Trending: The Stretch Run (Eastern Conference Part 1)

by Eric Daoust on February 23, 2016
  • Eastern Edge
  • Trending: The Stretch Run (Eastern Conference Part 1)

Max Pacioretty is trending down but perhaps his luck will turn?

As the trade deadline approaches both in the NHL and in fantasy leagues time is running out to make a splash and give your squad a chance to win it all. Additionally, some leagues have tight restriction on adds and drops which makes each remaining decision so much more important. With that in mind, today we will cover players trending up and down in the Eastern Conference from Boston to New Jersey. However, regardless of how well they are performing at the moment, the key is to determine how each player will fare moving forward.

Matt Beleskey – BOS (Trending DOWN)

His recent two-game hot streak aside, Beleskey is having too many pointless nights in recent weeks which can be crippling in head-to-head playoffs. In fact, in the prior eight contests he had just one point. Looking back at his career, there are some red flags including his history with injuries and his underwhelming historical offensive numbers. With his current points-per-game above 0.5, this could be a good time to sell high. He still holds solid value in multi-category leagues so in those setups he should be able to land something nice on the trade market.

Evander Kane – BUF (Trending UP)

If you can stomach the risk of owning a player with off-ice issues like Kane then there is potential for your fantasy squad to be handsomely rewarded. His offensive numbers have been underwhelming this year but he has been much better of late with 12 points in his last 18 games. With super-skilled centers like Jack Eichel and Ryan O’Reilly in Buffalo there is no reason to think Kane cannot be a good secondary scorer from the wing position over the last several weeks of the campaign.

Jamie McGinn – BUF (Trending UP)

McGinn can be used in a variety of roles but recently he has been in Buffalo’s top-six and has responded with six points in his last 10 games. He has also averaged 3:34 on the power play during that span. While not as big of a fantasy contributor as Kane, McGinn is more of a sneaky depth addition who can help in medium-to-deep leagues provided he can stay in his current role. He also has value in multi-category leagues where he is over the century mark in both hits and shots and has nine power-play points.

Joakim Nordstrom – CAR (Trending UP)

Nordstrom has been playing the best hockey of his NHL career since his centerman Jordan Staal caught fire. It remains to be seen how long the 23-year-old Swede can keep it up but his recent run (10 points in his last 12 games) has been significant enough to put him on the fantasy radar in a short-term capacity. Given he is totally unproven as a scorer, he is unlikely to have much value on the trade market so it will be very difficult to sell high. Instead, stick with Nordstrom until he cools down. Just be mindful that if the Hurricanes trade Eric Staal it could result in a massive reshuffling of lines, which might hurt Nordstrom.

Victor Rask – CAR (Trending UP)

After starting the year red-hot, Rask came back down to earth as expected but is now back on the upswing with five points in his last five outings. While his current 50-point pace is impressive, he will be in for a major increase in ice time if the team’s captain is moved at the deadline as he would become the team’s most offensively-gifted center. Of course, until it is all said and done we do not know where Rask will fit into the lineup down the stretch. He is a gamble now but we will get more clarity in the coming days.

Nick Foligno – CLB (Trending DOWN)

Since returning from an upper-body injury, Foligno has just three points, including no goals, in 12 games. You have to think the injury is still giving him problems. Unless you are in a multi-category league he is barely worth owning at this point – the sell-high date has long passed. Keep an eye on him though as he has shown he can put up points when on his game. He could be a key addition at some point in the next few weeks when one of your wingers inevitably goes to the infirmary.


 – – – –  Read the Western Conference Trending Players Here – – – 


Seth Jones – CLB (Trending UP)

Since being acquired by the Blue Jackets, Jones has 11 points in 19 games. He also has an average ice time of 23:57 while he is logging 2:32 per night on the power play. Jones’ deployment makes him a much safer player to own in the final weeks as the heavy minutes give him a chance to pick up a few extra points even when he is slumping. He has also been unlucky – just one goal on 116 shots to date. He is due for a couple goals in the near future.

Pavel Datsyuk – DET (Trending UP)

Datsyuk started the year cold after returning from injury in mid-November. He has since corrected course in a big way including a recent streak of 11 points in seven games. Even though the best time to buy low was during the early slump, there is still hope in keeper leagues heading into the trade deadline. Datsyuk, along with many other vets, are typically let go for pennies on the dollar by owners looking towards the future. If you have a chance to win you should definitely consider him – when healthy he still produces like a star.

Mike Green – DET (Trending DOWN)

In six games since returning from a groin injury, Green has not registered a single point. Prior to the ailment he had 21 points in 46 games which is not great by his standards but still a good total for a blueliner. He is a risk to acquire because of his inconsistencies and piles of injuries over his career but there is a chance the risk factor makes Green less valuable in his owner’s eyes. At the very least he should be a decent depth defenseman the rest of the way.

Reilly Smith – FLA (Trending DOWN)

Smith is on his way to the second 20-goal campaign of his career and the third-straight with 40 or more points. However, his current goal-scoring pace is concerning because he is converting on 16 percent of his shots, which is well above his career average of 12 percent. Prior to his last two games where he added a point in each, he had gone pointless in three. Be mindful of his puck luck if you own him in a league where he is a bubble player. There may be an alternative on the wire better-equipped to do well in the final weeks.

Max Pacioretty – MTL (Trending DOWN)

Pacioretty is obviously having a poor year by his standards and has been a major liability at times for those hanging on to him while he is slumping. Some may have given up on him and other Canadiens which opens the door to buy low. Pacioretty is still shooting a lot (on pace for 310 shots) and has three 30-goal campaigns under his belt. His shooting percentage is down around nine percent – he is due for some luck.

Andrei Markov – MTL (Trending UP)

Much has been made of Markov’s terrible play at times this year but the 37-year-old has fared much better of late with five points in his last five games. Like Datsyuk, Markov’s age impacts his trade value negatively which gives you a chance to acquire him for less than he is truly worth, especially for a keeper-league title run. His overall ice time is down this year but in the last six games his average is up to 25:34.

Lee Stempniak – NJ (Trending DOWN)

Stempniak has definitely come back down to earth and has now been held off the score sheet in five straight games. Not having Mike Cammalleri on the opposite wing has not helped as their line with Adam Henrique in the middle has had tremendous chemistry this year. With the Devils not in a playoff spot there is a chance Stempniak is dealt to a contender at the trade deadline. This would seriously hurt his fantasy value as he would likely be put in a lesser role on a line that is not such a perfect fit.


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