First Liners (Risers)
Bobby Ryan, C, ANA - Ryan is certainly living up to his billing as one of the top young forwards in the game this season as he has 31 goals and 58 points so far including points in six of his last seven games. The only negatives to Ryan's game are his plus-minus, as he sits at only a +5, and of his 31 goals, only four have come on the power play.
Anze Kopitar, C, LAK - It's hard to say Kopitar has been a disappointment this season with 66 points through 67 games, but his owners were certainly hoping for more than just 21 goals. Hopefully Kopitar will start to shoot the puck a bit more as the season concludes but he still has points in 12 of his last 14 games, so you can't complain to much if you own his services.
Jarome Iginla, RW, CGY - Iginla rewarded those owners who stuck with him after a slow start to the season. He has already scored 30 goals, marking the 10th straight season he has scored 30 or more. He could very well post his best goal scoring numbers since the 2007-08 season, when he wrinkled the twine 50 times. It's kind of amazing when you think about it as Calgary doesn't have another dangerous offensive player to take any of the pressure off of Iginla.
Jamie Benn, LW, DAL - Benn is far from a household name but he is someone that the Stars know well and have come to rely on. When Benn went down with a shoulder injury the Stars struggled and almost fell out of the playoff picture, but since his return the team has picked its play back up and Benn has been a big contributor with goals in five straight games. If you're looking for an under the radar player to pick up for your stretch drive and Benn is available, look no further.
Chris Stewart, RW, STL - Do you think Colorado is starting to regret the trade that sent Stewart to St. Louis in the Erik Johnson trade? Since being acquired by the Blues Stewart has nine goals and 12 points in 12 games. That is the kind of production the Avalanche thought they would be getting from Stewart but a hand injury that sidelined him earlier this season seemed to sour the Avalanche on Stewart. Their loss is the Blues' gain.
Lubomir Visnovsky, D, ANA - Someone had better tell Visnovsky that defensemen aren't supposed to score five goals in three games, including a hat trick and an overtime winner. Quietly Visnovsky has 14 goals and 54 points on the season, along with being a +9. He should be considered for the Norris Trophy. This is all the more incredible when you consider that Anaheim wasn't supposed to have all that good of a defense entering the season.
Andrej Sekera, W, BUF – Ten points in seven games for a d-man will certainly get you on this list. Sekera is the definition of a player that you ride while he is hot as it's difficult to see him maintaining this pace, but stranger things have happened and with the Sabres locked into a battle for the final two playoff spots, coach Lindy Ruff is going to ride the hot player, and right now that player is Sekera.
Mikka Kiprusoff, G, CGY - Over his last 21 games Kiprusoff is 15-3-3 with three shutouts and close to a .93 SV%; that's not hot, that's sizzling. He is winning weeks for his fantasy owners all by himself not to mention putting the Flames back into playoff contention. The Flames seem at times to be a two-man team, with Iginla putting the puck in the net, and Kiprusoff keeping them out.
Carey Price, G, MON - When the scouts traded playoff here Jaroslav Halak during the offseason and kept Price, most NHL people thought the Canadiens made a mistake. Price has proven those critics wrong as he is having a Vezina Trophy type season with 32 wins, 2.33 GAA, and 92.3 SV %. If Price can continue with this type of play, Montreal will be no fun to play in the playoffs, not even for the top teams in the conference.
Others include Jonathan Toews, Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Erik Christensen, R.J. Umberger, Ryan Callahan, Marian Hossa, Alexander Ovechkin, Matt Calvert, Phil Kessel, Loui Eriksson, Ilya Kovalchuk, Andrew Ladd, Blake Comeau, Alexander Semin,Martin St. Louis, James Wisniewski, Brent Burns, Andrew MacDonald, Shea Weber, Dan Hamhuis, Nicklas Lidstrom, Jamie McBain, Dan Ellis, Brian Holtby, Antti Niemi, and Al Montoya.
Training Room (Injuries)
Nicklas Backstrom, C, WAS - Backstrom missed his second straight game Friday due to an injured thumb. The thumb is fractured and Backstrom re-injured it during the game Monday. Though the injury is not expected to keep him out long, maybe just another game or two, fantasy owners have to be worried that he won't be able to shoot with any kind of authority or be at full strength on faceoffs for the remainder of the season.
Sam Gagner, C, EDM - Gagner had one of those freaky injuries that occur each season when a teammate’s skate cut his hand while he was on the bench, with his glove off, reaching for some water. At first the injury was thought to be minor, but word came late Thursday that Gagner will miss the rest of the season and not be able to do anything with the hand for the next 12 weeks. The good news is that he should be 100% recovered by next season.
Alexander Steen, C, STL - Steen will miss the next 4-6 weeks and possibly the remainder of the season with a broken ankle. Unfortunate timing as Steen had been playing well of late and was looking to improve on his breakout 2009-10 season.
Max Pacioretty, LW, MON - Unless you have been living in a cave this past week you know that Pacioretty suffered a concussion and a fractured vertebrae after being checking into the boards by the Bruins’ Zdeno Chara earlier this week. Pacioretty has since been released from the hospital, but his season could be over.
Dan Boyle, D, SAN - Boyle has now missed the past six games with the ever mysterious "upper body" injury. Most teams protect their injuries like they are CIA secrets, not wanting to let their opponents know where to focus their attack. Boyle is skating and shooting, and hasn't been placed on the IR, so this doesn't seem to be a serious injury and he should be back sooner rather than later.
Brian Rafalski, D, DET - Rafalski has also missed about two weeks worth of action as he is dealing with a back injury. Detroit is going to play it very safe with Rafalski as he had back surgery in the offseason and they don't want to chance losing him for the playoffs. For his part, Rafalski came out Friday and stated that it's his goal to return to the lineup on Wednesday. All fine and good, but that also means he won't play Saturday for Detroit.
Jonas Hiller, D, ANA - Hiller has been dealing with a head injury for almost a month now. The team has yet to announce a definitive diagnosis. Is it a concussion? Is it vertigo? Either way it doesn't look like Hiller will be returning to the lineup anytime soon.
Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)
Patrice Bergeron, C, BOS - It's hard to be to upset with Bergeron's poor play of late. In January and February he was playing like a man possessed scoring goals at a pace no one expected him to. He has come back down to Earth now as he doesn't have a point of any kind in his past six games.
Milan Hejduk, RW, COL - We chose Hejduk, but you could almost place any Avalanche player in this spot as the team as a whole has fallen off a cliff during the second half of the season. Hejduk however only has two goals and two assists since Feb. 5, ouch.
Todd Bertuzzi, RW, DET - That's now 11 games and counting since Bertuzzi has lit the lamp and adding only one assist during that period is doing next to nothing for his fantasy owners. With 14 goals on the season Bertuzzi had been of some benefit earlier this season and perhaps he will get some of that magic back before it is to late.
Chris Pronger, D, PHI - Since Feb. 1 Pronger has been in a major slump with only four assists and zero goals. This doesn't seem to be a case of the knee injury bothering him as he had six points in the four games after his return from that injury, but something seems to be bothering him, and the hand injury that kept him out of the game Thursday certainly won't help matters any.
Sergei Bobrovsky/Brian Boucher, G, PHI -- The Flyers have been playing as if they are just trying to finish out the season and get the playoffs started of late, and neither goalie has been able to lead this team out of this slump. Bobrovsky may still be the favorite to be the starter come playoff time, but his play of late has left something to be desired, and if Boucher were to get hot, than he might be the choice for coach Peter Laviolette.
Others include: Mike Fisher, Logan Couture, Tim Connolly, Ryan Kesler, Matt Duchesne, Matt Cullen, Evander Kane, Ruslan Fedotenko, Radek Dvorak, Troy Brouwer, Marco Sturm, Matt Moulson, Patric Hornqvist, Michal Rozsival, Kris Letang, Jordan Leopold, Niklas Kronwall, Tomas Kaberle, Jack Johnson, Chris Mason.