In this week's Eastern Edge, we'll discuss a few players riding hot streaks that could help you secure your fantasy hockey championship this year. At this point in the fantasy campaign, it doesn't matter if a player on your roster finishes the season with five points in 82 games. If those five points come this week, it could make the difference between winning and losing your fantasy championship. Essentially, don't worry too much about name value anymore. Additionally, don't be afraid to take a chance on lesser-known player who's in a prime situation to succeed over the next few games.
Charlie McAvoy – Since February 1st, McAvoy has 15 points in 17 games. Only two defensemen – Quinn Hughes and Torey Krug – have more points in that span, and they're each just one point ahead of McAvoy. The 22-year-old defenseman could see an increased role in the short term as the injury bug has hit Boston's blueline, with both Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo expected to miss Tuesday's game against the Flyers. His ownership is high at 80-percent, but he might be available on the waiver wire in shallow leagues.
Mikhail Sergachev – Another player who might not be available on your waiver wire (75-percent owned), but if he is, you should definitely take a chance on him. Victor Hedman is expected to miss Tuesday's game against the Leafs with a lower-body injury, and Sergachev should see an increased role with Hedman sidelined. Now, it doesn't sound like Hedman will miss too much time as a result of this injury but seeing as Tampa plays four games between Tuesday and Sunday, Sergachev should still provide some production for your fantasy roster.
Jaccob Slavin – Since Dougie Hamilton went down with a fractured fibula, Slavin has put up 14 points in 20 games. He's been averaging 25 minutes of ice time per night and went from seeing virtually no power-play time, to manning the team's top unit. The Hurricanes play four games between Tuesday and Sunday, three of which are against non-playoff teams in Detroit, New Jersey and Buffalo. He's available in 34-percent of Yahoo leagues and could boost the offensive output of your fantasy roster this week.
Tyler Bertuzzi – In Tuesday's Rambilings, Mike highlighted how well Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi play together. Over the past three weeks, Larkin has 13 points in nine games, Mantha has 10 points in nine games and Bertuzzi has eight in nine (including four points in his most recent game against Tampa). Of the three, Bertuzzi is most likely to be available in your league as he's owned in just 34-percent of Yahoo formats. Detroit may not be a good team, but their top line is very much capable of putting up a few points this week.
Pavel Buchnevich – The 24-year-old forward has quietly scored at a point-per-game pace over his last 19 contests. Since returning to the lineup on February 28th, he's tallied seven points in five games. What's even more encouraging about his success is the increased role he's been given recently. Over his last five games, he's skated over 20 minutes a night, with a prominent role on the team's top power-play unit. The Rangers have the league's best power play since January 1st, boasting a 31-percent success rate over their past 29 games. Playing alongside Mika Zibanejad at even strength and then Artemi Panarin on the power play is certainly a prime situation for Buchnevich, who happens to be incredibly talented himself. Despite all this, he's still available in 75-percent of Yahoo leagues.
Nikita Gusev – The 27-year-old forward has 10 points in his last 10 games and has been seeing a fair portion of the team's total power-play time. While he doesn't see a lot of ice time overall, he's managed to produce with limited minutes for some time now. He's owned in just 21-percent of Yahoo leagues and makes for a decent addition this week as New Jersery plays four games over the next six games.
Linus Ullmark – Monday marked his first start after being sidelined for over a month with a leg injury. He didn't show any signs of rust, stopping 33 of 35 shots in a shootout win over the Capitals. Ullmark has been sneaky good this season, winning 17 of 34 games and posting a .915 save percentage and 2.69 GAA in the process. Nice! At this point in the season, there probably aren't many good goalies available on the waiver wire. However, as a result of Ullmark's recent absence, his ownership currently sits at 22-percent in Yahoo leagues.
Scott Laughton – Since he was drafted 20th overall in 2012, Laughton hasn't exactly been recognized for his offensive production. However, he's managed to tally nine points in his last seven games. I get it, some of you may be a little apprehensive because that seems like a small sample size. But he's quietly been quite productive for some time now, putting up 16 points in his last 18 games. He's currently skating alongside Derek Grant and Tyler Pitlick on Philly's third line. At first, that doesn't sound like a prime scoring situation considering Laughton was playing with Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny earlier in the year. However, Grant has five points in six games since joining the Flyers and Pitlick has three points in his last four games, don't discount them because they're playing on the third line. With most of us in the midst of fantasy hockey playoffs, all we need is production over a few games, a player's name-value isn't of significance anymore in one-year leagues. Seeing as Laughton is still available in 92-percent of Yahoo leagues, he makes for an attainable option, especially in deeper leagues.
Justin Williams – I guess 38 is the new 28? Since re-signing with the Hurricanes in January, Williams has 10 points in 19 games, with five of those points coming in his last four contests. His ice time may be a cause for concern as he's skating less than 14 minutes a night – a huge drop from the 17 and a half minutes he averaged last year. However, he still holds a prominent role on the power play and Carolina has a favourable schedule this week with games against Detroit, New Jersey, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Considering he's available in 92-percent of Yahoo leagues, he makes for an attainable option that should get on the scoresheet this week.
Chris Tierney – Since Jean-Gabriel Pageau was traded to the Islanders, Tierney leads the Senators with seven points in seven games. He's averaged 20 minutes of ice time a night during that stretch and even sees a little bit of power-play time with the team's second unit. Tierney is currently available in 95-percent of Yahoo leagues and makes for an underrated option this week as Ottawa plays four games between Tuesday and Sunday.