NHL Barometer: NHL Risers & Fallers

NHL Barometer: NHL Risers & Fallers

This article is part of our NHL Barometer series.

This week's article includes the No. 1 center in Ottawa, a diminutive rookie winger channeling his coach, two hot veteran blueliners, one D-man returns while another is lost for the season and a winger benefiting from a rise in the standings as his fantasy status falls. 

First Liners (Risers)

Josh Norris, C, OTT – Norris has been lighting the lamp almost nightly after returning from the shoulder injury that sidelined him 15 games, including all of February. If there a negative, the 22-year-old has forgotten that a pivot also should be setting up his teammates, notching only 11 assists in 46 games. That likely is just quibbling, as most fantasy owners would be more than happy with 26 tallies in 46 games, irrespective of the number of apples he has posted.

Brock Nelson, C, NYI – The Islanders are making a late push to get into playoff contention. Leading the way has been Nelson, who has set a career high in goals with 27 after notching his fourth career hat trick Saturday. In the last 17 games, Nelson has potted 12 goals while adding four assists to bump his season total to 39 points. It's highly unlikely that Nelson exceeds the 54 points he tallied in 2019-20, but given how scorching hot he has been, nothing can be ruled out. 

David Perron, RW, STL – Perron extended his goal streak to six games (nine goals, two assists) with Saturday's hat trick. Over the last month, Perron

This week's article includes the No. 1 center in Ottawa, a diminutive rookie winger channeling his coach, two hot veteran blueliners, one D-man returns while another is lost for the season and a winger benefiting from a rise in the standings as his fantasy status falls. 

First Liners (Risers)

Josh Norris, C, OTT – Norris has been lighting the lamp almost nightly after returning from the shoulder injury that sidelined him 15 games, including all of February. If there a negative, the 22-year-old has forgotten that a pivot also should be setting up his teammates, notching only 11 assists in 46 games. That likely is just quibbling, as most fantasy owners would be more than happy with 26 tallies in 46 games, irrespective of the number of apples he has posted.

Brock Nelson, C, NYI – The Islanders are making a late push to get into playoff contention. Leading the way has been Nelson, who has set a career high in goals with 27 after notching his fourth career hat trick Saturday. In the last 17 games, Nelson has potted 12 goals while adding four assists to bump his season total to 39 points. It's highly unlikely that Nelson exceeds the 54 points he tallied in 2019-20, but given how scorching hot he has been, nothing can be ruled out. 

David Perron, RW, STL – Perron extended his goal streak to six games (nine goals, two assists) with Saturday's hat trick. Over the last month, Perron has 18 points, including 12 goals, in 12 games, bumping his season marks to 18 goals and as many assists in 46 games. A look at his overall numbers shows just cold Perron was prior to his current hot streak. In the final season of the four-year, $16 million contract he signed with the Blues in July 2018, Perron looks to be set up for another long-term deal this offseason. 

Cole Caufield, RW, MON – Caufield was profiled a buy-low candidate after Martin St. Louis was hired as the Canadians' coach. That move was prescient, as the rookie winger has 22 points (12 goals, 10 assists) in his last 18 games after the switch. Caufield had eight points, including just one goal, in 30 games pre-Martin St. Louis, as the move to one Mighty Mite behind the bench has benefited the one on it. If he continues this pace, Caufield could make a late run for a Calder Trophy nomination. 

Alex Pietrangelo, D, LV –Pietrangelo notched a goal and an assist Saturday, giving him five points, including three goals, in his last five games. The marker goal was his 10th of the season, which puts him into the league's top-10 goal scorers from the blue line. He might not be scoring at the same pace as when he was in St. Louis, but he still has been solid for the Knights. Add the 25 minutes of ice time he plays nightly and 131 hits and Pietrangelo is more than filling the role as a top-pair blueliner. 

Tyson Barrie D, EDM – Last week, I profiled Evan Bouchard; this week, Barrie gets the bold treatment. Barrie has had a difficult second season in Edmonton after 48 points in 56 games last season, his first with the Oilers. He has been making up for it lately, notching a five-game point streak before being shut out Monday, which also coincides with the team's push for a playoff spot. This hot streak has been sandwiched around a three-game absence due to an upper-body injury, and over his last 14 games the veteran blueliner has piled up two goals and 13 points.

Ilya Sorokin, G, NYI – Sorokin has taken his game to another level, all but willing the Isles to the fringes of the playoff race. The team likely has too big of a gap to narrow, but Sorokin has put the squad on his back between the pipes. The 26-year-old netminder recently won four consecutive starts and has only two regulation losses in his last 11 appearances, going 7-2-2 over that stretch with a 1.71 goals-against average and .945 save percentage. Sorokin is up to 21 wins on the season, though he will continue to alternate starts in net with Semyon Varlamov, slightly decreasing his value.   

Cam Talbot, G, MIN – I wrote this blurb originally before the trade deadline acquisition of Marc-Andre Fleury and debated about removing it and making Talbot a faller. But I decided to keep him here, though would quite well understand if you decided to go in the opposite direction. Talbot was sharing the crease with Kaapo Kahkonen, who was traded to San Jose, and now will cede time to MAF. After losing four in a row, Talbot has won six straight starts, including a shutout Monday, though he still has allowed 13 goals in 146 shots during that stretch. His current hot streak has run his record to 25-12-1, but on the season he still carries a mediocre goals-against average and save percentage. Talbot still will see a decent number of starts, as Minnesota will look to keep Fleury fresh, and benefits from an improved lineup post-trade deadline in front of him.

Others include Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nazem Kadri, Clayton Keller, Mitch Marner, J.T. Miller, Mark Scheifele, Brayden Point, Nicklas Backstrom, Jack Hughes, Filip Forsberg, Mikko Rantanen, Connor Brown, Jesper Bratt, Patrik Laine, Rickard Rakell (on Evgeni Malkin's wing), Alexander Barabanov, Anthony Mantha, Kyle Palmieri, Yanni Gourde, Kailer Yamamoto, Tanner Pearson, Sean Durzi, Roman Josi, Adam Fox, Ryan Pulock, Zach Werenski, Seth Jones, Rasmus Andersson, Jacob Trouba, Tristan Jarry, Spencer Knight, Jacob Markstrom, Kaapo Kahkonen (No. 1 in net for SJ?), Vitek Vanecek, Logan Thompson and Linus Ullmark.

Buy Low

Craig Smith, LW, BOS – Production wise recently, you are far from buying low on Smith. But name recognition and cognizance of just what he has done recently likely makes him available in more leagues than expected. Smith has been on a tear, having accumulated eight goals and three assists through 10 games this month. For those in DFS, Smith curiously has just 10 points at home compared to 20 on the road this season, which is a trend to consider when you set your lineups. 

Training Room (Injuries)

Tony DeAngelo, LW, CAR – DeAngelo, out with an abdominal injury, missed his 11th straight game Friday, but returned to the Carolina lineup Sunday. Prior to getting injured, DeAngelo had racked up nine goals and 40 points while posting a plus-19 rating through 43 games in this his first season as a Hurricane. Once back in the lineup, ADA should retake his role on the top pairing opposite Jaccob Slavin and on the first power-play unit. 

Thomas Chabot, D, OTT – My chances of winning my home league took a major hit this week with the loss of Chabot, who suffered a broken hand Wednesday that will end his season. Prior to being injured, Chabot had posted six goals and 28 assists in 55 games with 10 of those points coming in his last 10 games after missing four games due to injury. Erik Brannstrom will see more minutes with Chabot sidelined and should be targeted in most leagues.

Others include Patrice Bergeron (arm, missed least three games, on IR), T.J. Oshie (lower body, inured Thursday, missed Saturday's and Sunday's game)s, Drake Batherson (ankle, out since Jan. 27, practicing, expected to be activated March 26 or 29), Brendan Gallagher (lower body, missed Saturday's game), Max Pacioretty (undisclosed, missed fifth straight game Monday), Ondrej Kase (concussion, injured Saturday), Aaron Ekblad (lower body, injured Friday, out for year) and Braden Holtby (lower body, placed on LTIR). 

Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers) 

Pius Suter, C, DET – Suter ended an 11-game point drought at a great time, notching the only goal of the game Thursday. His production this season, his first in Detroit, is close what he posted last year as a rookie in Chicago. But that must be viewed as a mild disappointment, even though his ice time, both even-strength and on the man-advantage are practically the same as the prior season. The difference is that Suter is firmly entrenched on the second line for the Winged Wheel, making his output disappointing. 

Rasmus Dahlin, D, BUF – Dahlin likely will set a career high in points, but he is suffering through a bit of a rough patch. After posting five goals and 17 helpers in 27 games, Dahlin had failed to dent the scoresheet his last six games before tallying the game-winning goal and assist Sunday. Even with just two points in this seven-game stretch, Dahlin sits just five points shy of 44 points he notched as a rookie in 2018-19 as an 18-year-old rookie. The future is extremely bright for Dahlin, who is in the first year of the three-year, $18 million deal he signed last September.

Mike Smith, G, EDM – Smith has fallen behind Mikko Koskinen in the netminding pecking order in Edmonton. His win Thursday came in his first start since March 5 against Montreal. The veteran netminder had lost four consecutive starts before the victory. On the season, Smith is 6-8-2 with 3.37 goals against (GAA) and a .896 save percentage after posting 23 wins with a 2.31 GAA and .923 save percentage last year. That performance earned Smith a two-year, $4.4 million contract last July to remain an Oiler. 

Brandon Hagel, LW, CHI – Hagel moved from an also-ran in Chicago to the two-time Stanley Cup champs in Tampa Bay, but that means little to the fantasy teams on which he was rostered. Tampa's acquisition of Hagel is like what the team did in adding Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman, filling the third line and bottom trio with cost-effective talent. But the downside of that move is to Hagel's output, as he shifts from a scoring mode on the second line and power play to checking role, which adversely impacts his possible production in the Sunshine State.

Others include Claude Giroux (check line and power play unit placement in Florida), Alex Newhook, Evgeni Malkin, Adrian Kempe, Andrew Copp (likely third-line placement in New York), Pavel Buchnevich, Dougie Hamilton, John Gibson (trade deadline talent drain in Anaheim) and Ilya Samsonov.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jan Levine
Levine covers baseball and hockey for RotoWire. He is responsible for the weekly NL FAAB column for baseball and the Barometer for hockey. In addition to his column writing, he is master of the NHL cheat sheets. In his spare time, he roots for the Mets and Rangers.
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