The Top 10 hottest players in the NHL right now…
Many fantasy leagues are gearing up for the stretch drive as the most leagues will be starting playoffs in just over a month. Players always go on hot streaks, but identifying whether that’s temporary or is going to be the start of a great second half will be key for many fantasy general managers. After all, you need to know whether a player’s recent body of work is an illusion or whether he can help you win it all.
Below you’ll find a list of the top 10 hot players. There’s a few criteria: We’re not looking to focus on superstars. Sidney Crosby may have 14 points in his last 10 games, but if you don’t already own him you won’t be able to acquire him without a massive overpayment. Also, we’re looking at each player’s last 10 games for fair comparison.
Here are the top 10 hottest players.
10. Jason Zucker
Zucker has already set a career high in points with 38. And thanks to 14 points in his last 13 games he’s on pace for 61 on the season. Don’t expect him to hit that mark. Although he’s playing regularly with Mikael Granlund and Mikko Koivu at even strength, Zucker is not getting any power-play time (averaging 41 seconds per game). We’ve also seen hot streaks like this from him before, such as last year when he had 13 points in his first 15 games and 10 in his last 56. But if he does earn the PP time needed to hit lofty production numbers, then all bets are off.
Marleau has 10 points in his last six games. He had just 20 in his first 47. It seems strange that Marleau is having more success away from Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton than he did when he was with them. Once Marleau lined up with Mikkel Boedker and Logan Couture is when he really started putting up the points. This could bode well for Marleau the rest of the way as he’s still on the Sharks’ top power play unit.
Steen has 10 in his last 10 games and has been slowly turning it on after a slow start to the season. You shouldn’t expect Steen to get a point-per-game from here on out. But three’s no reason to expect that he can’t hit 60-65 points (he’s on pace for 56 right now) as he plays on the top power play unit and is averaging more than 19 minutes a game.
7. Seth Jones
Fantasy general managers could be forgiven if they thought Jones was in for a repeat of his days in Nashville. Not able to be the Predators’ top defenseman, Jones was expected to be the man in Columbus. But the emergence of Zach Werenski and a broken foot made it seem like Jones was going to play second fiddle once again. But he’s been able to re-emerge as the team’s top quarterback and now has nine points in his last 10 games.
6. Zack Smith
Smith is one of those versatile players that can fit in on a third-line role or as a complimentary top line scorer. Right now, he’s the latter and has spent the last 20-plus games playing on Ottawa’s top line with Derick Brassard and Mark Stone. It’s paid off as he has 11 points in his last 12 games and looks to be a shoo-in for his second straight 25-goal season.
This is the type of production that the Hurricanes were hoping for when they drafted Lindholm fifth overall in the 2013 draft as something really has clicked with him lately. He has 11 points in his last 10 games and has points in 11 of his last 14 games. He’s showing excellent chemistry with Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal and is well on his way to his first 40-point season. The biggest concern with Lindholm is that he doesn’t shoot enough and therefore doesn’t get enough goals.
4. Bryan Little
Little, who has 11 points in his last eight games, is grossly under-owned in fantasy hockey. He’s still available in 60 per cent of Yahoo pools. So, there’s an excellent chance that you can still pick him up in your pool. He’s available because fantasy GMs just look at season stats but you have to remember Little has only played 32 games because of injury. Little has 28 points in 32 games and is the 69th ranked Yahoo player in the past 30 days. It helps that he’s playing with regularly with youngsters Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers.
It’s been well documented about Bergeron’s awful start despite playing with Brad Marchand (surprisingly third in the league in points) and David Pastranak (who has 22 goals). Bergeron has quietly turned it around with 12 points in his last 10 games. He has just 29 points on the season and is on pace for 44 points. He should hit 50 and anything more than that is gravy. You might still be able to pick him up for cheap.
It’s been a frustrating year for fantasy GMs that own any member of the Florida Panthers. Only two Panthers have more than 30 points (Vincent Trocheck and Jonathan Marchessault) and most seem on pace for horrendous seasons. Barkov has missed some time, so his 28 points may seem a little misleading. He had 12 points in 10 games before getting injured midway through the December 28th game against Toronto. And when he returned this past weekend he didn't miss a beat, picking up an assist. He’s on pace for 51 points in 67 games and he should be able to do even better with Jonathan Huberdeau now back in the lineup.
Granlund is one of the hottest players in the league right now. He has 14 points in his last 10 games and 34 points in his last 27 games. There’s been some talk that Granlund doesn’t get enough power-play time but that isn’t the case anymore. Sure, he played just eight seconds against Vancouver on Saturday, but he has played at least 55 percent of the Wild’s power play time in six of the previous nine games. Granlund already has career highs in goals and assists and should be able to post his first ever 70-point season.
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