By Jan Levine, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
This week's article includes a lesser-known center in Tampa Bay, Bjorkstrand heating up, the 2015 Calder Trophy winner on a roll, a stud winger as a possible buy-low candidate in Calgary, Detroit's top goal-scorer sidelined and the Ghost in the press box.
First Liners (Risers)
Blake Coleman, C, New Jersey Devils
Coleman continued his recent stretch of hot play, tallying twice Saturday. The Plano, Texas native has points in five of his last six games, including four goals and two helpers. Coleman notched 22 goals last season, but his line placement this year, despite his hot streak, and lack of power-play time, might make it tough to hit that mark. But if he slots up a unit and/or sees time on the man-advantage, especially due to his recent fine play, grab him off the waiver, as New Jersey is desperate for offense.
Anthony Cirelli, C, Tampa Bay Lightning
I originally debated making Cirelli a buy-low candidate, but his overall numbers made doing so seem pointless. Granted, his totals are impacted by his recent hot streak, yet if you look at his overall production last season, he likely was worth a look in most formats. Now up to 15 points in 20 games, Cirelli has eight of those points in his five-game point streak that started with his move to the second line. While he isn't seeing power-play time, Cirelli is averaging almost three more minutes of ice time this season, which augurs well for future success.
Oliver Bjorkstrand, RW, Columbus Blue Jackets
Bjorkstrand notched a pair of points Saturday, the third straight game he has posted that total. After posting just six points his first 19 games of the season, Bjorkstrand has exceeded that output in his last four contests after scoring the only tally of the game Monday. Bjorkstrand scored 40 points two seasons ago and a career-high 23 goals last season, but his slow start made hitting both marks unlikely. Skating on the second line whole also seeing top-line power-play action, Bjorkstrand could ride his current hot streak for a while.
Calle Jarnkrok, LW, Nashville Predators
Jarnkrok, drafted 51st overall in 2010, may finally be taking a step forward in his career. He tallied 31-35 points from 2015-16 to 2017-18 but fell to 26 points last year. Jarnkrok has been hot lately, managing three goals and a pair of helpers in his last six games. For the year, the Swedish winger has 16 points, 55 shots and a plus-4 rating in 23 games; those 55 shots are the key, as he had just 106 all of last season. His shooting percentage is likely to fall but the additional shots on net give him a chance to remain productive.
Tyson Barrie, D, Toronto Maple Leafs
Barrie started to show some small signs of life before Mike Babcock was fired as Toronto's coach, notching assists in Babcock's last two games behind the Maple Leafs' bench. But he really has taken off once Sheldon Keefe took the helm, as one of Keefe's first actions was to move Barrie up to the top duo to pair with Morgan Rielly at even strength while also using him on the No. 1 power-play unit. Barrie lit the lamp Thursday and Saturday, adding an assist as well, and if you used a high pick on the blueliner, you are finally breathing a sigh of relief.
Aaron Ekblad, D, Florida Panthers
Ekblad lit the lamp twice, including scoring the game-winner, while adding an assist Saturday as well as one Sunday. The four points moved the former top overall pick's total production up to five markers and 10 apples in 23 games. Ekblad has left his managers, and at times, Florida, wanting for more, due to his skill set. He might finally be putting it all together in this his sixth season in the league. Ekblad is still only 23, and as defensemen growth is not linear, his growth this season maybe shouldn't be so much of a surprise.
Antti Raanta, G, Arizona Coyotes
Raanta has won three of his last four starts and may have played his way into a timeshare with Darcy Kuemper between the pipes for the Coyotes. After saving 43 of 45 shots for a 3-2 victory Saturday, Raanta is now 5-2-2 with a 2.62 goals-against average (GAA) and an impressive .926 save percentage. Kuemper may still be the No. 1 netminder for Arizona, but coach Rick Tocchet has alternated starts between the two goalies the last two weeks; a pattern likely to continue.
Anton Khudobin, G, Dallas Stars
Khudobin is the No. 2 to Ben Bishop between the pipes for the Stars. But he has been a DFS darling this year and is worth a look as a third goalie in seasonal leagues. As RotoWire noted in our Saturday update following his 2-1, shootout win, "(Khudobin) has won three appearances in a row, and he's allowed just 16 goals in his last nine outings overall. For the year, the 33-year-old has a 6-3-1 record with a 2.15 GAA and a .929 save percentage in 10 appearances." Pretty impressive for any goalie, let alone a backup.
Others include Patrice Bergeron, Brock Nelson, Anze Kopitar, Morgan Frost, Jared McCann, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Logan Couture, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Elias Pettersson, Ryan O'Reilly, Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, Markus Granlund, Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky, Claude Giroux, Nick Suzuki, Jaden Schwartz, Brett Connolly, Bryan Rust, Nikita Kucherov, Filip Zadina (called up Sunday), Artemi Panarin, Zack Kassian, Andrei Svechnikov, Anthony Duclair, Taylor Hall, Travis Konecny, Alex Pietrangelo, Dougie Hamilton, Quinn Hughes, Cale Makar, Victor Hedman, Adam Fox, Thomas Greiss, Semyon Varlamov, Marc-Andre Fleury, Anders Nilsson, Tuukka Rask and Braden Holtby.
Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Calgary Flames
Gaudreau went from 61 to 84 to 99 points last season, but he stumbled in the playoffs. He has carried forward his scoring issues into the regular season, as he has just five goals and 15 assists with a minus-11 rating in 27 contests this season. Gaudreau has been front and center in receiving criticism for the Flames' rough play with some advocating dealing him out of town. His time on ice, including on the power play is in line with last year; add this to his 6.8% shooting percentage, compared to a career rate of 12.5 percent, and he may be the epitome of a buy-low candidate.
Training Room (Injuries)
Anthony Mantha, LW, Detroit Red Wings
Mantha left Saturday's game with a lower-body injury and "will be out for a little bit of time," coach Jeff Blashill said. The No. 20 pick in 2013, Mantha notched 48 points each of the last two seasons, tallying 24 and 25 goals, respectively. Mantha leads Detroit in goals (12) and points (23) this season, so his absence takes away a big chunk of the team's offense.
Others include Mika Zibanejad (neck, missed last 13 games, might play Wednesday against Carolina), Steven Stamkos (lower body injury fractures, missed Saturday's game), Nicklas Backstrom (upper body injury, missed last two games), Vladislav Namestnikov (tailbone, out at least a week), Mikko Rantanen (lower body injury, out since Oct. 21, could play this weekend), Viktor Arvidsson (lower body injury, hurt Saturday night on a brutal, illegal check by Robert Bortuzzo, out 4-6 weeks), Tomas Hertl (undisclosed, missed San Jose's last three games), Kris Letang (lower body injury, out since early November, activated off IR and played Monday), Rasmus Dahlin (concussion, injured Monday), John Klingberg (lower body injury, missed six games, return to action with an assist Saturday), Torey Krug (upper body injury, activated Saturday, tallied a goal and two assists in return), T.J. Brodie (collapsed at practice on Nov. 14, played Monday), Josh Morrissey (lower body injury, left Saturday's game) and Devan Dubnyk (family reasons, out since Nov. 19, no timetable for return).
Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)
Casey Mittelstadt, C, Buffalo Sabres
Mittelstadt, the eighth pick in the 2017 draft, is in the midst of a 14-game point drought. After starting the season with seven points in 10 games, the third-year player has hit the skids. Viewed as a playmaker when he was drafted, Mittelstadt has failed to live up to the hype and his high selection. After the first six picks of the 2017 draft, many of the next 10 selections or so have all struggled to adapt, adjust and produce in the NHL, though Martin Necas and Nick Suzuki are starting to settle in.
Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Philadelphia Flyers
As a Ghost manager in the RotoWire Staff Keeper League, it pains me to include him on this side of the ledger. But his play this season, and in fact three of his last four seasons, after an excellent rookie campaign and fine third year, has left a lot to be desired. Gostisbehere was scoreless while posting a minus-1 rating in his prior six games before coach Alain Vigneault made the defenseman a healthy scratch Saturday and Monday.
Carey Price, G, Montreal Canadiens
Price has hit a bit of a rough patch lately, capped by him blowing 4-0 and 5-3 leads in a 6-5 loss to the Rangers on Saturday. He is 0-2-1 in his last three outings, allowing 13 goals in just 84 shots in those three games. Those struggles have upped his GAA to 2.89 while lowering his save percentage to .907 in 19 games. All you can do is ride this out and hope the former Hart and Vezina Trophy Winner rights his game quickly.
Others include Kyle Turris, James van Riemsdyk, Michael Frolik, Devon Toews, David Rittich, Carter Hart and Henrik Lundqvist.
Anders Lee, LW, New York Islanders
The Islanders have notched points in 17 consecutive games despite little assistance from their captain. Signed to seven-year, $49 million contract with the Islanders in July 2019, Lee has failed to light the lamp in 10 consecutive games and has just five markers and as many assists in 22 games. Lee notched 34 and 40 goals skating with John Tavares in 2016-17-and 2017-18 but fell to 28 tallies last season and has just the aforementioned five this year. While he’s in the sell-high category here, he could also be a buy-low candidate, depending on your view of him.