Fantasy Hockey pickups: Ryan Spooner among players in need of ownership bump

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nhl/teams/bos/" data-ylk="slk:Boston Bruins">Boston Bruins</a>’ <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nhl/players/5018/" data-ylk="slk:Ryan Spooner">Ryan Spooner</a>’s ownership percentage if far too low in fantasy leagues. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Boston BruinsRyan Spooner’s ownership percentage if far too low in fantasy leagues. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

By Neil Parker, RotoWire Hockey Writer
Special to Yahoo Sports

Despite there being just three nights of action since last week’s article, there are still a handful of new players to consider scooping up. It highlights the importance of staying in tune with the latest NHL news and active in your virtual leagues.

The NHL trade deadline is sneaking up, and the deals are likely to begin trickling in sooner than later. Savvy owners know that it’s often the players uninvolved in trades who benefit the most from shakeups. When sellers unload scorers, it’s typically a younger player who steps into a larger role and receives a fantasy boost.

Late-season auditions can turn into permanent roster spots the following year, and sometimes, a player only needs an opportunity. Just look at the success of the Golden Knights.

Here’s the schedule for the next scoring period, Feb. 5-12:

Two games: Panthers, Canadiens

Four games: Ducks, Bruins, Sabres, Flames, Avalanche, Stars, Oilers, Predators, Devils,

Islanders, Rangers, Flyers, Sharks, Blues, Canucks

All other teams play three games.

It’s important to keep an eye on who is cut in your leagues since potential upgrades come in all forms. Also, remember to check the players previously covered in this space listed below.

(Yahoo ownership rates as of Feb. 1)

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FORWARD

Erik Haula, VGK (41 percent): Sporting a six-game point streak consisting of three goals, five assists and 17 shots, the Finn is clicking between James Neal and David Perron. Haula sports a rock-solid 2.76 points per 60 minutes for the campaign, and he’s also receiving consistent power-play minutes (2:42 per contest).

Travis Konecny, PHI (35 percent): The promotion to the No. 1 line alongside Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux kick-started an excellent run for Konecny. The sophomore has collected seven goals, 13 points and 38 shots through his past 14 contests, and he projects to stick in the top-line role as long as he continues scoring.

Cam Atkinson, CLS (49 percent): The winger has marked the scoresheet in consecutive outings since returning from an 11-game absence due to a foot injury. After a breakout 35-goal, 62-point showing last year, Atkinson has just seven tallies, eight assists and a 6.9 shooting percentage through 34 contests this season. Expect a correction.

Ryan Spooner, BOS (6 percent): With eight goals and 18 points through his past 22 games, Spooner is showing no signs of slowing down. He’s locked into a top-six role at even strength and skates with the No. 1 power-play unit. It’s surprising the gifted scorer is so sparsely owned.

Adam Henrique, ANA (19 percent): Anaheim is loaded down the middle, and since Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler have returned from injury, Henrique has seen extremely favorable even-strength matchups. The 28-year-old center has cashed in to the tune of six goals and eight points through his past six contests, and he’s also been receiving looks with the No. 1 power-play unit. He’s going to cool off in the goal department (1.42 per 60 minutes since joining the Ducks), but it wouldn’t be surprising if the hit were mitigated by an uptick in assists.

Alexander Steen, STL (45 percent): The veteran has quietly picked up eight goals and 11 assists through his past 24 contests, including seven tallies and four helpers over his latest 10 outings. Steen is projected to skate with Jaden Schwartz for the immediate future, and the duo have combined for 4.1 goals per 60 minutes this season. The 33-year-old forward remains a high-floor asset.

Zach Hyman, TOR (13 percent): There’s a lot of cross-category potential with Hyman, and while most of his value is derived from playing with Auston Matthews and William Nylander, the elder statesman on the line shouldn’t go overlooked. The Maple Leafs appear to be headed in the right direction, and Hyman has recorded two goals, five points, four PIM and a plus-5 rating through his past six contests.

DEFENSE

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, SJ (44 percent): While Vlasic’s real-world talent doesn’t fully translate to fantasy success, he boasts a target-worthy floor because of his ability to tilt the scales across most stat columns. He’s also been scoring more of late with four goals and five assists through his past 10 contests while averaging 22:33 of ice time per game.

Noah Hanifin, CAR (19 percent): The third-year blueliner is having a career year, and his offensively tilted role has been a huge help. Hanifin is beginning 63.4 percent of his five-on-five shifts in the opponents end and is averaging 1:50 of power-play time per contest. He’s also collected four assists through his past two games. Look for a strong second half from the first-time All Star.

Travis Dermott, TOR (1 percent): So far, so good for the rookie. A deep-league candidate, Dermott is settling in with the Maple Leafs and should push for a full-time gig. His skating ability and puck-movement skills should also begin to translate to better offensive production, and his 54.9 Corsi For percentage won’t go unnoticed by the Toronto brass. His upside is probably capped, but there’s definite potential.

GOALIE

Anton Forsberg, CHI (19 percent): Figuring out the Chicago goaltending situation has been a tough task since Corey Crawford (concussion) was placed on injured reserve. However, Forsberg has now won consecutive road games with a .970 save percentage and should be in the driver’s seat for the immediate future. Just note that his fantasy floor is low.

Michal Neuvirth, PHI (16 percent): With Brian Elliott (lower body) on injured reserve, Neuvirth will man the crease for the Flyers moving forward. The Czech netminder has surrendered five goals in consecutive games to plummet his ratios (.910 save percentage and 2.69 GAA), and Elliott projects to return to No. 1 duty once healthy. However, there aren’t many settings where guaranteed starts don’t warrant attention.

Ryan Miller, ANA (27 percent): John Gibson (lower body) hasn’t been able to finish consecutive games, and with Anaheim focused on the big picture, Miller should see an uptick in playing time. Miller has been fantastic when called upon this season and boasts a high-end .928 save percentage and 2.20 GAA, so he’s a strong grab in most fantasy settings. Just note, he could quickly return to watching from the bench most nights, though.

Harri Sateri, FLA (2 percent): The 28-year-old Finn projects to handle starting duties for the Cats until Roberto Luongo (lower body) or James Reimer (groin) return to action. Sateri has only started three games in his career, so he’s likely best viewed as a risky option until proven otherwise. But, again, starts are starts. Being selective with his matchups is advised.

Michael Hutchinson, WPG (2 percent): While probably nothing more than a speculative add in cavernous leagues, Hutchinson has been incredible this season in the AHL (.942 save percentage and 1.95 GAA), and he recorded a 23-save win over the Lightning in his season debut Tuesday. He should continue to see occasional duty backstopping the Jets for the duration of Steve Mason’s (concussion) stint on injured reserve.

Players to consider from past columns: Evgenii Dadonov, Bo Horvat, Micheal Ferland, Ondrej Kase, Tomas Hertl, Anthony Beauvillier, Pavel Buchnevich, Kevin Labanc, Nick Schmaltz, Josh Anderson, Mikko Koivu, Mathieu Perreault, David Backes, Elias Lindholm, Anthony Duclair, Sami Vatanen, Shea Theodore, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, Mike Matheson, Jeff Petry, Esa Lindell, Colin Miller, Jordan Oesterle, Alexander Edler, Antti Raanta, Aaron Dell, Jacob Markstrom, Juuse Saros, Philipp Grubauer, Anton Forsberg, Jeff Glass, Casey DeSmith.

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