As we enter the second half of the NHL schedule, the majority of fantasy leagues are nearing the stretch run before the playoffs. Whether you’re flexing at the top of the standings, or fighting for a chance to make the postseason, it’s important to take into account your team’s performance across all categories.
The beauty of multi-category leagues is there are so many ways to win. You can stack up on offensive talent, peripheral beasts, or pray for decent goaltending rates on a week-to-week basis. But by this point in the year, you should be pretty certain about which categories you’re proficient in, and in which areas you could use some help.
In this column, I’m going to take a look at players who can give you an edge in certain categories each week. We’ll talk about players who are providing value in shots, penalty minutes, hits, and blocks.
I’m going to keep this list to players owned in fewer than 20 percent of Yahoo leagues. But for those who are in shallower leagues looking for a boost in the peripheral categories, take a look for these players on your waiver wire: Patric Hornqvist, Ryan Graves, Mark Borowiecki, Ondrej Palat, Zack Kassian, and Dustin Brown.
Oliver Bjorkstrand (16 percent owned on Yahoo): While the 24-year-old winger is out with a rib injury for another few weeks, he should be stashed in more injury reserve lists than this. Bjorkstrand’s breakout began around mid-November, and he’s posted 17 points in his last 17 games. Beyond that, Bjorkstrand leads the league with 4.8 shots per game since December 1. The Blue Jackets winger likely went undrafted in your league, but if he remains unowned to this point and you have some IR space, get him on the squad. Of all the players here he’s the one who has legitimate season-long upside even in shallower leagues. His ownership rate should be closer to the players I mentioned in the paragraph above.