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.

Most stats updated through Wednesday, March 13

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

Brendan Perlini, W, Chicago Blackhawks (Available in 97 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – With the Blackhawks’ upcoming schedule looking enticing (see below), Perlini makes a great late-season add and should be available in practically every league. Perlini’s found his scoring touch on a third line with Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat, scoring 5G-2A in the four games he’s been on that line. In addition to the points, Perlini has also fired a ton of pucks – 18 in those games, to be specific.

While it would be insane to think that production will continue, his current role is perfect for at least some goal-scoring, as the Hawks’ third line sees very protected minutes against bottom-pair defensemen and third/fourth-lines of opposition forwards which is very conducive to scoring. In his three seasons in the NHL (153 games as a Coyote and 35 games in Chicago) Perlini has consistently shot the puck well, averaging 13.4% for his career with 43 goals on 320 shots, so his current shooting percentage of 16.9% is high but not too far off the mark. He’s also getting second power-play unit time, so those looking for goals and shots should pick him up.

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

Damon Severson, D, New Jersey Devils (Available in 87 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Although there’s not much in New Jersey that offers much from a fantasy perspective, Severson offers a ton of appeal through the rest of the season. Severson is averaging 21:46/night, but in his past five games he’s seen ice time of 23:51, 21:09, 23:45, 24:02 and 28:16 (a shootout loss). That increase in ice time comes from Severson’s role changing to more of a top-pairing defenseman, and he’s also been moved up to the top power-play unit given the absolute lack of competent forwards on the Devils.

In his past ten games, Severson has picked up 3G-3A on 18 shots and 12 blocks and he continues to increase his career-best season, now with 11G-26A – with ten of those points coming on the PP. He’s a scary add in leagues that track plus-minus, but he’s a strong pick-up if you’re one of the unlucky Chabot owners looking for a body to fill in the gaps.

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

Ryan Johansen, C, Nashville Predators (Owned in 70 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Nashville has a horrible schedule upcoming (see the Leave ‘Em section) which will hurt Johansen’s value, but in general Nashville’s top centre has been struggling – just three assists in his last ten games. The Predators have been scoring at a low rate in those games (2.6/game) but for Johansen to get just three points out of the Preds’ 26 goals is alarming.

The top line of RyJo-Forsberg-Arvidsson has been shuffled around recently with injuries and line changes, which is always a concern given what it does to Johansen’s value; Johansen has put up only 21 points away from Forsberg/Arvidsson, a measly 37.5% of his point totals this season. While that line is currently back together, it’s a bad sign that they’ve been juggled at all, and with Nashville piling up losses (five in ten games entering Thursday) it wouldn’t take much for coach Peter Laviolette to shuffle the deck again. Leave Johansen on the side until the end of the season – the last three games for Nashville come against Buffalo, Vancouver and Chicago.

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

Jonathan Drouin, W, Montreal Canadiens (Owned in 50 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – In his past 15 games, Drouin has picked up a paltry four assists – on the surface, that’s pretty bad for a top-power play/top-6 forward, but even worse is that all four assists came in the same game against Detroit.

Since that four-assist night, Drouin has been shifted down to the third line with Jesperi Kotkaniemi and has seen small dips in his ice time, playing under 16 minutes in five of his last ten. On the season, Drouin’s been fine with 17G-33A on 171 shots, but with just 12 games to go and Drouin’s role lessening, he can be parked or dropped.

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

Dallas – They’re no longer just a one-line team – although the studs remain the studs for Dallas – and they’ve only lost three of their past ten, scoring four+ goals five times. While goaltending has played a huge role, Dallas is still getting production from the key players (Seguin, Radulov, etc.) so keep them in the lineup through the fantasy playoffs. Dallas plays seven times through March 27, with five of the seven coming at home; beyond a tough game against the Knights, they’ll play Vancouver, Florida, Colorado, Pittsburgh, Winnipeg and Calgary – some strong teams, but none stand out defensively.

Calgary – After lighting up Vegas for six goals and New Jersey for NINE, the Flames get home games against some porous Eastern Conference teams (the Rangers, Senators and Blue Jackets) in addition to games against the Kings and Stars (at home), and Jets and Canucks (on the road). Their top-two lines are both contributing now that Johnny Gaudreau has broken his cold streak, so roll out Flames players with impunity. 

Chicago – The playoffs are most likely a pipe dream with only twelve games remaining, but the Blackhawks are doing as much as they can to get there – 24 goals in only six games in March. Unlike the Flames and Stars, Chicago only has six games between the 16th and 27th, but they have some appealing matchups in there: home to Vancouver, Philadelphia and Colorado, and road games against Montreal, Colorado and Arizona. Get as much exposure to the Hawks as possible (and probably their opponents) down the stretch.

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

Nashville – The worst schedule in this period by a country mile, the Predators’ upcoming stretch sees them only play five times and finishes with a three-day break between road games. Their scoring woes as a team were talked about above, but road games against Minnesota and a Sharks team that’s seen better play out of Martin Jones won’t do much to break that pattern. Nashville also plays the Jets (in Winnipeg) as well as Toronto and Pittsburgh at home.

NY Rangers – The Rangers have had a tough season, almost Knicks-like, and closing it out won’t be much easier: back-to-back road games in Calgary and Minnesota kick off this six-game stretch, which also sees them play road games at Boston and Toronto, and home games against the Red Wings and Penguins. Since losing Kevin Hayes at the deadline, NYR has only scored 16 goals in eight games – don’t expect much of anything from these guys.

New Jersey – Injuries have been much of the story of the lost season in East Rutherford, but they’ve hit a fever pitch these days with a roster that now includes Blake Pietila, Colton White, Steven Lucchio, and Joey Anderson*. The Devils have won only two of their past ten, scoring 2.1/game in that time, and have only four or five fantasy-relevant skaters. They play six times through March 27, with road games at Vancouver and Colorado, and home games against the Caps, Bruins, Coyotes and Sabres.

*One of these names is made up, but could you tell which one?

March 15 to March 21

Best Bets

DAL 4.41 – – Home VGK VAN FLA COL

VAN 4.3 – Away DAL CHI – Home NJD OTT

STL 4.1575 – Away PIT BUF – Home EDM DET

CBJ 4.11 – Away BOS CGY EDM- Home CAR

CGY 4.105 – Away WPG – Home NYR CBJ OTT

Steer Clear

WSH 2.7975 – Away TBL NJD – Home TBL

SJS 2.8025 – Away LAK- Home NSH VGK

ARI 2.855 – Away TBL FLA- Home EDM

BOS 2.8875 – Away NYI NJD- Home CBJ

NSH 2.945 – Away SJS – Home TOR PIT

March 16 to March 22

Best Bets

MIN 4.215 – Away WSH- Home NYR NYI COL

STL 4.1575 – Away PIT BUF – Home EDM DET

PIT 4.095 – Away CAR NSH – Home STL PHI

NYI 4.0425 – Away DET MIN MTL – Home BOS

TBL 3.99 – Away WSH CAR – Home WSH ARI

Steer Clear

NYR 2.0625 – Away MIN – Home DET

CBJ 2.85 – Away BOS CGY EDM – Home

ARI 2.855 – Away TBL FLA – Home EDM

BOS 2.8875 – Away NYI NJD – Home CBJ

NSH 2.945 – Away SJS – Home TOR PIT

March 17 to March 23

Best Bets

DAL 4.305 – – Home VAN FLA COL PIT

VAN 4.2475 – Away DAL CHI – Home OTT CGY

STL 4.2475 – Away BUF – Home EDM DET TBL

VGK 4.205 – Away SJS – Home EDM WPG DET

MIN 4.2 – Away WSH CAR- Home NYI COL

Steer Clear

CBJ 1.9 – Away CGY EDM – Home

NYR 2.1575 – Away TOR- Home DET

SJS 2.76 – Away LAK ANH – Home VGK

ARI 2.8025 – Away TBL FLA NJD- Home

CAR 2.835 – Away – Home PIT TBL MIN

March 18 to March 24

Best Bets

CHI 4.3575 – Away COL – Home VAN PHI COL

MTL 4.3475 – Away PHI CAR- Home NYI BUF

PHI 4.1575 – Away CHI WSH- Home MTL NYI

VAN 4.1425 – Away CHI – Home OTT CGY CBJ

NYI 4.095 – Away MTL PHI – Home BOS ARI

Steer Clear

SJS 2.76 – Away LAK ANH – Home VGK

BUF 2.095 – Away MTL – Home TOR

ANH 2.855 – Away LAK – Home WPG SJS

NYR 2.1575 – Away TOR – Home DET

NSH 2.8975 – Away WPG – Home TOR PIT

March 19 to March 25

Best Bets

MTL 4.3475 – Away PHI CAR – Home NYI BUF

NJD 4.2 – Away – Home WSH BOS ARI BUF

PHI 4.1575 – Away CHI WSH – Home MTL NYI

STL 4.2525 – Home EDM DET TBL VGK

TOR 4.105 – Away NSH BUF – Home NYR FLA

Steer Clear

ANH 2.855 – Away LAK – Home WPG SJS

SJS 2.9175 – Away LAK ANH – Home DET

ARI 2.945 – Away FLA NJD NYI – Home

CBJ 2.9925 – Away CGY EDM VAN – Home

OTT 2.9925 – Away VAN CGY EDM – Home

March 20 to March 26

Best Bets

MTL 4.4475 – Away CAR – Home NYI BUF FLA


OTT 4.1475 – Away VAN CGY EDM – Home BUF

BUF 4.1375 – Away MTL NJD OTT- Home TOR

ARI 4.1 – Away FLA NJD NYI – Home CHI

Steer Clear

NYR 1.895 – Away TOR – Home PIT

NSH 2.7025 – Away WPG MIN – Home PIT

BOS 2.8025 – Away NJD FLA TBL – Home

DET 2.85 – Away STL VGK SJS – Home

PIT 2.8975 – Away NSH DAL NYR – Home

March 21 to March 27

Best Bets

MTL 4.4475 – Away CAR – Home NYI BUF FLA

COL 4.2475 – Away DAL CHI – Home CHI VGK

CGY 4.2425 – Away VAN – Home OTT LAK DAL

VGK 4.1525 – Away STL COL- Home WPG DET

ARI 4.1 – Away FLA NJD NYI – Home CHI

Steer Clear

NSH 2.7025 – Away WPG MIN – Home PIT

NYR 2.845 – Away TOR BOS- Home PIT

DET 2.85 – Away STL VGK SJS – Home

PIT 2.8975 – Away NSH DAL NYR – Home

SJS 2.9175 – Away LAK ANH – Home DET


Follow me on Twitter @adalyfrey