Tim Stutzle is carrying fantasy teams on his back right now.
Three of the Ottawa Senators forward’s past five games have been multi-point outings, and in two of those contests he recorded four points. Those are Connor McDavid-like numbers. Stutzle isn’t just an offensive threat, though. He’s great for overall category coverage and he suddenly looks completely dominant on the ice.
He took over a game earlier in the week against the Calgary Flames in one of the aforementioned four-point affairs, before scoring the overtime winner off a powerful rush. Stutzle is passing the eye test this season as well. He looks bigger and stronger, able to dictate play more than he ever has in the past.
Stutzle isn’t simply in the midst of a breakout season. He’s becoming a superstar.
1. It’s been a tale of two seasons for Moritz Seider. After an awful start to the year where he recorded just 12 points in his first 35 games, Seider now has 18 points in his past 20 contests. I know many were on the fence about dropping him early in the year, but players with Seider’s skillset always come around eventually.
The biggest change for Seider came when he was moved away from Ben Chiarot and used in more of an offensive role alongside Jake Walman. When Walman was recently injured, though, Seider slid back to a pair with Chiarot. Thankfully, Walman is back now and as long as he stays healthy, expect Seider to continue to produce at a great pace and to be used more offensively. He’ll definitely be worth keeping for next season.
2. The rest of the Detroit Red Wings are also coming alive. Namely Dylan Larkin (13 points in seven games), Tyler Bertuzzi (six points in seven games) and Robby Fabbri (six power play points in his past five games). Bertuzzi and Fabbri are widely available and would be great candidates for streamers.
3. The Arizona Coyotes have been one of the more interesting teams as it relates to fantasy lately. In addition to a potent top line, Juuso Valimaki has suddenly found himself quarterbacking the first power play unit with Jakob Chychrun being held out of the lineup and Shayne Gostisbehere injured. Valimaki had six points in a three-game stretch before going quiet for two. With news that Gostisbehere could return soon, Valimaki’s boost in value may have been short and sweet.
4. Between the pipes, Connor Ingram has quietly been virtually unbeatable lately. He posted a whopping 47-save shutout against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday and then followed that up by stopping all 23 shots he faced in relief of Karel Vejmelka on Saturday. Over his past six starts he’s faced at least 40 shots in five of those games and the other one it was 39. Ingram has still managed a .934 save percentage during this run despite being under siege constantly. He’ll likely see a big increase in starts if Vejmelka gets traded.
5. It’s time to give Tyler Toffoli some love for his play this season. Toffoli was tabbed by many in the preseason to be the benefactor of playing with Elias Lindholm and Jonathan Huberdeau, but instead it’s been Toffoli who’s driving play. The Calgary Flames forward is up to 28 points in his past 28 games and is producing at a pace many likely felt Huberdeau would have been clicking at. Who knows where the Flames would be without Toffoli’s offense.
6. Dillon Dube has four goals and seven points in his past four games. Dube runs very hot and cold, so with the Flames playing four times next week, now is as good a time as any to try and take advantage of this run.
7. Credit where credit is due to Rickard Rakell for improving his finishing this year. Rakell is on pace for 31 goals this season after failing to get close to the mark since the 2017-18 campaign.
The Pittsburgh Penguins forward’s shooting percentages were way down since the last time he hit 30 five seasons ago, to the point where you wondered if it was ever going to balance out and maybe Rakell just lost his ability to find the back of the net. In 2022-23, though, Rakell is firing at 12.4 per cent, the third best rate of his career. Playing with Sidney Crosby definitely doesn’t hurt either.
8. As trade deadlines approach in the majority of leagues, one name you might want to try and sell high on is Anton Lundell. He’s not heavily rostered so you likely won’t get a big return, but Lundell recently came off a three-point game, so someone may be willing to take a chance on him.
My issue with Lundell is I’m concerned he’ll be the odd man out in the top six when Anthony Duclair returns and the Florida Panthers only play twice next week and then just twice during a playoff week in the middle of March. It might be wise to try and get an asset for him while you can.
9. After a very quiet stretch, Erik Gustafsson is starting to find the scoresheet again. Gustafsson has six points in his past six games, punctuated by a three-point performance Thursday. It was tempting for many to move on from Gustafsson, but with a John Carlson return nowhere in sight, the blue liner is still in a prime spot on the Washington Capitals top power play unit. Take advantage of it as long as you can.
10. Another tough break for Pavel Francouz. The Colorado Avalanche netminder is injured again and this time it appears he’ll miss at least three weeks. If all goes well, Francouz could be ready just in time for the fantasy playoffs, where we all know the Avs have a great schedule. There’s games against Ottawa and Montreal in the first week of the playoffs and then Chicago and Arizona twice in the second week. Stash Francouz on IR if you have the space.
11. There are growing concerns from many about Valeri Nichushkin. He’s managed just two points in his past eight games, finally scoring Saturday after a lengthy goalless stretch. The aforementioned Colorado fantasy playoff schedule is probably reason enough to give him a few games to see if he can turn things around, but it’s getting harder to be patient with Nichushkin.
12. So much has gone right for the Boston Bruins this season that it almost doesn’t register when a few of their players are struggling. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand recently went six and five games respectively without a point, before getting back on track Thursday. Hopefully you were fortunate enough to face one of them during their struggles, as cold stretches for players that talented rarely lost long.
13. I’m curious to see what the Bruins do with Pavel Zacha now that Jake DeBrusk has returned. Zacha was very effective in the top six with DeBrusk sidelined, scoring 13 points in his past 13 games now. The Bruins kept Zacha in the top six Saturday in DeBrusk’s first game back and moved Taylor Hall down, so if you’re counting on Zacha, it’s crucial that continues. Zacha will have a hard time keeping up that pace if he’s dropped back down the lineup.
14. It sure looks like it’s Philipp Grubauer’s net now in Seattle. Grubauer has started four in a row, owning a .926 save percentage since the new year and recording eight quality starts out of his past nine appearances. This might be the best stretch he’s played in about a year and a half, so hopefully he can at least carry it through until the end of the fantasy playoffs.
15. The Toronto Maple Leafs swung a big trade late Friday, with the centrepiece being Ryan O’Reilly. I love the trade for Leafs, as they add a great two-way player that’s going to help them in the playoffs, but I’m not sure how much fantasy value O’Reilly will have in Toronto.
My guess is they’ll utilize him as a third-line centre eventually, even though he started off in the middle of Mitch Marner and John Tavares. If the Leafs play him anywhere in the top six consistently, though, try to grab him if he’s available. Just steer clear if he’s centering the third line, as points will be tough to come by there.
16. If you’re looking to take a chance on someone in a very deep league, William Carrier has seven points and 20 shots in his past seven games. He’s up to 15 goals on the season now.
17. Brock Nelson just saw a 12-game point streak come to an end and he’s on pace for nearly 80 points this season. That’s great value for someone that hasn’t even hit 60 before. Add in the power play production, shots and faceoff wins, and I think Nelson is going to earn keeper consideration in a lot of leagues for next season.
18. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with Evander Kane, but he hasn’t recorded a hit in five straight games. Maybe he’s dealing with a bit of an injury that is limiting his physical play. Add in the fact that Zach Hyman has completely cemented a spot on the top power play unit, and Kane’s value is really plummeting.
19. It’s getting close to panic time if you’re carrying Marc-Andre Fleury. Filip Gustavsson is wrestling the net away from the veteran goaltender, as Gustavsson has a .939 save percentage since Jan. 1. He’s set to start for the fourth time in the past five games on Sunday and expect that trend to continue if he keeps playing this well. The Minnesota Wild are struggling to score and they need to start the goalie that’s going to give them the best chance to win a low-scoring game. Right now, that’s Gustavsson.
20. He’s still not getting big minutes, but Jesperi Kotkaniemi is starting to produce offence. The Carolina Hurricanes forward is up to eight points in his past eight games and is widely available in most leagues. With a couple of friendly opponents next week in Anaheim and Ottawa, it might be a good time to take a chance on Kotkaniemi now to see where this goes.