In this week's Eastern Edge, we'll discuss players to keep an eye on during this final stretch of the regular season. These guys could see their fantasy value fluctuate going forward, so monitoring them closely will help you prepare for next year's campaign and/or upcoming playoff pools.
Boston Bruins – Erik Haula
Haula had an incredibly slow start to the season, posting five points in his first 25 appearances with the Bruins. When the new year began, Haula started seeing more time between David Pastrnak and Taylor Hall. As you might expect, the Finnish center saw his production take off once he joined forces with the two strong wingers. In 2022, he has 34 points through 47 games, which translates to 59 points over 82 games. Keep an eye on Haula and ask yourself if he has what it takes to stick around as the team's second-line center next year.
Buffalo Sabres – Casey Mittelstadt
With an impressive breakout performance this year, Tage Thompson has emerged as Buffalo's top center, and will likely retain that role next season. On the other hand, the role of second-line center is still very much up for grabs. At present, Casey Mittelstadt – the eighth overall pick from 2017 – and Dylan Cozens – the seventh overall pick from 2019 – seem like the frontrunners for such a position. Since Mittelstadt (23 years; 191 GP) is slightly older and has more NHL experience than Cozens (21 years; 116 GP), he's expected to be further along in his development than Cozens at this stage. It may be useful to watch Mittelstadt over these final games, to see whether he has the tools to succeed as a second-line center in Buffalo next year.
Carolina Hurricanes – Martin Necas
The young forward put his name on the map last season when he paced for 63 points. He had a decent start to the 2021-2022 campaign, posting 22 points in his first 34 appearances. However, his production has dropped off since then, leaving him with 14 points in his last 39 games. Based on his underwhelming output this season, he's likely to fall in upcoming fantasy drafts. Keep an eye on him over these next few games as you evaluate his bounce-back potential.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Jack Roslovic
Roslovic had a strong showing last year, scoring at a 58-point pace. He was stuck in a reduced role this year and tallied 26 points in 58 games until captain Boone Jenner went down with an injury. Since Jenner got injured, Roslovic has benefitted fro