20 Fantasy Thoughts: Don’t wait around for Jonathan Drouin

Montreal Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin. (Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

With many championship weeks slated to get underway on Monday, fantasy owners are hoping for the luck of the Irish to help get them across the finish line.

All that hard work and dedication comes down to this: a one-week head-to-head showdown for all the bragging rights and perhaps a couple of bucks too.

It’s time to throw all your chips in the middle and go all-in.

Good luck to all playing for a title!

Here’s the fantasy rundown for the week of Mar. 18 – 24:

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1. Steer clear of the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers; each plays a league-low two times this week. Aside from Jack Eichel and maybe Jeff Skinner, everyone else should be considered fair game to be dropped.

Of the two sides, Buffalo has the better schedule. They play Wednesday and Friday; quiet nights.

2. 51 games in total.

The following 11 teams lead the way with four-game weeks: ARI, CAR, CHI, COL, MTL, NYI, PHI, TBL, VAN, WSH, and WPG.

3. I have my eye on the Canucks and Capitals:

Vancouver Canucks: Mon (@CHI), Wed (OTT), Sat (CGY), Sun (CBJ)

Waiver Looks: Josh Leivo, Alexander Edler, Thatcher Demko

Washington Capitals: Tues (@NJD), Wed (TBL), Fri (MIN), Sun (PHI)

Waiver Looks: Jakub Vrana, Lars Eller

4. As best you can, structure your roster to incorporate as few bench players as possible throughout the week. Make a conscious effort to stay away from players suiting up on Thursday (12 Games) and Saturday (14 Games). You’ll have no problem dressing a team on those days.

5. Pick up Anton Khudobin immediately. Ben Bishop is currently considered day-to-day with a lower-body injury. In 34 appearances this season, the 32-year-old Khudobin has been very dependable. He’s 13-15-3 with a 2.54 goals-against and a .925 save-percentage.

Need just a bit more incentive? Well, Dallas has surrendered two goals or less in seven straight games. Not bad.

6. Almost sneakily, the waiver stock of Florida Panthers rookie goaltender Samuel Montembeault has been growing by the start. After a 4-3 triumphant win in Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon, the 22-year-old is now 4-0-1 through five appearances. To-date, he’s posted a rather respectable 2.39 goals-against to go along with a .906 save-percentage. Stream away!

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7. Believe it or not, Lightning back-up Louis Domingue may play an instrumental part in leading you to a fantasy title. It’s conceivable to suggest that he may get two of the four starts this week. Tampa will host Domingue’s former team, Arizona (REVENGE), on Monday night. Additionally, the Lightning have a back-to-back on Wednesday and Thursday in Washington and Raleigh, respectively. Keep tabs!

8. Even with Chicago’s so-so schedule for the upcoming week, Brendan Perlini is just way too hot right now not to own. The former Coyotes first rounder has recently found some impressive chemistry playing on a line with Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome. Over the past eight contests, the 22-year-old has notched eight goals and 10 points. Move quickly.

9. It would be wise to ride Dallas’ Roope Hintz right now too. The Fin has four goals over the past three games, skating predominantly on the top-line with Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov. Do it.

10. Don’t wait around for Jonathan Drouin. The hometown boy is currently riding a nasty 16-game goalless drought. That’s not good.

11. Attain David Perron as soon as possible. After missing 24-games with an upper-body injury, the veteran notched an assist in his return to the Blues’ lineup on Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh. Perron is up on the number-one line with Ryan O’Reilly and Brayden Schenn.

12. By the way, an update is expected early in the week on Vladimir Tarasenko.

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13. With Torey Krug out with a suspected concussion for the Bruins, Charlie McAvoy’s fantasy value stands to once again soar exponentially. The Boston University product has five points over the last six games (1 G, 4 A).

14. Meanwhile, it appears that a David Pastrnak return is getting closer, almost imminent at this point. The 31-goal scorer is expected to join Boston for a full practice on Monday. Pay attention.

15. In need of a low-value daily fantasy play? Have a look at Darren Helm. The speedster was recently promoted to Detroit’s top-line to play with Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha. That’s a garden seat if I’ve ever seen one.

16. New Canucks signee Quinn Hughes could provide you with some late-week value on the back-end. The 19-year-old blue chip defenceman is currently out with a foot contusion sustained in his final collegiate game last weekend with Michigan. If everything goes well, the American could make his NHL debut at some point over the next seven days.

17. It was cool to see a glimpse of the future in Kanata on Thursday night when Erik Brannstrom made his NHL debut. A future Brannstrom/Chabot defensive pairing for the Senators already has me giddy beyond belief. If I’m Ottawa, I’d overly patient. Brannstrom shouldn’t become a full-time NHLer until he’s undeniably ready.

18. With Thomas Chabot down, I’d contemplate taking a flier on Christian Wolanin. The 23-year-old has notched an assist in back-to-back games since Chabot left the lineup. Wolanin seems to be gaining Marc Crawford’s trust more and more by the game.

19. Stick tap to Washington’s Tom Wilson. The new-aged power forward has provided fantasy owners with sneaky multi-category coverage.

Despite missing the first 14 games of the year due to suspension, the 24-year-old has already established a career high in goals (20) and points (36). In fact, pro-rated over 82 games, Wilson is producing at a 31-goal, 56-point pace. Boom!

20. Did you know that Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk has potted 16 goals since Jan. 14? That’s third to Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson (17) and Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl (19) for the league lead over that time frame.

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