Lee Stempniak's Fantasy Hockey Stock Sizzling in the Desert
Lee Stempniak , LW/RW, Phoenix Coyotes—Stempniak has been absolutely dynamite since his arrival in the desert. He’s scored at a goal-per-game clip since the trade. It isn’t fair to expect Stempniak to keep up this otherworldly production, but he is still available on many waiver wires and could be a short-term fix to your scoring woes.
Blake Wheeler , RW, Boston Bruins—Wheeler has put up four points in his last four games. He tailed off dramatically over the second half of last season, and his dismal production this year was a big problem for the anemic Bruins offense. He’s showing signs of coming around though, so a strong finish could be in the cards for the former fifth-overall pick.
Sergei Kostitsyn , LW, Montreal Canadiens—As I mentioned last time, mini-Kostitsyn was a standout for Belarus at the Olympics, and his strong play has followed him back to the NHL. Kostitsyn has five points, four of them goals, in his last three games. With brother Andrei Kostitsyn back from injury and Mike Cammalleri on the mend, Kostitsyn is going to have to keep producing or risk losing ice time. This is a nice problem for the Habs to have as they round into playoff form.
Phil Kessel , RW, Toronto Maple Leafs—Kessel sure seems to have found some nice chemistry with Tyler Bozak , and this definitely bodes well for the Leafs’ future. With six points in his last four games, and an impressive performance in a shootout win over the Devils, Kessel’s long midseason slump is a distant memory at this point. His overall season totals are still somewhat underwhelming though, so you might be able to get him cheap.
Jason Spezza , C, Ottawa Senators—Poor Cory Clouston. There is no middle ground with this Sens team. It seems like they’re either firing on all cylinders and riding impressive hot streaks—or completely tanking. Spezza and the Sens are ice cold right now, but that means a hot streak could be right around the corner heading into the playoffs. Spezza likely wouldn’t fetch you much in a deal right now anyways, so give him a game or two to get it going again.
Semyon Varlamov , G, Washington Capitals—Varlamov hasn’t impressed since his return from injury. His performance in an overtime loss to Carolina certainly underwhelmed. Jose Theodore was solid, if unspectacular in Varlamov’s absence, so there could be a bit of a goaltending controversy brewing in Washington as the Caps try to identify their playoff starter. My money is still on Varlamov winning the job, but Theo may get more starts than I would have expected down the stretch.
John Tavares , LW, New York Islanders—Tavares’ five-point performance will probably have people scrambling to snatch him up, especially in keeper leagues. Tavares could be nice trade bait to get you some solid help for the last eighth of the season. Frankly, I’m still not sold on Tavares being a huge breakout candidate for next year because the Islanders still have a long way to go as a team.
Marian Gaborik , RW, New York Rangers—Gaborik has come back down to earth after a huge start to the season. The Rangers will essentially be playing playoff hockey down the stretch, and Gaborik isn’t exactly the safest bet to get it going when it matters (see the 2007-2008 playoffs). See if you can bring in a quick fix or some solid keepers.
Iain Arseneau is a fantasy hockey contributor at DraftBuddy.com . Check weekly articles by Iain and John Canario to help manage your team to the championship.
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