Trending: The Stretch Run (Western Conference Part Two)

by Eric Daoust on March 1, 2016
  • Eastern Edge
  • Trending: The Stretch Run (Western Conference Part Two)

Which players are trending up and which are trending down in the Eastern Conference?

Even though trading is still open in many 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 the New York Islanders to Washington. However, regardless of how well they are performing at the moment, the key is to determine how each player will fare moving forward.

Note: Given the regular coverage received by stars, this article will focus more on secondary players.

Casey Cizikas – NYI (Trending UP)

Cizikas has been quite good in some multi-category leagues since he arrived in the NHL but this year he has taken his play to another level. His 23 points already represent a career-high and he is also on pace to set a personal-best in hits. He is still averaging just 12 minutes per game so his offensive upside will always be limited. That said, the added points make him much more appealing as he allows you to chase peripherals while sacrificing less than previously in the offensive categories.

Kevin Hayes – NYR (Trending UP)

With eight points in his last nine outings, Hayes is definitely trending up and is now approaching the 45-point pace he set last year. However, he is still under 0.5 points per game on the season so there is a good chance he is still on the wire. However, even during his hot run his ice time has been in the 12-14-minute range so his fantasy value may be limited to just riding out what might be left in this stretch of good play. It is probably not worth it if you have limits on total transactions.

Mats Zuccarello – NYR (Trending DOWN)

Zuccarello has been riding a high shooting percentage for most of the year and has managed to avoid an expected big drop in production thus far. But with four straight pointless games prior to last night’s goal you have to wonder if this is where his level of play drops. The deadline acquisition of Eric Staal no doubt changes the team’s look and will lead to some line juggling, which could cause additional hiccups in the short-term.

Brock Nelson – NYI (Trending DOWN)

Nelson’s bouts of inconsistency have continued this year. Despite sitting at 21 goals, he has just two points in his last 11 games and has seen his ice time drop below the 15-minute mark in each of the last three games. The slump was bound to happen given his shooting percentage is very high at 16 percent but moving forward his value will depend more on ice time and linemates. Right now Nelson is in the bottom six but if he can get back in the top six, especially on the Tavares line, he could head up again.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau – OTT (Trending UP)

Pageau has had a lot of success alongside Mark Stone recently, including six points in his last five games, and is now playing a greater role in the absence of Kyle Turris. Already a multi-category stud, the surge in offense makes him one of the best current players in some formats. Now that he will be seeing more minutes down the stretch, he is also safe to add in offense-heavy leagues.

Brayden Schenn – PHI (Trending UP)

Schenn has been red-hot of late with nine points in his last seven contests which has put him on pace to eclipse 50 points for the first time in his career. However, his shooting percentage (14 percent) is higher than his usual mark of 11 percent which indicates he has been a bit lucky to date. He may ultimately still reach 50 but his recent run should have you thinking about selling high.

Scott Wilson – PIT (Trending UP)

Wilson is an unlikely name on this list but with a recent stretch of four goals in five games he should be noticed. Most importantly he is starting to see time on the power play consistently which could help sustain his run of good play. Keep an eye on his role on the power play and his overall ice time as he could be productive enough to warrant consideration in deeper leagues if he can keep it up.

Ryan Callahan – TB (Trending UP)

After being an afterthought offensively for most of the year, Callahan has earned 11 of his 28 total points over the last seven games. It remains to be seen how long he can keep this up considering his physical style of play but even with modest offense he is must-own in multi-category leagues. In offense-heavy formats he is worth riding out until he cools off. After that he is a risk to own but playing next to Steven Stamkos certainly increases his chance of sustainability.

Brad Boyes – TOR (Trending UP)

Boyes has not been very good this year from an offensive standpoint but has been much better in recent weeks with seven points in his last eight contests. Now that the Leafs have cleaned house there is room for Boyes to see more minutes down the stretch. In any event, he should not be trusted in shallower leagues but could be a nice depth addition in deep leagues with the potential to put up one point every two games.

Josh Leivo – TOR (Trending UP)

Leivo had scored in consecutive games before missing a week with an upper-body injury and returned to once again score in back-to-back contests. While he did get demoted to the minors yesterday, he has shown he is worth a longer look at the NHL level. If he gets called back up he could be a decent option to add in a deep league but his true value lies in keepers where he is definitely worth stashing given the opportunities he will have in Toronto in the coming years.

Jason Chimera – WSH (Trending DOWN)

Chimera has enjoyed a nice bounce-back campaign and finds himself on pace to eclipse 40 points for just the second time in his career. However, with just two points in his last six and an absence of significant power-play time over his last couple games, Chimera could be running out of steam. This could simply be a minor bump in the road but Chimera is not a natural point producer. This year has benefited greatly from a favorable role on the power play to build momentum so if things change he could be a non-factor during the final weeks.

Dmitry Orlov – WSH (Trending UP)

You know the Capitals are having a great year when Orlov is able to produce at a 33-point pace despite third-pairing minutes and a negligible role on the power play. With six points in his last eight, he is worth adding, at least for the time being. That said, his percentages are high, including scoring on 10 percent of his shots as a defenseman, and as noted he is used as a depth player. He should not be putting up points like this. If you decide to ride his hot streak, be quick on the trigger to move in if he shows signs of going cold.

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