All fantasy owners need help in the short term AND the long term. The Looking Ahead feature identifies one player to plug into lineups in the short term, a second to invest in for the long term, a third to bench for the coming week, and a fourth who will struggle to meet expectations for some time. All players discussed are selected based on their upcoming schedule. Stats in this article updated through March 27th

Author’s note: this is the last Looking Ahead for the year, hopefully it came in handy and you win your seasons!


The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)

Alexander Steen, RW, St. Louis Blues (Available in 60 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – With the Blues having an excellent finishing schedule (see below), Steen is a strong add at this point thanks to getting moved away from the Schenn/Schwartz duo. Since Vladimir Tarasenko has come back from injury and moved Steen down to the second line, Steen’s feasted on lesser opposition to the tune of 2G-3A in his last six, and he’s played more than 19 minutes in five of those six. He still gets top power play time on the point and is a strong peripheral player; for those pushing for a championship and losing someone like Johnny Gaudreau, Steen is a more-than-adequate replacement.

Since this is the last Looking Ahead of the season, BONUS IMMEDIATE FIX: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is only 42% owned, and since moving up to play wing beside Connor McDavid, has scored 2G-5A in six games. If he’s available, he’s the C to pick up.


The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)

Ryan Donato, LW, Boston Bruins (Available in 85 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – The rare NCAA draft pick who makes the mid-year jump to the NHL and finds immediate success, Donato both has the talent to succeed as a fantasy asset as well as have the opportunity to succeed – a crucial factor. Donato plays even strength alongside David Krecji and a rotating cast of wingers which will eventually be Rick Nash or Jake DeBrusk, but importantly he’s been slotted into the first power play of a potent Bruins team. Since joining the Bs, Donato has put up 3G-2A (including two PPP) in six games and has fired 16SOG; Donato AVERAGED six shots per game in the NCAA, so expect that shot volume to keep up. He’s a great add for a stretch run but is also a necessary add for deep keeper leagues.



The Odd Man Out (His short-term value is cause for concern)

John Klingberg, D, Dallas Stars (Owned in 95 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – The Stars’ remaining schedule is horrible (see below), and Klingberg hasn’t been producing as his regular pace since February. In his last ten games, Klingberg has five points (all assists) – which is great for a defenseman! – but his matchups that are left should continue to keep his scoring down. Expect the Stars to try out Julius Honka and Esa Lindell on the power play now that they’re officially eliminated, so shelve Klingberg the rest of the way.


The Anchors (They’ll do nothing but disappoint even over the long haul)

Duncan Keith, D, Chicago Blackhawks (Owned in 80 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – It may be time to officially give up the cost on Duncan Keith, especially for those not in keeper leagues. If you’ve made it this far with Keith and his 31 points and are STILL contending, congratulations! While it’s never a good idea to recommend dropping someone who’s hitting career lows in shooting percentage, the team around Keith is a far cry from what it used to be, made clear by the ‘Hawks having the 28th-ranked power play. Unless he gets moved for salary purposes, keeper owners should be looking long and hard at biting the bullet on Keith – the return off a horrible year wouldn’t retrieve much – and season-long owners need to make this move two months ago.


Love ‘Em (These squads are sure to pay dividends in the coming days)

St. Louis – The Bluenotes have six games left in their push for the playoffs and are winners of six straight which includes four games where they scored three or more goals; three or more shouldn’t jump off the page, but considering they only accomplished that four times in February, that’s a big step. During this streak they’ve also racked up shot volume (38+ in all six wins), and their upcoming schedule sees Chicago twice, Arizona, Washington, Colorado, and Vegas.

Toronto – With Auston Matthews back the Leafs again have three competent scoring lines, and a great schedule to close out the year: at the Islanders and Devils – two free-skating teams that are prone to high-event hockey, and home against the Jets, Sabres and Canadiens. Only the Devils and Jets are making the playoffs of those five, and only the Jets are a strong defensive match that could hurt fantasy owners.

Florida – Although their six games left aren’t all going to be easy – three of them come against the Bruins – Florida is an offensive firepower, and every game is a must-win for them down the stretch. Their other three games come against Carolina, Nashville and Buffalo, all at home. Since flipping the calendar from February to March, the Panthers haven’t taken less than 30SOG in a game, and have scored less than three goals only three times (15GP).


Leave ‘Em (These squads will leave fantasy owners sorely disappointed in the short term)

Calgary – It doesn’t really matter how many games the Flames have left at this point, because their current roster without Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau is not a good one to put it mildly. With a top line of Sam Bennett, Mikael Backlund and Troy Brouwer, the Flames have put up three goals in five games and been shut out three times; just put any remaining Flames on the bench of waiver wire.

Chicago – The Blackhawks’ four remaining games allow them to play spoiler, but there’s nothing easy about them: at Colorado, at St. Louis, home vs. St. Louis, and they finish the season on a travelling back-to-back against Winnipeg. That’s three games against two of the best defensive teams in the league – Winnipeg and St. Louis are 5th and 4th-best in terms of Goals Allowed – which isn’t a recipe for fantasy success.

Dallas – With four games remaining and three on the road, the Stars are limping to the finish line this year and should be avoided. While the Big 3 of Benn, Seguin and Radulov are always going to be above replacement level and shouldn’t be benched, the Stars remaining games are against Minnesota at home, and then SJ/LA/Anaheim in California to finish their season.

March 30 to April 5

Best Bets

TOR 4.205 – Away NYI NJD- Home WPG BUF

NYI 4.2 – Away NJD – Home TOR PHI NYR

MTL 4.1525 – Away PIT DET- Home NJD WPG

FLA 4.1 – Away BOS – Home CAR NSH BOS

VGK 4.09 – Away VAN EDM- Home STL SJS

Steer Clear

DAL 1.795 – Away SJS – Home MIN

CHI 2.0425 – Away COL STL – Home

PIT 2.5925 – Away CBJ- Home MTL WSH

DET 2.75 – Away CBJ – Home OTT MTL

BUF 2.85 – Away NSH TOR – Home OTT

March 31 to April 6

Best Bets

MTL 4.1525 – Away PIT DET – Home NJD WPG

FLA 4.1 – Away BOS – Home CAR NSH BOS

OTT 4.095 – Away DET BUF PIT- Home WPG

BOS 3.995 – Away PHI TBL FLA – Home FLA

NJD 3.9525 – Away MTL – Home NYI NYR TOR

Steer Clear

CHI 2 – Away STL – Home STL

LAK 2.1 – Away – Home COL MIN

COL 2.66 – Away ANH LAK SJS – Home

DAL 2.6975 – Away SJS ANH- Home MIN

DET 2.75 – Away CBJ – Home OTT MTL

April 1 to April 7

Best Bets

FLA 4.305 – – Home CAR NSH BOS BUF

MTL 4.2475 – Away DET TOR- Home NJD WPG

TBL 4.2 – Away CAR- Home NSH BOS BUF

ANH 4.195 – Away ARI- Home COL MIN DAL

PHI 4.1 – Away NYI – Home BOS CAR NYR

Steer Clear

PIT 2.645 – Away CBJ – Home WSH OTT

DAL 2.66 – Away SJS ANH LAK- Home

DET 2.8025 – Away CBJ – Home MTL NYI

NYR 2.9925 – Away NJD NYI PHI- Home

CHI 2.9975 – Away STL WPG- Home STL

April 2 to April 8

Best Bets

FLA 4.305 – – Home CAR NSH BOS BUF

OTT 3.9525 – Away BUF PIT BOS – Home WPG

STL 3.9325 – Away CHI COL – Home WSH CHI

WPG 3.91 – Away OTT MTL – Home CGY CHI

BUF 3.8475 – Away TOR TBL FLA – Home OTT

Steer Clear

DAL 2.66 – Away SJS ANH LAK – Home

PIT 1.805 – Away CBJ – Home OTT

DET 2.8025 – Away CBJ – Home MTL NYI

NSH 2.6025 – Away FLA WSH – Home CBJ

COL 2.8075 – Away LAK SJS – Home STL

April 3 to April 9

Best Bets

CGY 3.4125 – Away WPG – Home ARI VGK

NYI 3.245 – Away DET – Home PHI NYR

TBL 3.2025 – Away CAR – Home BOS BUF

VAN 3.3175 – Away EDM – Home VGK ARI

FLA 3.2025 – Away – Home NSH BOS BUF

Steer Clear

PIT 1.805 – Away CBJ – Home OTT

LAK 1.9425 – Away – Home MIN DAL

TOR 1.9425 – Away NJD – Home MTL

COL 1.9525 – Away SJS – Home STL

CAR 2.095 – Away PHI – Home TBL

April 4 to April 10

Best Bets

STL 3.0925 – Away CHI COL – Home CHI

CHI 2.9975 – Away STL WPG – Home STL

ANH 2.9875 – Away ARI – Home MIN DAL

BUF 2.8975 – Away TBL FLA – Home OTT

OTT 2.85 – Away BUF PIT BOS – Home

Steer Clear

NSH 1.6525 – Away WSH – Home CBJ

DAL 1.7575 – Away ANH LAK – Home

PIT 1.805 – Away CBJ – Home OTT

NJD 1.81 – Away WSH – Home TOR

CBJ 1.8475 – Away NSH – Home PIT

April 5 to April 11

Best Bets

EDM 2.52 – – Home VGK VAN

CGY 2.2575 – Away WPG – Home VGK

FLA 2.205 – Away – Home BOS BUF

WPG 2.1525 – Away – Home CGY CHI

TBL 2.1525 – Away CAR – Home BUF

Steer Clear

NSH 1.6525 – Away WSH – Home CBJ

DAL 1.7575 – Away ANH LAK – Home

MIN 1.7575 – Away LAK SJS – Home

OTT 1.805 – Away PIT BOS – Home

PIT 1.805 – Away CBJ – Home OTT