The Fantasy Hockey playoffs are among us and congratulations to all of you who made it this far in all you leagues. If you made the playoffs, chances are you already have a strong team, but I am going to give you a few players who have been hot as of late and available in the large majority of Yahoo! leagues. If you have room to add a player for the crucial championship push, I would take a peak at the names below.
Jordan Staal – C – Carolina Hurricanes (42% owned)
Staal is averaging 19 minutes of ice-time this season and while he had a brutal first half of the season, things are really turning around for him right now. The Hurrincanes offence is rather anemic, and that has sparked them to move Jordan up to play with his brother Eric and Alex Semin on the top-line and top power-play unit. In his last seven games, Jordan has three goals and six assists (nine points) with a plus-7 rating. He has a career-high of 50 points, so if he is going to top that he will need to churn out 15 points in the next 13 games.
Tyler Johnson – C – Tampa Bay Lightning (25% owned)
I thought there was no way I was going to be able to include him on this list because I thought his owned percentage would be much higher. It is surprising to me that the kid who is third amongst rookies in scoring with 42 points AND who is skating with Steven Stamkos is available in 75% of leagues. Johnson has picked up four goals and one assist in his last seven games while averaging close to 18 minutes a night. His 21 goals is second only to Nathan MacKinnon (23) for rookie goal-scoring. While Alex Kilorn is not doing much on Stammer’s left wing, Johnson continues to have a tremendous rookie year, especially when you consider the fact he was not drafted.
Matt Read – RW – Philadelphia Flyers (22% owned)
Read went off in his rookie season scoring 24 goals in 79 games, but saw his scoring drop from a .304 goals per game to .262 in the shortened season. After scoring just 10 goals in his first 40 games, Read has tallied nine in his last 21. Over the weekend he had three goals in two games vs. the Penguins and now has nine points in his last 10 games. The Flyers are on a roll right now and Read is looking to hit the 25-goal mark for the first time in his career, he needs six in their remaining 14 games.
Alex Burrows – LW/RW – Vancouver Canucks (21% owned)
I advised you guys to add Burrows when he returned to the Canucks lineup awhile ago, and I may have been too quick on the trigger. After he saw his goal-less streak hit 35 games this season, he finally found two on March 12 in Winnipeg. That day many asked is this when the flood gates open for the former 35-goal scorer? It appears it might have been the break he needed, because he now has five goals to go along with three assists in his last four games. Playing with the pass-first Henrik Sedin without Daniel, you know Burrows is going to get his shots.
Paul Byron – C – Calgary Flames (1% owned)
For those of you who are in really-deep leagues where the waiver wire options are few and far between, Byron is worth a look. Byron has a ton of speed and has been given an opportunity to play a top-6 role over the last two weeks. He is playing just over 17 minutes a night right now on a line with playmaking centre Mikael Backlund. The 24-year-old was the 179th overall pick in 2007 and was a two-time 30-plus goal scorer in juniors and has been a decent scorer at the AHL level. Since his promotion to the top-6 he has two goals and two assists in five games. He has a total of 17 points (5G / 12A) in 38 games this season.