Key fantasy tips on every NHL team

While you might be an avid fan of a particular NHL team -- and keep up to date on all the news and rumors regarding that franchise -- there are 29 others playing in 2016-17.It's fantasy baseball season! Renew an existing league, or sign up to play in a new...

Key fantasy tips on every NHL team

While you might be an avid fan of a particular NHL team -- and keep up to date on all the news and rumors regarding that franchise -- there are 29 others playing in 2016-17.

It's fantasy baseball season! Renew an existing league, or sign up to play in a new one. Either way, it's free.
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As a fantasy owner, it can be a bit daunting to keep tabs on everything.

That's where the Fantasy 30 comes in -- a rundown of the most fantasy-relevant updates on every team. Here's what's happening around the NHL this week, as the trade deadline approaches on March 1.

Anaheim Ducks: Filling in for John Gibson (lower-body injury), Jonathan Bernier was "good enough" in backstopping the Ducks to a 5-3 win over the Bruins Wednesday. But before you rush to add Anaheim's (distant) No. 2, know that Gibson remains listed as day-to-day; he could return as early as Saturday. After that, the club is off until the following Friday. And, again, Bernier was just good enough versus Boston; this is no timeshare.

Arizona Coyotes: Backup netminder Louis Domingue is slated to start for the Coyotes in the second of back-to-backs in Dallas. DFS competitors may give members of the Stars an extra-long look Friday, including one otherwise struggling veteran forward (see below). Recovering from a lower-body injury, Domingue hasn't impressed much this season altogether.

Boston Bruins: Thursday's impressive 27-save effort from Anton Khudobin can only further discourage the Bruins from pursuing a back-up netminder ahead of the deadline. And more of the same from the 30-year-old should mean additional days of rest for No. 1 Tuukka Rask. Owned in only 3.6 percent of ESPN leagues, Khudobin might be worth grabbing if you're desperate for netminding help in deeper re-draft leagues.

Buffalo Sabres: Defenseman Cody Franson is considered a potential trade commodity. A sub-mediocre fantasy asset with the Sabres this season, the towering 29-year-old has flirted with productive numbers in the past. A move to a contender would be worth monitoring, anyway.

Calgary Flames: Defender Dennis Wideman wants out of Calgary, if Flames management is keen to move him. Sidelined as a healthy scratch since the club acquired Michael Stone from the Coyotes, Wideman could only benefit from a change of scenery at this stage. As might his few fantasy owners -- those holding out hope there's still a place in the league for the veteran's vicious shot. But we're not particularly confident that such a deal is in the cards.

Carolina Hurricanes: Veteran Ron Hainsey might not be the only defenseman jettisoning the Hurricanes this season. Considering the depth of young, blue-line talent in Carolina, there's talk GM Ron Francis might consider moving Justin Faulk. While such a deal is less likely to be brokered in the next few days, it's worth keeping in mind as a potential summer deal. Dynasty owners in deeper leagues take note: 20-year-old Noah Hanifin is estimated to eventually take over as the Canes' top defenseman.

Chicago Blackhawks: More reason to believe GM Stan Bowman will leave his club well enough alone ahead of the trade deadline: "Before the All-Star break, the #Blackhawks averaged 2.8 goals per game. Since the All-Star break, they're averaging 4.1 goals per game." Why fiddle if it doesn't need fixing? Beyond Chicago's fantasy heavyweights -- Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Artemi Panarin, etc. -- Toews' linemates Richard Panik and Nick Schmaltz are currently punching above their class, as is productive tough guy Ryan Hartman.

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One of the NHL's top trade candidates may not be moved prior to the deadline, and here's why. Plus, your mailbag questions answered.

Who is the NHL's best player at each age? Here's our final installment of the series identifying them, featuring the top players ages 30 and up.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns is currently third in the NHL in scoring. How does his performance compare to the best seasons by defensemen?

Colorado Avalanche: Even his own teammates want him shipped out of town. In a show of love for the 39-year-old, some prominent Avalanche skaters are expressing their desire to see Jarome Iginla win the Stanley Cup elsewhere. And it's not out of the question. Several contending teams are believed to be interested in the experienced rental, including the Blackhawks, Oilers and Kings. His old club in Calgary is also thought to be in the mix (and that would be fun). A move just about anywhere else stands to partially resurrect the veteran's flagging fantasy value. It was only two seasons ago Iginla collected 59 points, nearly half of them goals. He amassed 22 tallies and 25 assists last season. So yeah, he's still breathing, and could be a boon to fantasy teams if the trade destination is the right one.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Concerned about the drop off in production from Sam Gagner? You should be. While Columbus beat reporter Aaron Portzline points to the overall cooling of the Jackets' power play, Sportsnet's Doug McLean further argues against a reversal of that trend by illustrating how the rest of the league has smartened up in defending the unit. Fifteen of Gagner's 34 points have counted with the extra skater. With all of one assist in his past dozen games, he hasn't scored a goal since before Christmas.

Dallas Stars: Bouncing off the mid-winter bye week, the Stars' lineup could sport a slightly different look for Friday's return against the Coyotes. Noteworthy changes include the projected promotion of Patrick Sharp to Tyler Seguin's second-line wing. Missing a considerable fraction of games to injury, and largely serving as a bottom-six forward otherwise, Sharp has had a lousy year to date. This reconfiguration offers the veteran a chance to shine before his (inevitable?) trade elsewhere.

Detroit Red Wings: ESPN Insider Craig Custance suggests Thomas Vanek is all but gone ahead of the trade deadline, and that Chicago might be an interesting landing spot. Enjoying a successful individual campaign with a team that's wholly struggling on offense (2.38 goals per game), the veteran winger should blossom further in a top-six role with a contender. And he's spoken for in only 43.2 percent of ESPN leagues.

Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers are rumored to want popular trade candidate Brian Boyle. A projected role as the Oilers' third-line center doesn't thrill us nearly as much as a potential gig on a top power-play unit with Connor McDavid, if that's how it all unfolds. Even then, only owners in deep seasonal leagues should keep an eye on such matters.

Florida Panthers: GM Dale Tallon says he's shopping around for special teams help. "The goal is to be buying," Tallon said Saturday. "I like where we're at, but I'd like to add some offense to get our power play going." Might such a transaction spell the end for Jonathan Marchessault on the club's top power-play unit? If so, we propose you pay mind to who inherits that plum spot playing with Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr. Stay tuned.

Los Angeles Kings: Goalie Jonathan Quick appears on schedule to return in the next two weeks. Our guess is the club waits until March 9 -- which follows a full four-day break -- before throwing their franchise netminder out there. If so, that leaves Peter Budaj the bulk of five remaining starts, including back-to-backs this approaching Monday and Tuesday.

Montreal Canadiens: In addition to hearty interest in Martin Hanzal from several teams in the Western Conference, the Canadiens remain in the fray for the Coyotes center, according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun. No offense to Phillip Danault, but jamming in Hanzal between Max Pacioretty and Alexander Radulov on the Canadiens' top line in place of the younger centerman would be an immediate upgrade. And Lebrun believes -- regardless of where he lands -- Hanzal could move by the end of the weekend.

Minnesota Wild: It appears Jason Pominville is staying put. Generally content with his crew on the whole, GM Chuck Fletcher is gunning to add -- if anything -- before the deadline alarm sounds Mar. 1. By no means is this sour news for those who have invested in the 34-year-old winger; following a wretched first three months, Pominville has since erupted with 24 points in 22 games. Skating on a line with Zach Parise as well as the Wild's top power-play unit doesn't hurt, of course. And he remains available in a majority of ESPN leagues.

Nashville Predators: If you ask Pekka Rinne, rookie Juuse Saros is an brilliant candidate to eventually take over as the Predators' No. 1 goalie. Obvious affection for his protégé and fellow Finn aside, the veteran goalie seems to genuinely recognize something special in the 21-year-old. Dynasty league owners should realize Rinne's current contract expires in 2019. At that point, he'll be 37 years old, and it never hurts to look ahead.

New Jersey Devils: Rookie Pavel Zacha is expected to miss at least one game, if not more, after suffering a concussion in Tuesday's matchup with the Senators. The former sixth-overall draft selection (2015) had come alive of late, scoring a goal every other game in February. Adjust your lineups accordingly.

New York Islanders: Veteran Andrew Ladd may salvage some positive shreds from this season after all. As discussed in Tuesday's Waiver Watch column, the 31-year-old recently burst forth with four goals in three games. Small sample size, sure, but coach Doug Weight seems willing to invest in the surge in confidence from his veteran winger. Reporter Arthur Staple points out Ladd was also offered the chance to compete on the Isles' top power-play unit Thursday. He also registered more than 18:24 minutes of ice time, his largest total since October. Desperate owners in deeper leagues should keep watch.

New York Rangers: Discussing the Rangers' struggling power play, Larry Brooks of the New York Post suggests coach Alain Vigneault should -- finally -- give Michael Grabner a go with the man advantage. Truthfully, we thought the Rangers' bench boss would have experimented in this fashion long ago. Grabner has 26 goals and 10 assists this season, not one of them counting with the extra skater. Fantasy owners should keep a close eye on whether Vigneault finally relents, and lets the speedster benefit from facing four (or less) opposing skaters.

Ottawa Senators: You can probably rule out Mark Stone (neck injury) and Mike Hoffman (lower-body injury) for Friday's game in Carolina. However, both prominent wingers could return for Sunday's matchup with the Panthers.

Philadelphia Flyers: Coach Dave Hakstol continues to ride his current No. 1 netminder, giving Michal Neuvirth his sixth straight start in Saturday's outdoor affair with the visiting Penguins. Whether the Flyers truly believe riding Neuvirth is their best chance to earn a spot in the postseason, or this is the method chosen to showcase the netminder as a trade asset, we're generally wary of investing much in him ourselves, fantasy-wise.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Checking in with the Penguins' banged-up blue line: Justin Schultz hopes to return from a concussion Saturday, Kris Letang is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury, Olli Maatta remains out until late March following hand surgery, and Trevor Daley is sidelined six weeks post-knee surgery. Yikes. Behind Schultz, new Penguin Ron Hainsey presents as the club's potential No. 2 fantasy defenseman from this otherwise battered bunch (assuming Letang remains out), and the 35-year-old veteran is barely out of his coat. If you've got a hole to plug on your own roster, you could do worse.

San Jose Sharks: While there's plenty of chatter about Doug Wilson standing pat ahead of the March 1 trade deadline, the Sharks might still have their eye on adding a scoring winger to complement top-line forwards Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. The evergreen list of possible veteran rentals, now that Patrick Eaves is spoken for, include Patrick Sharp, Shane Doan, Thomas Vanek, and Jarome Iginla, each of whom would benefit -- in varying degrees -- from joining such a dynamic forward duo. Vanek is already enjoying a fairly productive campaigns; Sharp and Iginla are not.

St. Louis Blues: According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, a trade contingent on a contract extension with the Lightning was a no-go for Kevin Shattenkirk. Same story in regards to a deal with the Oilers, and one other NHL squad. So, three strikes (minimum) and the Blues are likely out of options other than moving Shattenkirk, pre-deadline, as a rental, and that would be for a much lower return. As such, the Rangers and Maple Leafs are most-often mentioned as particularly sweet on the prominent defenseman, if he does wind up on the move.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Ben Bishop is giving the Lightning a lot to think about. Surrendering only six goals through a personal five-game win streak, the veteran goaltender is making a solid case to help his club battle for a playoff spot, instead of being traded; it doesn't help that franchise goalie of the future Andrei Vasilevskiy has just one win to show for calendar year 2017 thus far. However it rattles out, make sure Bishop is presently active on your own fantasy roster.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Forward Connor Brown continues to serve as an inflated fantasy plug as long as Mitch Marner remains sidelined with an upper-body injury. Subbing in for Marner on a scoring line with James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak, Brown has three goals in his past three games. The Leafs next host the Canadiens on Saturday. Check in with Marner's status ahead of puck drop.

Vancouver Canucks: ESPN's Pierre LeBrun suggests the Canucks are open to dealing Jannik Hansen before the trade deadline, and the Wild are believed to be one of several interested parties. Losing more than 30 games to injury, Hansen has otherwise bounced around the lineup when healthy. A move to a contender -- like the high-scoring Wild -- would only bolster his fantasy worth.

Washington Capitals: DFS competitors with a taste for high-quality backups should know Philipp Grubauer (.932 save percentage, 1.98 goals-against average) is slated to face the Predators Saturday in Nashville. As long as the stingy Capitals manage to keep a hat trick-happy -- and former Washington prospect -- Filip Forsberg under control, Grubauer stands a good chance of escaping Tennessee with the victory.

Winnipeg Jets: ESPN Insider Craig Custance reports that the Jets are getting calls on Drew Stafford, and we could see him getting moved before deadline. Tucked away within Winnipeg's bottom six more often than not this season (he's currently battling an illness), a change of address should improve Stafford's status as a fantasy asset. The former first-rounder (2004) has produced in the past with the Jets, and with the Sabres before then.

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