone might be interested.