Rewarding Patience

by Chris Liggio on March 23, 2018

 

By this point in time your fantasy playoffs are underway and that need for regularly rostered players to produce to net the hardware is vital. There are several household names that have failed us in one way or another earlier in the season, only to now be recuperating what they can of the campaign. These players are expected to be regular contributors on fantasy squads and their lackluster season(s) as a whole are disappointing. Nonetheless, as the year winds down, the following are all playing their part to earn forgiveness for earlier failure. Sometimes patience is virtue.

 

Mika Zibanejad/Chris Kreider

 

Although all hope is lost on the current campaign for the Rangers, this top line duo is posting solid numbers the past month with all cylinders firing. Since returning February 23rd, Kreider has looked every bit like the dominant power forward he is supposed to be in this league. Utilizing his immense strength and overwhelming speed, he has three goals, eight assists, nine PIM, 23 shots and 20 hits in the past 12 games. Though we’d wish for more goals, he’s been an admirable setup man for top center Mika Zibanejad. Wielding the hot goal scoring stick, Zibanejad has eight goals in the past 12 games and six in the last five. Zibanejad has likely fallen off many fantasy radars, as long-term injury once again derailed what was an impressive start to his season. Now rounded back into form, he is flashing that dominance once again that owners need to capitalize on if available. Much the same for Kreider coming off the blood clot absence, he too looks to be in top form and ready to be a regular contributor on your fantasy roster. The team has no prayer, but these two featured pieces of the puzzle are useful in the fantasy realm.

 

Erik Karlsson/Matt Duchene

 

Karlsson’s slow return to form was expected after major ankle surgery. Alas patience is non-existent for many in the fantasy realm but he’s making the late-season surge to give thanks to his owners who have stood by his side all year. A plus/minus disaster much of the season, he’s plus-three in the past 13 games to go with three goals, 12 assists, 33 shots and over 27 minutes a night. The silky distributor looks like his old self albeit a gear slower these days but that brilliant mind is just the same. Karlsson suffered the loss of his son and has left the team to be with his wife so chances of his shutdown for the season loom heavily on owners.

 

Duchene’s soap opera in Colorado came to an end but his Ottawa career started not as desired. Two months of painstaking agony for owners after the trade ensued until the switch flipped for 2009’s third overall pick. With 39 points in 58 games in Canada’s capital, a large portion of said points have come in the past month and a half. Their playoff hopes are extinguished but if you have the pleasure of owning these two you’re not complaining about what they’ve provided during the most important weeks of the fantasy season.

 

Ryan Getzlaf

 

Much in the underrated realm of Blake Wheeler and Nicklas Backstrom, Getzlaf is one of the most dominant producers in the game today. Despite his 293 points in the four seasons prior to the current campaign, he has always dropped down fantasy draft boards. Owners won’t complain about his bargain price though, as he has four goals and 16 assists in the past 12 games along with 10 PIM, 24 shots and 28 hits. Long harped on for lack of shooting, he is averaging over two per game and his ridiculous 45 assists in 49 games speaks to his profound vision. Giving you a little of everyone along with strong faceoffs if you count those, he is one of the most valuable fantasy forwards to own. With the extended time out injured this year his legs are still relatively fresh compared to the rest of the league, so look for the Ducks captain to maintain his elite production here on out.

 

Nicklas Backstrom

 

It’s finally sort of happening! In what has been a disaster season for the Washington Capitals center, owners have been receiving the production expected lately and timing could not be better. With two goals and four assists in the past four games and eight points overall in the past seven, Backstrom is poised to finish strong. For a time, there was fear we would not see the perennial 70-point scorer hit the 60-point plateau, yet thanks to the recent hot streak he should hit the mark by season’s end. Nonetheless, anything less than 70 points is a letdown for Backstrom as he is not strong peripherally and looked to solely for points and power play production (though quietly solid 42 PIM). As Evgeny Kuznetsov continues to improve his game and enter his prime years, we may see the beginning of Backstrom’s role as pivot number two. For the time being, relish in Backstrom’s rekindled offensive play and hope Alexander Ovechkin remains on his wing.

 

Dustin Byfuglien

 

His lack of goal scoring is always going to be a letdown for his draft price but at least he has been strong since the All-Star break with 20 points in 23 games. This compared to 19 in 38 games prior to, he’s been the setup man with nine assists in the past 14 games to go with 50 shots. Strong ice time, hits, shots, and PIM are business as usual for Byfuglien. Seriously though some goal scoring correction is begged for with his 3.1% shooting, which is four percent below average the past five seasons. Regardless, he’s been a rock across the fantasy scoring chart making him an excellent, stable option on your defense. His points-per-60 is in line with the past several seasons so let’s just hope some of those hammers he rips from the point start tickling twine with more regularity.

 

Jeff Carter

 

Owners who drafted Carter only got a taste of his contributions early in the season before his leg injury so swiftly took him away. Long stared at stashed on IR, since his return in late February he’s been a force for a Los Angeles squad with postseason intentions. With five goals over his past eight games while averaging three shots per, Carter is filling the net with regularity as has come to be the norm. Though his 14% shooting warrants concern, this is one of the games deadliest snipers, sustaining isn’t out of question. Even at 33, Carter has not lost his wheels in the slightest and looks more dominant with age if you ask me. Expect his consistent production to continue for a Kings squad that heavily relies upon him offensively.

 

Kyle Palmieri

 

Injuries have only allowed Palmieri to play in 54 games this season, but he’s already crossed the 20-goal plateau for the third season in a row and has a shot at 25 by season’s end. Even in somewhat limited appearances overall, he’s contributed 161 shots, 84 hits, 30 PIM, 19 PPP, four GWG, and 46 blocks, making him a very attractive multi-cat piece. He’s been a consistent reliable option since returning full-time and his deployment on the top line/ power play with stud Taylor Hall sets him up for continued production. The Devils only play today and tomorrow through the 27th, so be ready to cut ties come the 25th if you’re in need of immediate help to keep your title hopes alive.