I spent much of my introduction last week praising goalies and bemoaning offense. While I won't change my mind on that subject, I also want to show appreciation for impressive scoring efforts. The Maple Leafs' 10-7 win was fantastic, a rare glimpse of hockey days gone by when the skaters scored at will. I'm just glad that it's rare enough to appreciate it when it happens now.
Just this weekend, we've had a couple of other rare and special moments. For anyone who bothered to tune into Saturday's Coyotes versus Senators game, (and it's understandable if you didn't, given the teams) Nick Schmaltz put on a scoring show we haven't seen in 10 years. He had two goals and five assists, the first seven-point game since Sam Gagner's famous four-goal, four assist effort from Feb. 2, 2012. With the likes of Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews around, sometimes it's surprising to think neither of them have put themselves into the (recent) history books in single-game production.
Then there's Jason Robertson with back-to-back hat tricks, a feat that hadn't been accomplished since Alex Ovechkin did it in January of 2020. These types of achievements don't happen every day, as evidenced by the long gaps in between their occurrences. As much as I love a good shutout, I'll always have room in my heart for players at any position playing their best hockey. That's what makes this sport fun.
Of those two headline-makers this weekend, you can probably only find Schmaltz in fantasy. His seven-point game will get your attention, but don't let it cover up that he had 11 goals and eight assists in the 18 games prior to Saturday's franchise-best outburst. He's locked in alongside Clayton Keller and Travis Boyd on the Coyotes' top line -- head coach Andre Tourigny's shuffled a lot of the depth forwards, but that trio has stuck together for much of the last couple months. Schmaltz is under contract for four more years at $5.85 million a season, so I wouldn't anticipate him getting moved in the next two weeks. That's about the only downside to what's been an otherwise fantastic season for the forward, though he probably wouldn't see a top-line role anywhere else.
The Canadiens' Ben Chiarot has had a good run lately with two goals and five assists in his last six games. He's also gone plus-7 with nine hits and eight blocked shots. The 30-year-old defenseman is widely believed to be on the move prior to the March 21 trade deadline, and he's doing everything in his power to boost his value. I can't argue with the numbers he's posting lately -- add him in deeper formats, and keep him around if you need to boost your non-scoring stats. I wouldn't count on his newfound offense following him to a new city if he gets traded.
From no luck at all to everything falling into place -- welcome to the Jordan Staal story. From Halloween to nearly Valentine's Day, he couldn't light the lamp, suffering through a 35-game goal drought. In his last 12 games, he's picked up six goals and three assists. He's added 32 hits and 21 shots on net since he rediscovered his scoring touch. Regression is often a bad word in fantasy, but this is one of those times where it's working in our favor.
I highlighted Jake DeBrusk last week after his first career hat trick, but a couple more Bruins caught my eye on their recent road trip. Erik Haula has three goals and five assists in his last six games, while Craig Smith's compiled four goals and three helpers in that same span. Of the two, Smith is the more fantasy-familiar name -- he twice topped the 50-point mark and he's recorded five 20-goal campaigns in his career. I don't love that he's on the third line right now, but it's working with the Bruins having won seven of their last eight games. Haula is on the second line, and he's clicked with the ever-steady David Pastrnak and improving Taylor Hall. I'd add either of Smith or Haula, but I'd like to keep a close eye on them to see if they can keep it going.
It's always boom or bust with Josh Anderson, but I'm willing to take my chances on a boom as long as he's on the right wing of the Canadiens' top line. Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield are thriving under interim head coach Martin St. Louis, and Anderson's also posted a pair of three-point efforts in the last six games. With Tyler Toffoli in Calgary, the Canadiens' lines have become more consistent after a lot of shuffling early in the season. Anderson may not be a perfect fit as a first-liner, but his goal-scoring touch and heavy-hitting ways pique my interest.
Erik Gudbranson is having a career year. Yes, he's on his sixth team in the last four seasons, but that's all in the past. Darryl Sutter has gotten the best out of Gudbranson in a third-pairing role, and the defenseman's up to five goals and 13 points in 54 outings. Five of those points have come in the last 12 games, a span in which he's also gone plus-14 without dipping into the negative. Even if the Flames trade for a blueliner ahead of the deadline, it'll likely just mean a new defense partner for the 30-year-old. He hits like a truck (97 hits) and he's added 53 PIM. Sometimes you just need to rotate your depth to keep your fantasy roster fresh, and Gudbranson could be good for that.
Kyle Palmieri has had an eventful season. He started the year with seven points in 14 games, then struggled for a couple of months. He welcomed his child into the world in mid-February, and it's been good for him -- he's got six goals and an assist in his last 10 games. Dad strength is real, and Palmieri could add a little extra power to your forward group.
I like Dante Fabbro as an under-the-radar add in fantasy. The 23-year-old defenseman has been in the Predators' top four for the last three seasons, but he's mostly a defensive presence. He's gotten a little more involved lately with five assists, a plus-8 rating and 13 blocked shots in his last seven games. Fabbro sees some playing time alongside Roman Josi, and that means a little residual offense will pop up every now and then. He's on one of those surges now, but 16 points and a plus-16 rating in 45 contests overall isn't bad for a blueliner not known for his scoring touch.
Nico Daws looks like he's finally got the No. 1 job in net for the Devils. He's started five of their last six games, going 3-2-0 in that span. Sure, he's allowed 12 goals -- he's also just 21 years old, and there's no telling when Mackenzie Blackwood (heel) will be back. Daws has faced at least 30 shots in four of those games, with Sunday's 19-for-21-save performance being the outlier. The Devils' defense isn't great, so he'll see a lot of rubber, but he's gaining confidence and playing time. Count me in, especially to cover for potential absences for Mike Smith (illness), Frederik Andersen (undisclosed) and John Gibson (upper body) in the coming week.
One of the great things about sports, in general, is that there's always history to pursue. There's things that have never been done before still left to achieve. Just ask the Jets -- in their 8-4 win over the Canadiens, they became the first team in NHL history to blow a four-goal lead and still win by four. Whether it's good or bad, we can always count on it being interesting. Let's hope the next week has some more one-of-a-kind moments ahead, and hopefully we don't leave those moments on our fantasy benches as the push for the fantasy playoffs intensifies.