Fantasy trends, hidden gems: Vancouver acquires Elias Lindholm, Dallas promotes Wyatt Johnston and more

NHL hockey returns on Monday, but this week’s schedule is a little bit funky. A handful of teams will be on bye when play resumes after the rest of the league benefited from some time off before the NHL All-Star game. Let’s navigate through that. 

Four-Game Streamers

Elias Lindholm, C, VAN | 72% Yahoo

Of course I have to start with Lindholm, who was traded on Wednesday night to Vancouver. First, I understand he isn’t available in most leagues. But let’s talk to the managers contemplating adding him, whether off the waiver wire or via trade. Lindholm should have a ton more support and isn’t going to shoot below seven percent forever. I expect a bounce back in Vancouver, where he seems like a perfect fit on paper. This could be someone worth investing in, despite the iffy results in the first half of the season. 

Josh Manson, D, COL | 33% Yahoo

Manson isn’t the most reliable defender for offense. He can kick in points here and there, but the secondary categories are where most of his value stems from. Expect him to be physical and accumulate blocked shots. This next stretch provides key opportunity for the later — Carolina and Florida are two of the most frequent shooting teams. New Jersey and New York are in the top half of the league, too. The Panthers are also a pretty physical team. So there is a good path for him to play to his strengths this week. 

Ross Colton, C/LW, COL | 23% Yahoo

Colton is riding a three-game point streak with six assists. He’s a part of a very productive second line, with Miles Wood and Logan O’Connor (who is also worth looking at). The trio has earned 57 percent of their expected goals share, with even better results. That could be worthwhile during a four-game week, with one light night. Just keep an eye on Colton’s PP1 placement — if he sticks there, there’s a ton more value to be had. 

T.J. Oshie, RW, WSH | 17% Yahoo

Oshie’s been producing since returning to the lineup, which makes him someone to consider. The problem is that third line really isn’t driving play or impressing us. But his power play performance brings value, as does his contributions to the secondary categories — this is someone who shoots the puck pretty often, will block shots, and can be counted on to be physical. 

Pius Suter, C, VAN | 4% Yahoo

The top-six in Vancouver just got deeper with the addition of Lindholm, and that should have a positive effect on everyone. While we don’t know what the exact line combinations will be just yet, we’re confident that Suter will be a part of it since there’s no reason to break up their super productive third line. Suter’s been kicking in offense as of late, which isn’t always par for the course considering he’s more of a defensive specialist. But I say to benefit from that hot streak, and see if it continues when the Canucks return to play now that the team got such a boost. Considering his availability, Ilya Mikheyev is another player to watch in those top-two lines. 

Light-Night Performers

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There are four light nights on the schedule ahead. Each of the four-game streamers will be in action on one of these nights. Otherwise, keep an eye on the Maple Leafs, Rangers, Wild, and Blackhawks, each with two light nights ahead. 

The Rangers have been going through it, which makes pinpointing a player a little more tricky. So we’ll turn to Alexis Lafrenière because he’s a mainstay on the team’s most productive line. Benefit from the “Artemi Panarin Boost” however you can, basically. 

In Toronto, the problem is that the bottom-six doesn’t have many standout options right now. Someone in the top-six (unsurprisingly) is the best bet, so I suggest Tyler Bertuzzi. Let’s face it, it hasn’t been nearly as productive of a year as most of us would have expected. But John Tavares finally broke through his scoreless drought and William Nylander continues to do the most. Maybe that’s something to build on against the Islanders on Monday night.

 Brock Faber is the standout option in Minnesota, between his even strength excellence and role as the quarterback of the top power play unit. But at 65 percent availability in Yahoo leagues, we need a more attainable option. On defense, that’s Jonas Brodin, who continues to be a quietly effective option to round out a team’s blue line. 

As for the Blackhawks… Good luck until Connor Bedard returns. But if we must, Jason Dickinson could be a fine depth add for someone in a super deep league. 

Other Thoughts

Thomas Harley, D, DAL | 50% Yahoo

We talked about Harley a few weeks ago as someone to consider in Miro Heiskanen’s absence. Well, Heiskanen is back and Harley is still worth keeping around. The one downside is the power play potential has officially dwindled with Heiskanen back on that top unit. But their five-on-five minutes have been excellent — literally, the best among defense pairs with at least 100 minutes of time together. So the even strength potential is ideal for a defender to round out your roster. 

Andrei Kuzmenko, LW/RW, CGY | 47% Yahoo

It hasn’t been Kuzmenko’s season, which is why his usage has dwindled. But Calgary isn’t Vancouver — he is likely to play at least middle-six minutes to start his Flames tenure. Maybe he sees some time with a playmaker like Jonathan Huberdeau to try and kick start his finishing again. So keep an eye on whether this change in scenery can revitalize his game. 

Troy Terry, RW, ANA | 46% Yahoo

We were asked about Terry earlier this season in a “Keep or Kick” context after a super slow start, so it only feels right to give a little update. He had one of the best Januarys in the NHL, with an average Game Score of 2.02 that ranked seventh in the league. So make sure you’re using him if he’s on your roster. And if he’s still available in your league, consider the forward despite the “Bad Team Effect” once the bye week ends. The Ducks have three games on the slate the week of 12th, and then they’ll be a four-game streamer the following. 

Wyatt Johnston, C/RW, DAL | 28% Yahoo

Babe, wake up, a new top line in Dallas dropped. Johnston has replaced Joe Pavelski to shake things up, and that combination has absolutely crushed it in a very short time. In about 80 five-on-five minutes, that combination is outright controlling play with 85 percent (!) of the expected goal share, and they’ve outscored opponents 9-1. The big question is whether they can maintain this level in a larger sample of ice time. But until Johnston proves he isn’t a fit on that line, I highly recommend considering him for your lineup — this is finally a way to get into that top-line action in Dallas, which usually is trickier to do unless you drafted one of the core members of it. 

Adam Henrique, C/LW, ANA | 32% Yahoo

Henrique went into the bye week on a six-game point streak. With a light night ahead on the schedule, consider adding the forward for some secondary scoring and shot volume. Henrique could be an intriguing player to keep an eye on over the next few weeks, anyway. The trade deadline is approaching and he’s more than likely to be on the move. He’s more than likely to move to a deeper team, which will likely mean more two-way support around him. But depending on where he goes, his usage may dwindle from his current pace in Anaheim. That can be the trade-off around the deadline, when shifting from a bad team to one that’s playoff-caliber. 

Sam Montembeault, G, MTL | 23% Yahoo

If wins are not your top priority, Montembeault is a goalie to consider. He continues to put up quality numbers in Montreal. The Canadiens will be in action three times next week, and it’s a safe bet that he will play two of three nights. 

Alex Nedeljkovic, G, PIT | 15% Yahoo

If the bye week hurt your chances of hitting the weekly minimum for goaltenders, maybe Nedeljkovic can help considering the Penguins’ back-to-back schedule. Pittsburgh will match up with the Wild next Friday, then the Jets on Saturday, so keep an eye on their goalie plans, because they’re more than likely to split the workload. 

Nicolas Roy, C/RW, VGK | 9% Yahoo

I talked recently about Roy as an injury replacement in Vegas, and he has crushed it since. The forward has been super productive down the middle of a second line with Jonathan Marchessault and Ivan Barbashev. The line has generated 56 percent of the expected goals share together and outscored opponents 10-3. The one downside over the next two weeks is that Vegas only has two games per week. But if scheduling isn’t an issue, then consider benefiting from the Golden Knights’ new-look second line’s production. 

Data via Evolving-Hockey, HockeyViz, HockeyStatCards, AllThreeZones, and NaturalStatTrick. This story relies on shot-based metrics; here is a primer on these numbers.  

(Top photo of Elias Lindholm: Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

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