Special to Yahoo Sports
It's always nice for a couple of players to magically return at the last minute, especially when they're significant upgrades. The roster was starting to look mediocre and then suddenly, boom, you're ready to compete with anyone. Or just about anyone.
We're around the time when you can figure out whether your team is ready to compete or looking to next season. If you're carrying many injuries and many are long-term, then maybe it's time to seek out future considerations. But if the casualties are minimal and your early woes are mainly due to bad luck, keep fighting for the money. Maybe an acquisition or two from a struggling side can push you back to winning ways.
If you want to get the best out of your fantasy hockey lineups, go to RotoWire for updated news and in-depth material.
And if trades aren't available or compatible, perhaps one of these pickups will help.
(Rostered rates/stats as of Nov. 18.)
Nazem Kadri, COL (Yahoo: 53%)
While poolies flocked to Logan O'Connor (18 percent) based on his even-strength spot alongside Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog, it's good to see people didn't forget about Kadri. Although the former Leaf lines up as the Avs' second center at five-on-five, he's part of their top power play where he's produced six points. Kadri has racked up four goals, nine assists, 21 shots, 17 PIM, and 60 faceoff wins in the last seven games. Go check if Kadri is still available.
Ryan Hartman, MIN (Yahoo: 46%)
We may be a little late to the Hartman party, though he deserves added attention due to continued consistency. The 11 points in 15 games from someone who's never exceeded 31 in any season may scream regression, yet the numbers present hope. Hartman's riding a career-high 14.0 shooting percentage but has also fired a whopping 50 shots on net. And the nearly-17 minutes a night — which includes roles on both special-teams units — further his cause for longer-term success.
Trevor Zegras, ANH (Yahoo: 38%)
I've mentioned an Anaheim forward in each of the previous four weeks, and I'm shocked none were Zegras. Well, not really. The two goals and three assists across the first 13 appearances proved underwhelming while the four tallies and helper from the most recent two reminded us of his immense talent and upside. The Ducks are flying high with their forwards projected to continue receiving enough offensive responsibilities. Zegras is obviously taken in dynasty formats, but check the wire in your leagues to see if he slipped through the cracks.
Jesper Bratt, NJ (Yahoo: 11%)
The Devils have recently provided a steady source of promising youth up front. This season's no different with the leadership of 22-year-old Nico Hischier and the emergence of rookie Dawson Mercer (13 percent). And then there's Bratt, who just keeps scoring. Remember the 30 points in 46 games last year? Probably not. He's currently at 11 in 14, with six over the last four. That kind of output is hard to miss, but apparently, almost 90 percent of fantasy participants haven't noticed.
Nicolas Roy, VGK (Yahoo: 8%)
Even with the return of Mark Stone and others, Vegas is still without many key contributors. Center is an especially troubling position with Nolan Patrick's status unknown, William Karlsson slated to return mid-December and Jack Eichel coming to save the franchise in February or March. That leaves last season's fantasy overachiever Chandler Stephenson (60 percent) and Roy as the Golden Knights' first two down the middle. Since gaining minutes in late October, Roy has posted six points, 17 shots, a plus-7 and 71 faceoff wins. No scoring the last four outings, though the ice time and linemates remain decent.
Lawson Crouse, ARI (Yahoo: 7%)
Arizona has been abysmal at both ends, yet there's a hidden gem or two to be found among the rubble. Crouse may have waited five years for a legitimate chance, but his patience is finally paying off. The 2015 first-rounder averages more than 18 minutes, which has resulted in four goals, four assists, two PPPs, 38 shots, 22 PIM and 35 hits. There's not a lot of appeal grabbing someone from the Coyotes, though Crouse is worth the risk as a solid multi-category producer.
Alex Kerfoot, TOR (Yahoo: 7%)
After notching decent totals his first two pro years in Colorado, Kerfoot was acquired by Toronto and expected to do the same. That hasn't exactly panned out, though it's not like he's been a bust. Kerfoot has primarily skated on the wing this season but is also a natural center. It's probably better fantasy-wise he's not a pivot since he'd be stuck behind Auston Matthews and John Tavares on the depth chart. Kerfoot's getting top-six action and has responded with a goal and eight assists since Oct. 30. That's pretty darn good for essentially a bottom-roster filler.
Jeff Skinner, BUF (Yahoo: 5%)
Once upon a time, Skinner was one of the NHL's top second-tier wingers. Injuries played their part to decrease his value, and so did being in Buffalo the last two years. The Sabres have solidified their game since Don Granato has been in charge and many have benefited. Skinner now operates as a lead on the left side and a respected veteran among a slew of youngsters. He's been active all campaign with nine points, 50 shots and a place on the first power play where he's recorded two PPAs.
Scott Perunovich, STL (Yahoo: 20%)
It didn't take long for the 2020 Hobey Baker winner to adjust to pro hockey as he accumulated 20 points in only 12 AHL contests. Perunovich was promoted over the weekend and made his NHL debut Tuesday. Even though no points were recorded, he skated 18:26 with 2:59 of that on the Blues' second power play. Perunovich won't quarterback the lead man-advantage as long as Torey Krug — who came back Tuesday after a week-long absence — is available. But if he continues to look comfortable, there should be a place for Perunovich to contribute.
Oliver Kylington, CGY (Yahoo: 20%)
With a mid-16 ice time and marginal special-teams activity, you'd assume there's no way Kylington could keep his hot run going. He looked great in the minors with 91 points across 190 appearances, but 11 in the last 11 — or anything close to that pace — doesn't seem sustainable. Fortunately, Kylington also provides 27 shots accompanied by roughly one hit and block per game. Ride the wave for now; just don't expect the top-flight numbers to last.
Mario Ferraro, SJ (Yahoo: 16%)
Speaking of streaks that can't possibly progress past a particular point, Ferraro — he of the 28 career NHL points before this season — has gone off for two goals and four assists in his most recent seven games. The advantage over Kylington is the fact Ferraro logs more than 25 minutes while dishing out 34 hits and blocking 46 shots. He's also seen a bit of man-advantage time but is mainly known for his penalty-killing duty. Another bonus for Ferraro is getting to have Brent Burns as his blueline partner.
Hampus Lindholm, ANH (Yahoo: 3%)
It appears Jamie Drysdale has lost his lead PP role to Lindholm in the last two outings, though they continue to team up at even strength. There's a significant ice time differential between the two, but you figure Drysdale will eventually reclaim his place atop the Anaheim power-play food chain. For now, Lindholm makes for a worthy addition with points in his last three to go with seven shots, three hits and five blocks.
Jake Oettinger, DAL (Yahoo: 18%)
When the Stars added Braden Holtby in summer, it seemed like a dig at Oettinger following a fairly successful 2.36/.911 effort. That left the 2017 26th selection down in the AHL for 10 starts before being summoned Saturday with Holtby scheduled to miss at least a couple games. Oettinger stepped in Tuesday versus Detroit and stopped 28 of 30 shots to earn the W. Anton Khudobin is 35 and has looked mediocre having posted a 3.04 GAA and .897 save percentage. If Oettinger is really Dallas' netminder of the future, might as well give him an extended run in front of fans to see if that's possible.
Cayden Primeau, MON (Yahoo: 2%)
Jake Allen suffered a concussion Saturday and won't be back until at least the weekend. Samuel Montembeault started Sunday and fared OK. Carey Price has resumed skating, but there's no set date for his on-ice return. Like Oettinger, Primeau was called up after a goalie went down and immediately took advantage in his first outing Tuesday with several outstanding saves against the Rangers. Allen could get the call Saturday if he recovers by then, but Primeau has earned at least one more start. And even if he gets sent down again, there's value in stashing him.
(Players to consider from past columns: Joel Eriksson Ek, Jared McCann, Jonathan Toews, Andrew Mangiapane, Phillip Danault, Robert Thomas, Lucas Raymond, Nico Hischier, Reilly Smith, Tage Thompson, Andrew Copp, Boone Jenner, Sean Monahan, Troy Terry, Jordan Eberle, Matt Duchene, Mikael Granlund, Anthony Cirelli, Cole Sillinger, Sonny Milano, Rasmus Andersson, Moritz Seider, Shayne Gostisbehere, Nate Schmidt, Evan Bouchard, Filip Hronek, John Gibson, Alex Nedeljkovic, Jonathan Quick, James Reimer, Adin Hill, Mikko Koskinen)