Wow, the fantasy hockey playoffs have arrived. Where has the time gone? It seems just like yesterday that we were all complaining about the inconstant officiating standards and wondering if the Vegas Golden Knights were for real. Wait, sorry, that was last week.
Here are some players to jump on or dump off as the playoffs arrive. Please keep in mind I’ve listed players you might be able to actually acquire rather than writing, like, “trade for Evgeni Malkin.” (But if you can, please trade for Malkin.)
The Panthers are surging towards a playoff seed with an offense that posted 36 goals in nine games, powered by the dynamic line of Dadonov, Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad. Assuming the Panthers are no fluke, we’ll probably want a piece of this line. Barkov is the most over-appreciated underrated player in the NHL, so he’s probably off the board. If it’s between Dadonov and Bjugstad, I’m taking Dadonov. He has double the power play points (12) of Bjugstad, and according to Natural Stat Trick, he leads the Panthers at 3.54 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5, through 58 games.
If this line does get a little frosty, I’m wagering he stays with Barkov and potentially reunites with Jonathan Huberdeau. He could be a difference maker for your opening playoff bout. Bonus: The Panthers have more games remaining than anyone on the playoff bubble, including seven contests over the next two weeks.
As they stumble to the end of the season, the Rangers are probably going to lose more on Broadway than that Spider-Man musical did. But that doesn’t mean some of their players don’t have something to play for, and Spooner is one of those guys. He had 12 points in his first seven games with the team. He’s a pending restricted free agent, and the Rangers are going to want to see what they have here. Worth a look for you, too.
Raanta continues to be a ray of desert sunshine in an otherwise overcast and arid season for GM John Chayka. If he’s available, snag him. Not only is Raanta putting up better than respectable numbers on a bad team (.924 save percentage), but he’ll face a good number of shots each night, too. The Coyotes have seven games during this stretch, so he’ll see some action, provided his lower-body injury isn’t a hindrance.
Sounds like a character from a Star Wars novelization, playing like a top liner for the Sharks lately. Donskoi is second on the Sharks in scoring chances per 60 (37.55) and even-strength goals per 60 (2.92), trailing only Evander Kane in both categories. He’s recently taken up residence on the wing of Kane and Joe Pavelski, and we don’t expect the production to slow.
When Dallas News writer Mike Heika says something might be up with Benn’s health, you listen — and there’s something off about him right now. Benn has three goals since Jan. 25, although he’s picked up 10 assists since then. Dallas has four home games and nine road games left, and Benn’s been a weaker performer on the road. It’s tough to say goodbye to a dude that can help you across the board, but if you roster him, perhaps it’s time to put him on your bench. If your league doesn’t have a trade deadline, it’s also worth poking around and seeing if someone will make a deal based on reputation. (And if so, see if they’ll take Jason Spezza, too, because woof.)
Hoo boy, the clock has struck midnight and he’s turned back into a pumpkin. Schenn’s still second on the Blues in scoring (behind Vladimir Tarasenko), but his pace has fallen off a cliff. Schenn has four points, including one goal, since Feb. 9. There’s a chance things could spiral for the Blues down the stretch, and we imagine Schenn’s performance could reflect that.
Nine straight games without a point and some fluctuating ice time, on a team that’s doing quite well. Look, you’re not a public defender. You can pass on this Kase.