It really is hard to believe that the Fantasy Hockey season has but two and a half weeks left, possibly even one and a half if you don’t play the last week of the season for competitive reasons (sort of like Week 17 in football when teams may rest players).
There is little reason to hold onto players who have underperformed either all season long or are in a current slump. You need to win now. Just because a player was drafted in the first few rounds doesn’t mean you have to crash and burn with him. Players like Corey Perry, Patrick Sharp, Jordan Eberle, Loui Eriksson and Jaden Schwartz can be shown the door along with anyone on Colorado for being unproductive.
Are you still holding onto Steven Stamkos, hoping he will return for the final couple of weeks? Well, that’s fine if you have an IR slot, but if not, what are you really hoping for? That he comes back and becomes the top goal scorer he was predicted to be? That’s a pipe dream at this point and a risk you don’t need to take if you need the roster spot for another forward who is currently playing. The Lightning don’t even know if he will suit up again this season and one more loss to a team like the Coyotes could end their playoff hopes and force the team to play it safe with Stamkos and shut him down for the season.
Goaltending has taken a big hit down the stretch. Henrik Lundqvist is slated to return Saturday versus the Kings, but I’ll say it again, you may not want to start him down the stretch. The Rangers have nothing to play for other than getting ready for the first round of the playoffs. This includes getting Lundqvist back up to speed. The Rangers may believe that the best way to do that is to play Lundqvist in as many games as possible, or they may feel like giving him additional rest is the way to go. The “King” has also had an up and down season, so maybe it takes him a game or two to get up to game speed. Do you want to risk that scenario down the stretch or in your playoffs? It’s just food for thought, be wary.
Roberto Luongo finally took a step in the right direction by participating in practice Tuesday. He could return in the near future but once again that doesn’t mean you should automatically insert him into your starting lineup. Even when healthy, his 2.68 GAA and .915 save percentage were nothing to brag about. Those are similar numbers to Thomas Greiss and it’s not like anyone is rushing to start him during the final few weeks.
John Gibson’s future is much more cloudy, as he is only skating and not participating in practice. Jonathan Bernier has performed quite well, not only during his recent absence but for the entire season. The Ducks, much like the Rangers, only have one plan for Gibson; and that is getting him ready for the playoffs. He will be a risky start even when he does return to action.
Ben Bishop should be sent packing. Yes, if he was on your team you got bamboozled at the trade deadline with his deal to Los Angeles; such is life. He can’t help you anymore. Jonathan Quick has proven to be 100-percent healthy and should continue to start most games whether or not the Kings are in the playoff hunt. The Kings owe no allegiance to Bishop who will be a free agent after the season.
Zach Parise hasn’t been the goal scorer most have expected him to be over the past two seasons, as he only has 41 tallies over his past 130 games. He also only has 16 goals this season and none in his last six games. Combine those numbers with only 19 assists and a plus/minus of -5 and he isn’t exactly helping your Fantasy team.
Mark Stone has missed the last six games with a lower body injury, and although he seems to be on track to play within the next day or two, does that mean he should automatically be started on your Fantasy team? No. We never really know how a player will react when he first returns from injury and Stone was also scoreless in the seven games prior to his injury. Although he was a nice addition early on, it may be time to move on.
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