Special to Yahoo Sports
In this space, we’ll look at which NHL players are seeing their fantasy hockey values rise or fall on a week-to-week basis.
This week’s article includes Tage on a tear, the Hub rolling as a Flame, a lesser-known winger thriving in the Desert and a not-so-golden Knights’ goalie.
First Liners (Risers)
Tage Thompson, C, BUF
Thompson took a major step forward last season with 38 goals, 68 points (including 16 with the man advantage) and 253 shots on goal in 78 games. That performance may just be the tip of the iceberg, as Tage potted five goals Wednesday against Columbus and is up to 21 goals and 20 assists in 28 contests. Thompson, acquired as part of the Ryan O’Reilly deal with Buffalo in 2017, signed a seven-year, $50 million contract extension with the Sabers in August. That deal, which looked to potentially be a mild overpayment, could end up a bargain if what we have seen from Thompson last year is the norm.
Brock Nelson, C, NYI
Nelson, who set new career-highs in goals (37) and points (59) last season, is on an early pace to obliterate those numbers. He’s up to 14 goals and as many assists in 29 games. With two goals Friday, Nelson extended his point streak to seven games, which ended Saturday. The Islanders are 11-0-0 this season when the 31-year-old center scores. If you selected Nelson in your drafts, you’re reaping the benefits of a player taking his career to the next level the past two seasons.
Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, CGY
Those who have Huberdeau on their roster can begin to breathe a sigh of relief. After finishing second in the NHL last season with 115 points, Huberdeau was part of the massive trade with Calgary; Matthew Tkachuk landed in Florida. Slated to be a free agent after the season, Huberdeau signed an eight-year, $84 million contract extension with the Flames in August. He got off to a brutal start, but over his last nine outings, Huberdeau has a pair of goals and seven assists and looks to be rounding into form. Huberdeau sits with just five goals, but he’s too talented not to get hot before too long.
Alex DeBrincat, RW, OTT
DeBrincat, who scored 41 goals last season for Chicago, was traded to Ottawa this past offseason. Expectations were high for the team and for the sniping winger, although both have disappointed to date. DeBrincat recently is doing his best to change that narrative, as he’s contributed a point in each of his last six games and in nine of his last 10 contests, upping his season totals to nine goals and 15 assists in 28 games. The goals have yet to really come, but I expect that to change in the near future as he looks to be finding his game in Canada’s capital.
Matias Maccelli, LW, AZ
Maccelli, drafted in the fourth round (98th overall) in 2019, is making the most of the full-time opportunity he’s been provided in the Desert. He has a goal and seven assists in his last seven outings, with helpers accounting for 17 of his 19 points on the year. When Arizona adds more talent over the next several seasons, Maccelli seems to be better suited for a third-line role. For now, though, he is firmly planted in the top six, a role that should continue for at least the balance of the season.
Braden Schneider, D, NYR
As of last Friday, which defenseman had the most goals in the NHL since November 22? I am sure it shocked everyone to learn it was Schneider, who tallied his fourth in that stretch Friday. There is offensive talent there, although Schneider is more of a defensive specialist at this point. He does have 49 hits and 42 blocked shots while playing 15 minutes per game on the third pair. Don’t expect a lot more goals, but Schneider has shown the willingness and ability to join the rush, which should continue to result in some offensive production.
Travis Sanheim D, PHI
Sanheim, like Schneider, is riding a hot streak. As with Schneider, I’m not expecting Sanheim to remain this hot, but he did post 35 points in 2018-19 and 31 points last season. While he has nine points in his last 12 games, one limiting factor is Sanheim’s lack of a consistent role on the power play. Enjoy the hot streak for now, but while he’s still worth a roster spot in deeper leagues, don’t be afraid to jettison him if needed for the next hot flavor of the week in shallower formats.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, TB
The early-season struggles for Vasilevskiy are now a mere memory. On November 12, Vasilevskiy had a 4-5-1 record with a 3.11 goals-against average (GAA) and a .901 save percentage (SV%). The switch has flipped on, as Vasilevskiy has won three of his last four and seven of his last 10, with a save percentage of .923 over that span. Teams that rostered Vasilevskiy had little choice but to wait for the tide to turn given his draft position, and they’re now being rewarded.
Others include Brayden Point, Jack Quinn, Andrew Copp, Adam Ruzicka, Drake Batherson, Jonathan Marchessault, Mitch Marner, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, William Nylander, David Perron, Rickard Rakell, Josh Morrissey, Thomas Chabot, Brent Burns, Shayne Gostisbehere, Matt Murray, Pyotr Kochetkov, Igor Shesterkin and Filip Gustavsson.
Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)
Kirby Dach, C, MTL
Dach, the third-overall pick in 2019, wore out his welcome in Chicago after just three seasons. He received a new lease on life following his trade to Montreal this offseason and has generally made the most of that second chance. Dach has seen time at right wing next to Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki but has slumped a bit lately and has been moved to second-line center. Dach has no goals since Nov. 9 and just two helpers in his last eight games. He’ll eventually find his game, but for now, some pine time is recommended.
Anthony Mantha, LW, WAS
Mantha has shown some signs of life lately with a goal and three assists in his last three games, but he remains stuck on the third line and is seeing little ice time with the man advantage, limiting his fantasy upside. He’s been held off the scoresheet entirely in eight of the last 11 games. The 48 points he tallied in Detroit in both 2017-18 and 2018-19 seem likely to end up as his career high, barring a move up the depth chart and/or additional power play time.
He does have value, just not at the level he seemed to when he was a first-rounder back in 2013.
Logan Thompson, G, LV
Thompson is entrenched as the starter between the pipes for Vegas, aided by the expected season-long absence of Robin Lehner. After a blazing hot start, Thompson has slowly returned to earth a bit recently. In the past month, Thompson is 7-5-0, but that record is mildly offset by a 3.15 goals-against average (GAA) and .906 save percentage (SV%). Compare that to his 6-2-0 record, 2.01 GAA and .934 SV% in his first eight outings of the season. Value still exists, but be aware that his overall numbers are skewed by that hot start.
Others include Shane Wright (loaned to Canada junior team for WJC)Derek Stepan, Chandler Stephenson, Pius Suter, Nino Niederreiter, Justin Faulk, Tony DeAngelo (healthy scratch Friday) and Marc-Andre Fleury.