20 Fantasy Thoughts: NHL fantasy All-Star team edition

NHL-Maple-Leafs-Nylander-shoots-against-Coyotes

Toronto Maple Leafs' William Nylander gets a shot away past Arizona Coyotes' Jordan Oesterle. (Chris Young/CP)

Another All-Star Weekend is in the books and in a few short days, the NHL will return to full mast following the last of the bye weeks.

With the league’s top players being celebrated and decorated this weekend in San Jose, it prompted me to comprise my fantasy hockey All-Star team. Don’t tweet me.

Chances are, if you own one of these players, you’re sitting pretty right now.

1. Can you believe Robin Lehner was ranked 198th by Yahoo! coming into the season? The waiver pickup extraordinaire has been a stud thus far. That said, you may want to contemplate selling high on him.

2. Mark Giordano is on pace to smash career highs in goals (21) and points (56). As long as the top-line stays healthy, don’t expect the production to waver.

The beneficiary of a high-powered Leafs offence, Morgan Rielly is already just two points (52) shy of a career best. Considering Toronto’s recent struggles, you may be able to pry Rielly from an opposing manager right now.

3. After bouncing back last season, Gabriel Landeskog has continued to take another step forward this year. He’s on track for 47 goals and 88 points. With three points in his last six games, Landeskog has slowed down a tad of late. Keep tabs to determine if you need to capitalize on his hot start.

Lost in the shuffle of all the star power in Tampa Bay, Brayden Point has emerged as one of the top producing pivots. He’ll provide you with extensive category coverage from goal scoring, to plus/minus, to everything in between.

As long as Elias Lindholm continues to skate with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, the domination will continue. What a find by general manager Brad Treliving. Enjoy the ride!

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4. Not all is good in Alberta. The Peter Chiarelli era may be over, but the search for fantasy relevance beyond Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl will continue.

5. If Oscar Klefbom is available in your league, pick him up. His pending return should have a negative impact on Darnell Nurse as his responsibilities will lessen. Dangle Nurse on the trade block immediately.

6. Speaking of defencemen in the Pacific Division, Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson is still considered day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Both Jakob Chychrun and Jordan Oesterle should be considered as formidable internal replacements.

7. Sticking with Arizona, continue to ride Darcy Kuemper until further notice. With Antti Raanta out of the picture, he seems to be the solution for the time being. Kuemper is 6-0-1 over the last seven outings.

8. Stash Corey Perry if he’s available. The veteran forward is back skating with the Ducks, but a timetable for his return is still not yet known. The initial five-month prognosis in training camp would signify a possible mid to late February return.

9. In the meantime, Daniel Sprong and Troy Terry should be on your radar. The Anaheim wingers stand to gain fantasy value in the wake of Ondrej Kase’s season-ending shoulder injury.

10. Without question, you should be buying some Florida Panthers stock in the second half. For a short-term jolt, pick up Frank Vatrano. The 24-year-old is currently skating on the top line with Aleksander Barkov and Evgenii Dadonov. Vatrano has four goals and seven points over the past five games.

11. The time is now to obtain William Nylander. It was a matter of when and not if. The 22-year-old is finally showing signs of breaking out on a newly formed line with Nazem Kadri and Connor Brown. Nylander registered four helpers in two games going into the break.

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12. In Canada’s capital, Bobby Ryan has burst back into the fantasy picture. He’s notched at least a point in nine of the past 11 contests. Ryan has five goals and 12 points over the last 14 games. Ride the hot streak!

13. Now’s a good time to acquire Nikolaj Ehlers. The Jets speedster is closing in on a return after missing the past three weeks with a shoulder issue. With 15 goals and 12 assists in 39 games this season, the 22-year-old was starting to explode before his setback. Buy!

14. In Manitoba – Winnipeg’s farm team – Eric Comrie is due for a promotion. In 30 games, the AHL All-Star has posted 15 wins — two of which were shutouts — to go along with a 2.63 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. I wonder if the Jets dangle him in trade discussions. Keep an eye on him going forward.

15. The Devils may elect to keep MacKenzie Blackwood in the minors for some more seasoning. After a blazing start, the 22-year-old has come back to reality lately, surrendering 11 goals on the last 81 shots he’s faced. Additionally, Cory Schneider was taken off injured reserve and is nearing a return.

16. Looking for immediate help in the crease? Braden Holtby can be had for less than market value right now on the trade market. This recent swoon for the Capitals and their number-one netminder doesn’t alarm me whatsoever. Washington is due for a hot streak sooner rather than later. Value purchase available here.

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17. As the Rangers prepare to sell at the deadline, I’d look to upgrade on Henrik Lundqvist. New York will likely have a high draft pick in June.

18. It sounds like the Hurricanes will trade Micheal Ferland. His extensive category coverage makes him such a valuable fantasy commodity. The dual-eligible winger could be a nice little value buy for you before your trade deadline.

19. Speaking of the Hurricanes, 23-year-old rookie goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic is worth a streamer flier. The American allowed two goals on 26 shots, notching the victory in his first NHL start last Wednesday in Vancouver.

20. Thankfully, the bye week schedule comes to an end on Friday. When constructing your roster for the Sportsnet Fantasy Hockey Pool, stock up on the Penguins, Flyers and Jets. Those three squads lead the league with four games this week.

In the meantime, stay clear of Anaheim, Arizona, Colorado, Los Angeles, San Jose, St. Louis and Vancouver. They play just once.

Back to normal next week!

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