3 up, 3 down: Canadiens’ Brendan Gallagher emerging as high-end option

Brendan Gallagher opens the scoring for the Canadiens after he torches the Bruins off a brutal giveaway by Kevan Miller.

Welcome to the fantasy hockey stock market. Each week we will look at three players trending up and three players trending down.

Three Up

Brendan Gallagher – RW – Canadiens – 23 Goals, 17 Assists, 215 Shots, 65 Games
Disguised by a slow first half and the overall malaise surrounding the Canadiens, Gallagher has emerged as a high-end fantasy option. Gallagher’s minutes have surged above 16 per game over the past two months, particularly on the power play where he is now a fixture as the net-front option.

He has eight goals, 19 points and 89 shots in 24 games here in the second half. That’s 27-goal/65-point/304-shot pace pro-rated for 82 games.

Bonus: the Canadiens have 11 games over the next three weeks, which is as many as any team.

Daniel Sedin – LW – Canucks – 21 Goals, 25 Assists, 139 Shots, 64 Games
The veteran winger is making a killing as an offensive/power-play specialist and is on a particularly hot streak of late with eight goals and 12 points in the last eight games. With the Canucks’ big guns all healthy there is enough support to keep this hot streak rolling.

Bonus: like the Canadiens, the Canucks also play 11 games over the next three weeks.

Nick Bjugstad – F – Panthers – 11 Goals, 24 Assists, 169 Shots, 63 Games
As far as undervalued fantasy options go, Bjugstad’s linemate Evgenii Dadonov is a go-to option, but we already hyped Dadonov a few of weeks back. If you missed the boat on Big Daddy, Bjugstad is a reasonable fall-back. The top line of Aleksander Barkov, Dadonov and Bjugstad has been sizzling all second half.

Bjugstad has 13 points in the last 15 games and will continue to be a productive fantasy option as long as this line sticks together.

Three Down

Max Pacioretty – LW – Canadiens – 17 Goals, 20 Assists, 212 Shots, 64 Games
Pacioretty started to hit his stride around mid-season but fell back into a funk after the All-Star break, scoring just one goals and six points in 15 games. The winger has been sent home in the midst of a six-game road trip with a lower-body injury. That trip has four games remaining on it.

Without knowing the extent of his injury, we are left to speculate about a timeline. Could this be used as an excuse to put his dreadful season out of it’s misery? Even if the Canadiens are not so bold, you can use this opportunity to find yourself a healthy and productive option on the waiver wire.

Brayden Schenn – C – Blues – 24 Goals, 33 Assists, 161 Shots, 66 Games
Schenn’s breakout first half powered many fantasy owners up to the top of their league standings. Those same owners are now wishing that they sold high. The Blues are in shambles, having lost 10 of their last 14 games, scoring just 2.1 goals per game over that stretch. The Blues even went so far as to trade their No. 2 centreman.

Schenn has only seven points over the last 14 games and has been split off from Vladimir Tarasenko at even strength. He still has plenty to offer as a multi-category option, but the scoring appears to have dried up. It also doesn’t help that the Blues play only nine games over the next three weeks.

Ryan Kesler – C – Ducks – 6 Goals, 2 Assists, 50 Shots, 17 Games
It is clear that Kesler rushed back from off-season surgery far too soon to be effective. Zombie Kesler is still giving the Ducks some value as a faceoff specialist but he has not been up to anywhere near the volume of minutes as he was for them last season.

Instead of being an ice-tilting menace, Kesler has been an anchor, continually losing the battle for shot share despite heavily increased offensive zone opportunities. Dump zombie Kesler before he drags your fantasy team down too.

Steve Laidlaw is the Managing Editor of DobberHockey. Follow him on Twitter @SteveLaidlaw.

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