This article is part of our NHL Barometer series.
This week's article includes a 'Peg center stepping up, a winger thriving in a change of scenery, the Price May Be Right again in Montreal and Ryan is wrong lately.
This is the final column of the season. Thanks to all who read and/or provided comments during the season. Any feedback, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Any updates will be added to the comments section of the column.
First Liners (Risers)
Mark Scheifele, C, WPG – Scheifele continued his recent roll, tallying a goal and assist Monday. Those two points give him six points in the last four games along with 25 goals and 27 assists for a career-high 52 points. Scheifele didn't stop there, adding a goal Wednesday. He has stepped up his game in the absence of Bryan Little and proving he may have the upside of a top-line center.
Sean Couturier, C, PHI – Couturier saw his five-game point streak end Wednesday but he still has nine points in his last 11. With 36 points in 58, he is just three shy of tying his career-high set in 2013-14. Couturier, the eighth overall pick in 2011, signed a six-year, $26 million contract extension with the Flyers in July 2015, so he should be their second line center for many years to come.
Joe Colborne, LW, CGY – At the end of the season, getting a hot player flying under the radar for cheap is like finding gold. Colborne qualifies as such. His goal and assist Monday give him 11 points – including seven goals – in his last 12. In addition, for those in Yahoo leagues, Colborne qualifies in center, left wing and right wing, adding to his value.
Connor Brown, RW, TOR – The Maple Leafs are playing out the string and looking at players for next year. Although that may be the case, Toronto has been better than expected recently with Brown a major contributor in the team's improved play. He has exploded since his call-up, recording a goal and five assists in the seven since his promotion. The Browns from this site are reveling in his production.
Patrick Maroon, LW, EDM – At the trade deadline, Anaheim traded Maroon to the Oilers for Martin Gernat and a 2016 fourth-round pick. That trade looked like one that would be destined to solely be remembered by those who looked at the agate type in the newspaper. How wrong we were. Maroon has received the plum assignment of skating with Connor McDavid and has five goals and 11 points in 13 since arriving in Edmonton.
Jason Garrison, D, TB – Garrison has just 11 points on the season but four have come in his last three. At first blush, that mini-streak might be viewed as an aberration. But it coincides with the loss of Anton Stralman, so someone other than Victor Hedman has to step up. It could very well be Garrison, so he is worth a flier.
Roman Josi, D, NAS – Josi's point production has increased each of the last four years. He may have a tough time extending that streak next season, as he currently sits with a career-high 57 points with five games left. If Josi can tally three goals, he will set a new career-high in that category.
Steve Mason, G, PHI – Philly is hanging on to the eighth seed in the East and second wild card spot aided heavily by Mason's play. He stopped 29 of 30 shots in the Flyers' 2-1 shootout win over the Capitals on Wednesday. That victory was Mason's eighth in his last 12 appearances. He hasn't given up more than two goals in any of his last six starts. Mason was profiled two weeks ago but deserves another mention with the Flyers heating up lately. Roll with him with Michal Neuvirth still out injured.
Kari Lehtonen, G, DAL – In his last 10 starts, Lehtonen has posted an impressive 7-2-1 record. His goals-against average is 2.46 and save percentage just .906 in that stretch, but wins are wins. Dallas is tied for the first seed in the conference and Central Division lead with St. Louis. With five to go, look for Lehtonen to be between the pipes for all five.
Others include Sean Monahan, Steven Stamkos, Pavel Datsyuk, Alex Galchenyuk, Ryan O'Reilly, Jamie Benn, Mikko Koivu, Joe Pavelski, Aleksander Barkov, Connor McDavid, Victor Rask, Travis Zajac, Ryan Getzlaf, Claude Giroux, Mika Zibanejad, Sidney Crosby, Jakob Silfverberg, Erik Haula, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jonathan Huberdeau, Anthony Duclair, Troy Brouwer, Sven Andrighetto, Reid Boucher, Tyler Toffoli, James Neal, Jordan Eberle, Corey Perry, Zach Parise, Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd, Ondrej Palat, Jussi Jokinen, Mike Hoffman, Jeff Skinner, Brent Burns, Casey Nelson, Victor Hedman, Andrej Sekera, Noah Hanifin, Morgan Rielly, Keith Yandle, Shea Weber, Mike Green, Kris Letang, Scott Darling, Marc-Andre Fleury, Brian Elliott/Jake Allen, Ben Bishop, Jonathan Bernier, Devan Dubnyk and Martin Jones.
Training Room (Injuries)
Carey Price, G, MTL – Price, out since November 30 with a leg injury, could return to action Thursday. Initially, Price was thought to only be sidelined for six weeks. Those six weeks have turned into four months and has resulted in Montreal's implosion. If you own and stuck with Price, you may get rewarded the last 10 days of the season.
Robin Lehner, G, BUF – Lehner will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his ankle. Buffalo acquired the Swede to be the team's No. 1 goaltender. He filled that role nicely when he was on the ice (2.47 GAA, .924 SV%) but the ankle injuries, which began in the first game of the season, limited him to just 21 games.
Others include Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene (knee, still sidelined), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (concussion, day-to-day), Vincent Trocheck (ankle, out next three weeks), Michael Frolik (lower-body injury, out next three games), Michael Stone (lower-body, out for the season), John Carlson (lower-body, returned to action), Anton Stralman (non-displaced fibula fracture, out for season), P.K. Subban (neck, still sidelined), Dion Phaneuf (lower-body, out for rest of the season), Corey Crawford (upper-body injury, still yet to skate) and Cory Schneider (knee, close to returning).
Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)
Henrik Sedin, C, VAN – Sedin has 51 points in 68, which isn't a bad year for one of the Twins. But just one goal and three assists have come in 13 March contests along with an unsightly minus-8 rating. Sedin is still seeing his usual ice time, so it's hard to sit him despite the slump, but it might be the most prudent course of action.
Bobby Ryan, RW, OTT – Ryan has 22 goals and 31 assists in 76, which is in line with what his production the past five games. But just one of those points have come in his last six as he is limping to the finish. Ryan is back on the second line next to Mika Zibanejad and Mike Hoffman, so maybe those familiar faces will help him down the stretch.
Adam Larsson, D, NJD – Defensemen growth is not linear. Keep repeating that mantra to yourself when evaluating the position. Expectations were high for Larsson when he was taken fourth overall in 2011 with comparisons to Scott Niedermayer thrown around. That is way off base and it was unfair to tag Larsson with that line. His game has started to come around, where he is more valuable in real life rather than fantasy life, which may be the case moving forward.
Semyon Varlamov, G, COL – Rotowire's update after Tuesday's game said it all. "Tuesday's loss dropped Varlamov's record in the past nine games to 5-4-0. In that span, he's only allowed fewer than three goals in three games. Tuesday was also the first game in the last eight that he posted a save percentage below .900." It was only 2013-14 when Varlamov won 41 games. In the past two seasons, Varly has seen his GAA rise and save percentage drop, neither of which is what you want to see from your netminder.
Others include Patrice Bergeron, Lars Eller, Mike Ribeiro, Sam Bennett, Gustav Nyquist, Viktor Arvidsson, Patrick Sharp. Colin Wilson, Zdeno Chara, Colton Parayko (just one goal in 19), Rasmus Ristolainen, Duncan Keith (suspension looming), Sergei Bobrovsky, Eddie Lack and Antti Niemi.