By Jan Levine, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
This week's article includes Boston's captain, a young blueliner in the Windy City, a pair of veteran netminders, the Isles' captain out for the rest of the regular season, and a pair of highly paid veterans slumping in Minnesota.
FIRST LINERS (RISERS)
Patrice Bergeron, C, BOS
Like fine wine, Bergeron is improving with age. Aided by centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, Bergeron is averaging slightly more than a point-per-game the last four seasons. This season, Bergeron has 24 points in 26 games while providing his usual elite level of defensive play as the No. 1 center in Boston. Bergeron is helped by skating just 18 minutes per game, including three minutes on the man-advantage, keeping him fresh. At his current pace, he could top 1,000 points sometime during the 2022-23 season.
Evgeni Malkin, C, PIT
A month-plus into the season, whispers were that Malkin was a shell of his former self and the Penguins might consider moving him. Fast forward six weeks and that talk has ended — or at least, been shunted to the background. In his last 14 games, Malkin has five goals and 12 assists, moving Pittsburgh into third place of the Mass Mutual Metropolitan Division. Included in that production is an eight-game point streak, making Malkin's fantasy managers look really smart for not bailing.
Pavel Buchnevich, RW, NYR
In a very up-and-down season for the Rangers, Buchnevich has been one mild constant. After seeing a five-game point streak snapped last Thursday, Buchnevich notched a goal and an assist Saturday to begin a new one. The 25-year-old is putting together a career year with eight goals and 22 points in 26 games and could challenge the career-high 46 points he scored last season. If Mika Zibanejad can get hot, Buch will be a primary beneficiary of Zib's dishes. One caveat is that Buchnevich was added to the COVID-19 protocol list Monday, which could sideline him for a bit.
Alex Tuch, LW, LV
Last week, I profiled Max Pacioretty, this week, it's Tuch. Acquired as part of the expansion draft from Minnesota by Vegas, Tuch has a solid rookie season in 2017-18 but exploded with 52 points in 2018-19. Injuries wreaked havoc last season, but even when active, he slumped to just 17 points. Skating on the third line and second-unit power-play, Tuch scored again Saturday, putting the 24-year-old one behind Pacioretty for the team lead in goals at 13. Tuch has 20 points, 56 shots on goal, 16 PIM, and a plus-10 rating through 25 games.
Adam Boqvist, D, CHI
The Blackhawks might have their power-play quarterback of the future in Boqvist. Skating almost 16.5 minutes a game, nearly 3:30 of that time is coming on the man-advantage. After scoring a goal Saturday, the 20-year-old has picked up five points in his last seven games, including a pair of two-assist outings. With 13 points in 19 games overall, Boqvist has already matched his output from his entire rookie season (41 games), as he assumes the mantle of top dog in Chicago from Duncan Keith.
Kevin Shattenkirk, D, ANA
I drafted Shattenkirk late in my home league, expecting him to carry the resurgence in his play with Tampa Bay over to Anaheim, where he was projected to man the point on the power play. His horrible start resulted in me punting him to the waiver wire. Keeping in line with how my season has gone, he finally seems to be living up to that billing now that he is off my team, though it took 'Kirk a while to do so. His assist Saturday gives the veteran blueliner two goals and four apples in his last six games, and 12 points, 51 shots on net, 36 blocks, 32 hits, and a minus-2 rating in 29 appearances.
Sergei Bobrovsky, G, FLA
When you hear the name Bobrovsky, your first thought is seven years, $70 million. But Bobrovsky may finally be earning at least a portion of his contract, posting a hot March. After a very slow start and calls for Chris Driedger to start, Bobrovsky is undefeated in March, having won all six of his starts and posting a .914 save percentage while allowing 17 goals. His fine play has Florida tied with Tampa Bay for first place in the Central Division.
Devan Dubnyk, G, SJ
San Jose's goaltending has been a tire fire this year, yet the team is 11-11-3. Martin Jones started the second game of a back-to-back Saturday, notching the win. But Dubnyk might have the best shot at seeing most of the action between the pipes for the Sharks, despite his rough overall campaign. He posted a shutout Friday on the heels of a win against St. Louis on Monday, and is now 3-6-2 with a 2.95 GAA and a .908 save percentage in 14 outings. Not earth-shattering, but maybe worth a look in deeper leagues.
Others include: Bo Horvat, Brock Nelson William Nylander, Aleksander Barkov, Tyler Johnson, Carter Verhaeghe, Kevin Labanc, Max Pacioretty, Matthew Tkachuk, Mats Zuccarello, Jakub Voracek, Frank Vatrano, Mark Stone, Drake Batherson, Kieffer Bellows, Blake Coleman, Brady Tkachuk, Evander Kane, Jeff Petry, MacKenzie Weegar, Tyson Barrie, Ryan Pulock, John Carlson, Shea Theodore, Kris Letang, Thatcher Demko, Ilya Samsonov, Semyon Varlamov, and Marc-Andre Fleury.
Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, NYI
Wahlstrom, selected 11th overall in 2017, played much of last season at AHL Bridgeport, where he collected 22 points in 45 contests. In nine games with the parent club, he tallied zero points but has established himself as a relatively key component of the active roster this year. Wahlstrom still needs work on his skating, but his best weapon is his shot, which he has used to rack up five goals in 22 games. The Isles are using Wahlstrom on the power play, and with Anders Lee sidelined, Wahlstrom may see top-line duty, though Kieffer Bellows was more than solid in that role Saturday.
TRAINING ROOM (INJURIES
Anders Lee, LW, NYI
The Islanders lost a key cog in their attack, as Lee will miss the remainder of the regular season with a lower-body injury suffered last Thursday. Lee, a horse in front of the net — especially on the power play — was the team's leading goal scorer (12 in 27 games). If there is a silver lining, New York can now exceed the salary cap by Lee's $7 million hit during the regular season, acquiring a top-six player on a big contract, and still get him back for the playoffs, just like the Lightning are doing with Nikita Kucherov (hip).
Others include: Alexander Radulov (lower body, out since Feb. 4, returned to action Sunday), Jaden Schwartz (lower body, out since Feb. 12, skated Monday, close to returning), Tyson Barrie (undisclosed, left Monday's game), Colton Parayko (back, has yet to start skating but is making progress), Alex Pietrangelo (undisclosed, missed fifth consecutive game Monday versus the Sharks), Adam Fox (COVID-19 protocol, added to list on and sat out Monday's game) and Matt Murray (upper body, injured in warmups Saturday, did not dress Monday against the Canucks).
FOURTH LINERS/PRESS BOXERS (FALLERS)
Eric Staal, C, BUF
I profiled Staal as a faller almost seven weeks ago. Since then, Staal hasn't set the world on fire, resulting in another mention here. With Buffalo going nowhere — and regressing, in fact — the Sabres would be smart to move Staal for future assets, With Jack Eichel out long-term, Staal is the team's first-line center, giving him a mild bump in value. He notched assists in consecutive games, possibly a portent of good things to come, but jump in the Staal warily, as he was held off the scoresheet Saturday.
Zach Parise, LW, MIN
Parise's production in Minnesota has been somewhat inconsistent, but he did post another 25-goal campaign last season, bolstered by a 16.1 percent shooting percentage. This year has been a veritable nightmare, as Parise was a healthy scratch last Wednesday, and coach Dean Evason continues to reduce his role. Parise, who sat the last 13 minutes Saturday, has one goal and five points in his last 12 games, including a pair of assists Sunday. He was on the block last year, almost ending up with the Islanders. Maybe a change of scenery will help him, though the four years at $7.538 million AAV remaining on the 13-year deal he signed in July 2012 will make dealing him difficult.
MacKenzie Blackwood, G, NJ
I debated highlighting Alexandar Georgiev over Blackwood here but went with a true starting goalie. Blackwood was rightfully the flavor of the month at the beginning of the season when he got off to a brilliant start. After missing almost a month due to COVID, Blackwood has struggled mightily, cratering lately. His defeat at the hands of Islanders on Saturday marked the sixth consecutive loss for Blackwood, who has failed to hold his opponent to less than three goals in each of his last nine appearances.
Others include: Kaapo Kakko (but advanced metrics show an uptick may be coming), Denis Gurianov, Cody Glass, Jared Spurgeon, Haydn Fleury, John Gibson, Carter Hart, Frederik Andersen, Alexandar Georgiev, and Pekka Rinne.
Ryan Suter, D, MIN
Suter is a sell-high candidate only if a fantasy manager is living in the past. I really don't like having two players from the same team on one side of the ledger, but either Spurgeon or Suter was the choice here. With just eight points in 26 games and a seven-game point drought, Suter gets the nod, aided by him being fully healthy all season while Spurgeon dealt with COVID and an upper-body injury. Suter has the same contract as Parise, but unlike Zach, he is likely not going anywhere. Never say never, though.