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Fantasy Hockey: Players to Watch (Week of April 16)

Jason Chen looks at some notable names in fantasy hockey this week, including rookies looking fresh for the stretch run and a handful of important goalies to keep an eye on.
Matty Beniers


Carey Price, Canadiens

Try as they might, the Habs just couldn’t muster any offense to give Price any help. The Habs tied a season-high 44 shots on goal against the Isles on Friday, but were completely shut out while Price allowed two goals on 19 shots in the loss. They’re now 4-8-1 when recording at least 35 shots on goal, a testament to both their offensive ineptitude and poor goaltending for much of the season. Neither of the goals were really Price’s fault; Zach Parise’s game winner came off a 3-on-0 break off a turnover at the offensive blue line, and Noah Dobson fired a laser into a perfect location. But it was at least enough to show that Price is ready to return, and with seven games remaining figures to see more action down the stretch. It seems unlikely he can return to his previous form in such a short amount of time, but Samuel Montembeault has been unreliable all season, and fantasy managers might want to roll the dice on Price’s talent and potential than continued mediocrity from Montembeault.

Logan Thompson, Golden Knights

Robin Lehner has left the team for personal reasons and there’s little reason to think his absence will be long term, but once again Thompson put in a good performance against a divisional foe with a 6-1 win against the Flames. Lehner had started the previous four games and gone 2-0-1, but other than a 6-1 thumping of the Coyotes, the other three games – all against the Canucks – didn’t inspire much confidence. Thompson will get the start Saturday against the Oilers, and another strong showing would put him in a stronger position to take the starting job. Thompson should be rostered for the rest of the season due to the amount of playing time he should get and also because he really has an outside chance to be their starter for Game 1 in the playoffs.


Matty Beniers, C, Kraken

It was surprising to see Beniers be inserted into the top line right off the bat, though he certainly has more upside than either Alexander Wennberg or Yanni Gourde. He played 17:10 in his NHL debut against the Flames, third in ice time among Kraken forwards trailing only his two wingers, Ryan Donato and Jordan Eberle, and managed to pot an assist. The drawback with Beniers’ fantasy value is the lack of elite wingers to compliment him, and won only five of his 12 faceoffs. But if Beniers continues to get quality playing time, he’s going to be a valuable fantasy asset down the stretch and perhaps going forward into next season as a keeper-level player.

Owen Power, D, Sabres

The initial first impression was very good, but did we expect anything less? Through his first two NHL games, the 6-foot-6 first overall pick from 2021 is averaging over 21 minutes per game with an assist and a plus-1 rating so far. It’s not like Power is paired with a cagey veteran, either, since Henri Jokiharju is just 22 years old. With zero playoff hopes and their eyes set on the future, look for Power to continue to play top-four minutes through the rest of the season. His point production should be muted since he doesn’t play on the power play and it’ll take more time to acclimate himself, but in leagues that could peripherals such as shots, hits or blocked shots, Power could be a modest contributor.

Vasily Podkolzin, LW/RW, Canucks

The Russian power winger has been excellent over the past little stretch, scoring three goals and six points in his past four games. Injuries to Brock Boeser, Nils Hoglander and Tanner Pearson has opened up spots in the top six, and he’s been the second-best play driver on his line behind J.T. Miller but ahead of Alex Chiasson. Podkolzin is averaging nearly 16 minutes a game in April after averaging less than 14 for much of the season, and represents really sneaky-good upside. With Bo Horvat now unavailable for the next two weeks, look for Podkolzin to get even more minutes and perhaps even a look on the top power-play unit in a net-front or bumper role with Miller and Elias Pettersson on the half-boards, Quinn Hughes at the top and Chiasson down low.

Fabian Zetterlund, LW/RW, Devils

Zetterlund was the Devils’ top scorer in the AHL with 52 points in 58 games with the Utica Comets and has not missed a beat since getting called up. Playing on the top line with captain Nico Hischier and Yegor Sharangovich, Zetterlund has scored four points in his past four games while averaging 15 minutes per game. This is a showcase for the third-round pick from 2017, and he’s passed the test so far. The Devils aren’t a high-profile team, which makes Zetterlund a very sneaky option for fantasy managers.

Jack McBain, C, and Nathan Smith, C, Coyotes

Acquired at the trade deadline and signed after their college seasons, the Coyotes’ two newest prospects don’t offer much upside. The team’s lack of depth ensures both will likely stay in the lineup, but only one of their lines – whichever one Nick Schmaltz plays on – seems really capable of generating offense, and clearly McBain and Smith have the tools to play in the league but no real standout skill to suggest they could be true top-six players. Considering the team’s struggles, both McBain and Smith can be left on the waiver wire.


Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Lightning

Maybe it’s fatigue, maybe it’s a little impatience while they wait for the playoffs to start, but Vasilevskiy has looked off in April, going 1-3-1 with a .893 Sv%. Brian Elliott has picked up the slack and even earned a one-year extension, and should see more action since the Lightning have two more back-to-backs before the end of the season. Elliott’s a good option for a spot start because he plays on such a good team, but it’s a really bad time for Vasilevskiy to falter right now. He deserves the benefit of the doubt, but upcoming matchups against the Leafs – a potential first-round opponent – and the Panthers on the road make him a dicey option down the stretch. The three games where there’s a lot less risk starting Vasilevskiy will be against Detroit, whom he’s never lost against, and a home-and-home series against Columbus. 


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