As part of Friday's Forecaster, I highlighted some players who were arguably dead weight on fantasy rosters, there because they were still riding the coattails of their earlier contributions this season. While helpful to those who perhaps hadn't noticed, I thought it would be worth taking this a step further.
Instead of players who clearly haven't done anything for a while, I thought I'd try to pick a few players who have been contributing, but who may not be soon. I can't predict the future, but the situations for these NHLers are changing, and they could have the fantasy rug pulled out from under their skates soon.
Settling in on a line with him in recent weeks, no one is going to miss Jack Eichel's presence more. Reinhart has 16 points in his past 17 games, but virtually all of that production has come with Eichel at his side. Reinhart found his way onto rosters in 24 percent of ESPN leagues thanks to his improved play. With Eichel now gone for up to six weeks, Reinhart can safely be cut loose in re-draft formats.
While we are on the subject, Reinhart will be a prime candidate for a major step forward into fantasy stardom next season. Assuming the Sabres stay the course on their youth development, Reinhart should have a lineup spot next to Eichel waiting for him to start next season, rather than having to wait until January.
Petry has really come on in 2018 as the Habs' de facto power-play quarterback. He has potted seven of his 12 points (in 16 games) since Jan. 1 on the man advantage. However, with Shea Weber back on the ice and possibly a week away from a return to action, there is a hard deadline on Petry's contributions. When you have Weber, you use Weber for his intended purpose as an offensive weapon on the power play. Petry has climbed onto rosters in 44.6 percent of ESPN leagues. So long as Weber is in top shape, Petry won't have any fantasy value after his return.
Gardiner has been on fire of late, posting 13 assists in his past 11 games. However, nine of those points came in the six games in which fellow blueliner Morgan Rielly was sidelined. Gardiner and Rielly split offensive responsibilities and power-play time when they are both healthy, which should be the case going forward.
After a rough start to his tenure as the Panthers goaltender with James Reimer and Roberto Luongo on the shelf, Sateri settled in and peeled off four consecutive wins. However, he allowed three goals and lost Friday's contest with Reimer backing him up. Now, Luongo appears edging ever closer to a return to action. It's been fun, but Sateri should be back dominating the AHL in the next week or so.
Jonathan Quick's power play save percentage was due for a correction after hovering at .920 all the way through the end of December. It has come down to a more reasonable and sustainable .894 since then and should now stabilize. Meanwhile, Kuemper is rocking a .941 even-strength save percentage that is equally in need of a correction. Quick should be able to quickly reclaim his regular role in the crease now that he's over his nagging injury.
After missing 16 games with an upper-body injury, Scheifele was back in action for the weekend games. He was on the top line with Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine and potted an assist in two games. He topped 22 minutes of ice time in both contests, indicating that he'll resume his star role going forward.
MacKinnon has been starting to do rehab drills and is already approaching the short end of his two-to-four-week timetable for an upper-body injury. Fantasy teams looking to make a big move ahead of the trade deadline should target him as a possibly discounted commodity due to his continued absence.
Mea cupla. I thought Pavelski would struggle without Joe Thornton in the Sharks lineup, but he's been on fire in recent contests with six points and a shootout goal in his past three games. This move is putting him back where he was a couple of weeks ago when Thornton was originally hurt. More success from Pavelski will incline me to move him even higher.
Mitch Marner, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs (up 26 spots to No. 110)
The line of Marner, Patrick Marleau and Nazem Kadri has been together for eight games now. In those eight contests, Marner has 10 points, with an exclamation point on the success in the form of a five-point outing on Saturday. Kadri also has collected 10 points in those eight games they've been together. This is a very nice complementary trio to the Auston Matthews line for the Leafs and could close the season on a very high note.
Very quietly, Krug has climbed back onto a new career-high pace for points. As Charlie McAvoy's production has faded, Krug's has continued to accelerate. With two goals on Sunday, Krug now has four goals and nine assists in his past 12 games. He's played more than double the power-play time of McAvoy in that span of games while topping all Bruins for ice time on the man advantage.
Over the past 30 days, Dumba is sixth among all defensemen on the ESPN Player Rater. He's posted a positive contribution in all offensive categories on the Player Rater except for shots on goal. Only three other NHL defensemen have more assists over the past month. His ice time has settled and stayed well over 20 minutes per game. It appears, folks, that Dumba has arrived. The 23-year-old should be a lock on rosters for the remainder of this season and a top target for a big step forward next season.
Traveling with the team to Arizona, Crawford is showing hints of a return to action sooner rather than later. And it can't come soon enough for the Hawks. Among goaltenders with at least 25 games of action this season, Crawford's save percentage is second only to Carter Hutton, while his goals-against average only trails Hutton and Tuukka Rask. In what is looking like a lost season for Chicago, there is no reason for them to bring Crawford back unless he's 100 percent. He is available in almost 20 percent of ESPN leagues, and fantasy managers need to get ready to put him back in their starting lineups.