Nick Schmalz, C/LW/RW, Arizona Coyotes (33.5%) : The Coyote center picked up six goals and six assists in 14 games – a third of those points were scored against the men’s advantage. Competing with Conor Garland and Clayton Keller, Schmaltz will continue to produce consistently. He’s usable in all but the smallest of ESPN.com’s standard leagues, and the multi-position level only adds to his whimsical charm.
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Max Comtois, LW, Anaheim Ducks (9.3%) : It took me 15 games, but I finally got on the moving train of the impressive Comtois. After a two-week drought, the 22-year-old is back on target with three goals and an assist in four games. The young attacker has already scored twice more goals than any other Ducks member – which unfortunately shows how ineffective the team is currently at scoring goals – and hopes to become a full-fledged NHL player. Comté’s have a place in the deeper leagues, especially the keeper leagues. The young man doesn’t hesitate to throw punches either. I’m just a little surprised he hasn’t had more penalty minutes yet. But the season is far from over.
Joe Thornton, C, Toronto Maple Leafs (9.1%) : He is healthy again, has joined the top of the draw and is playing with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. With the absence of Wayne Simmonds for a few weeks (broken wrist), the pressure is even greater on Thornton to be more than a leader and a veteran in the room. The Leafs need him to contribute on the scoreboard as well. Or these high positions are passed on to others.
Robbie Fabbri, C/LW, Detroit Red Wings (4.0%): Take this fantastic endorsement with a healthy dose of cautious skepticism. Often through no fault of his own (injuries/bad luck), Fabbri has burned me down in the past after being praised. But you can’t overlook the three goals and one assist (plus six) in four games. Plus his role on the goal line with Anthony Manta and a spot on the Red Wings’ main roster. Fabbri comes in as someone who deserves to be ranked 21st in 2014. If you must take something off the list, make the most of it before it breaks your heart.
Mats Zuccarello, RW, Minnesota Wild (2.1%) : Zuccarello, who underwent hand surgery before the 2020-21 season, is expected to make his debut Tuesday against the Kings. The former Ranger, who has had many periods of productivity in the past, is worth watching as he settles into the Minnesota formation. The club is 22nd in the Championship and could certainly use a boost in this area. Depending on his final ranking, it may be worthwhile to take the veteran winger to deeper leagues. But take your time.
Ivan Barbashev, C/LW, St. John’s, Newfoundland. Louis Blues (1.8%) : Apparently sparked by a recent motivational interview with coach Craig Berube, Barbashev scored two goals and an assist (plus four) in a win over Arizona. After a slow start to the season, the 25-year-old seems to have reclaimed the scoring crown. The fact that he spends a lot of time on the front lines with David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly doesn’t hurt him either. Roster Barbashev, he’s not here yet. The Blues have faced the Coyotes once this week and the Sharks twice.
David Savard, Columbus Blue Jackets (15.7%) : The Blueliner Columbus is becoming a constant fantasy acquisition in any league that rewards a commitment to physical and defensive play. The veteran is fourth in the league for blocked shots (37) and is seventh among defenders for shots (41). The bonus is one or two assists – Savard hasn’t scored since 2018-19.
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Dante Fabbro, Nashville Predators (5.2%): The 22-year-old is one of the strengths of a team of below-average predators. Fabbro, who has contributed two goals and two assists in his last four games, plays on the first team and second power play. The young defenseman, who was drafted in 2016, is feeling better in his second full NHL season. With Matthias Ekholm on the weekly list, Nashville will need everything they can get from Boston University alumni. Fabbro deserves at least a spot in the deep leagues.
See also : Justin Schultz, Washington Capitals.
Elvis Merzlikins, Columbus Blue Jackets (46.4%): Merzlikins is back with the Columbus goaltenders. Another shaky performance from Jonas Korpisalo – we’ll see him lose to Carolina on Monday – and we’ll almost certainly see another Blue Jackets striker between the posts on Thursday against the Predators. If he feels really fit, there’s a good chance he’ll start anyway. And coach John Tortorella won’t hesitate to give Merzlikins, who put up good numbers before his injury, a better chance if he proves to be a consistent force.
Mikko Koskinen, Edmonton Oilers (68.9%) : Veteran Mike Smith wins his second break after knocking off the Canadiens on Thursday. The veteran goalie looked almost as good, holding the Senators to a goal in the win earlier in the week. If Smith – who is currently overflowing with confidence – continues to be this dominant, we will see less Koskinen in the near future.