Fantasy hockey pickups: Add Eric Staal (now that he’s free)


Special to Yahoo Sports

The fantasy season is winding down. Playoff spots are up for grabs. And by this time next week, we’ll see a few NHLers change locations as a result of Monday’s trade deadline.

It’s time to focus. Get in or start planning for next season.

If you’re looking for the latest, be sure to visit the RotoWire news page. And for analysis, stats, and other helpful tips, check our related hockey content to set your lineups and manage your rosters.

(Yahoo! rostered rates/stats as of April 8.)

FORWARDS

Jared McCann, PIT (32 percent rostered)

Evgeni who? Since the Russian star went down with a lower-body injury, McCann has exploded for eight points and 28 shots in nine games. Included in that scoring spree are five on the Pens’ premier power play — with four of those goals. Malkin is still at least a couple of weeks from coming back, so McCann should keep centering the second line and getting plenty of offensive opportunities.

Mantha started the season with points in seven of 11 outings, but the production dried up for most of February. Things have turned around for the 2013 first-rounder since March 11 with four goals, six assists, and 33 shots. It may be surprising that none of his 10 recent points came on the man-advantage since he’s averaged more than two minutes in that span. And even with a move away from Dylan Larkin, Mantha offers too much attacking upside to be left available in roughly four of every five Yahoo leagues.

After earning his Escape from New York (State), Staal found the perfect way to kick off his Habs career by netting the OT GWG on Monday. The veteran proved in Minnesota he could consistently score and has the chance to repeat that in Montreal with talented wingers. Staal was also installed on the top power play, so we’ll see if that role continues. And if you’re into faceoff wins, he’s made an immediate impact with 22 through two.

Eric Staal is already making his presence felt with Montreal. (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Acciari was mainly invisible from a fantasy standpoint until March when he broke out with a hat trick in Nashville early in the month. The points started trickling in and then took off with a goal and four assists over six appearances while Aleksander Barkov was out. During that same period, Acciari also generated 16 shots, 15 hits, 13 blocks, and 77 (!) faceoff wins. While Barkov’s return has pushed Acciari down the depth chart, the latter’s placement on Florida’s third line is solid alongside sniper Frank Vatrano.

Craig Smith, BOS (11 percent)

While the Bruins struggled against the Penguins last Thursday, they decided to switch David Pastrnak off the league’s most dangerous trio for even-strength and replace him with Smith. The former University of Wisconsin star didn’t score that night but has since picked up three assists. Even if Smith doesn’t last with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, a five-on-five reunion with David Krejci is still pretty good.

Calle Jarnkrok, NSH (11 percent)

Jarnkrok makes it four straight weeks a Nashville forward has appeared in this column, which makes sense considering the Preds have totaled 22 goals in their last seven games. The 29-year-old has significantly influenced the offense with two tallies, three helpers — all PPAs — and 15 shots across five. Jarnkrok operates within the top-six and maintains lead special-teams roles, so there’s no danger of him losing too much value.

11 goals, 10 assists, 18-plus minute average. Hardly the stat line of a forward taken in only eight percent of leagues, but that’s the situation Brown’s in. He extended his goal streak to five on Wednesday and has collected 25 shots on net in nine games. A place on the third line may look less than ideal, though Brown also appears on Ottawa’s top power play.

Your job, reader — should you choose to accept it — is to bump up his coverage percentage to a more respectable number.

Radek Faksa, DAL (3 percent)

With Roope Hintz seemingly having to sit out every second outing with a lingering injury, the remaining Dallas centers have accrued additional ice time. While Faksa hasn’t lit the fantasy world on fire with 12 points from 36, he’s done enough in other areas. He’s produced 21 shots and 13 hits and has won 64 faceoffs over the last seven. Faksa would probably receive more attention if his notable man-advantage role yielded more than one PPP, though he’s potted a shorthanded goal.

DEFENSEMEN

Colton Parayko, STL (38 percent)

Parayko saw his first action in nearly two months on Monday and blocked three shots while skating just under 20 minutes. The 6-foot-6 blueliner notched eight points in 17 games prior to hitting the shelf, so he’s in line for further scoring opportunities. The ice time will increase as Parayko continues to re-acclimate himself while there’s the possibility of secondary power-play duty. And even if he can’t regularly find the scoresheet, there’s enough in other categories to make him a suitable addition.

Connor Murphy, CHI (15 percent)

For someone generally reliable in delivering supplementary stats, Murphy has also recently helped poolies on offense. The last eight games have seen the usual 29 hits and blocks, but he’s also contributed five assists and 13 shots. Several NHL defenders will undoubtedly outpoint Murphy, though few can produce as much across-the-board or be counted upon to stop top opposition.

Josh Manson, ANH (1 percent)

Welcome to the lower half of the D report, where the pickings are slimmer and the names are somewhat familiar. You might remember the 37 points Manson managed in 2017-18, but there’s probably nothing that stands out this campaign due to multiple injuries. And since nothing through the first seven outings, Manson has chipped in with a goal, two helpers, eight shots, 18 hits, and 14 blocks across the next seven. Not particularly impressive, but solid on the physical side.

Sean Walker, LA (0 percent)

I’ve always admired Walker for his effort, determination … and that brief period last season when he helped one of my teams. Only eight points in 29 matchups, though he’s logged a couple respectable performances the last few weeks. Walker blocks a decent amount of shots and fires a few pucks on goal, including seven on Wednesday, but his biggest draw comes in the form of a 1:39 average as a member of LA’s second power-play unit. Considering his ice time has significantly increased the last four, there’s potential room for growth.

GOALTENDERS

Joonas Korpisalo, CLS (47 percent)

Teammate Elvis Merzlikins occupied this slot last week with a note claiming either Columbus netminder is fantasy worthy. Korpisalo returned from a brief injury layoff Saturday in relief of his crease compatriot and stopped 12 of 13 Florida shots before turning away 32 of 35 in the rematch. And on Tuesday, he racked up 36 saves during a big win over the Lightning. The Blue Jackets’ upcoming schedule looks daunting, but they’re fighting for fourth in the Central and have the goalies to pull off a few positive efforts.

Thomas Greiss, DET (6 percent)

Two Red Wings on this week’s list obviously means they’re doing something right lately. The 3-15-6 record this season doesn’t flatter Greiss, but he’s started the last five posting a 1.86 GAA and .940 save percentage — with the first four matchups on the road versus the Panthers and Bolts. Detroit is destined for another high lottery pick, but grabbing a stable starter like Greiss who can make a bunch of stops and steal a couple Ws isn’t a terrible lower-lineup option.

(Players to consider from past columns: Adrian Kempe, Jordan Staal, Roope Hintz, Ryan Johansen, Vincent Trocheck, Pavel Zacha, Clayton Keller, Eeli Tolvanen, Martin Necas, Jason Robertson, Carter Verhaeghe, Jesper Bratt, Zach Hyman, Phillip Danault, Alexander Wennberg, Mikael Granlund, Alex Killorn, Joonas Donskoi, Kirby Dach, Adam Henrique, Matt Grzelcyk, Josh Morrissey, Adam Boqvist, Devon Toews, Filip Hronek, Alex Goligoski, Nick Leddy, Mike Reilly, Linus Ullmark, Jake Oettinger, Kevin Lankinen, Mike Smith, Juuse Saros, Alex Nedeljkovic, Cam Talbot, Kaapo Kahkonen)



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