As usual, it’s time to take note of the guys succeeding and slumping in the NHL this past week. However, one of the soaring guys plays for a bad team and one of the struggling guys plays for a good team, so don’t be quick to make moves based on team statuses.
Martin Hanzal – C (ARI)
Though he plays for one of the worst teams in the NHL, Arizona Coyotes center Martin Hanzal gives it his all each and every game and the results are starting to show. Two games ago against San Jose, Hanzal recorded another goal and his fifth in six games. With 15 goals now on the season, he is a shoo-in to surpass his career-best of 16 set back in the 2010-11 season. Although Shane Doan is the club’s captain, Hanzal sure is playing like one, not only with his production which has helped the team win five of seven, but doing the little things too, such as making big hits and getting down to block shots. Averaging more than 18 minutes of ice time, Hanzal ranks second on the team in both powerplay goals and shots. If there is one issue with Hanzal, it’s that he often finds himself with a negative plus/minus rating by year’s end, but that is to be expected as Arizona concedes an average north of three goals per game. Take a ride on Hanzal’s hot streak and get him in your lineup.
Anders Lee – C (NYI)
If there’s one guy you need to watch that hardly gets the recognition he deserves, it’s New York Islanders center Anders Lee. After picking up an assist two games ago against New Jersey, Lee has now obtained a point in 12 of his prior 18 outings. Last night against Detroit, he was held without a point, but he has not gone pointless in back-to-back games since the middle of January. Lee pulls in with 22 goals and 36 points and is a good bet to score four more goals and pick up six more points to set new career-highs in both categories. More good news for potential Lee owners is his uptick in ice time and his recent pickup of penalty minutes. Working alongside captain John Tavares on the first line and first powerplay unit has really bolstered his game and has resulted in two powerplay goals and three assists for the Minnesotan. If the Islanders are hopeful of making the playoffs, they’ll need to lean on Lee and others to help get them there. Do what it takes to land Lee on your roster.
James Reimer – G (FLA)
As a backup goalie to Roberto Luongo who gets the majority of starts for the Florida Panthers, it would not seem like a good idea to buy James Reimer’s stock, but he simply cannot be ignored any more for his recent efforts. Heading into tonight’s action, Reimer has secured 12 wins on the season including three in a row and five of six. In those past six games, he has conceded one goal or fewer in five. On Monday, Reimer shut down the good offense of St. Louis, making 26 saves on 27 shots and has now made 63 stops in his last two starts. Right now, Reimer is on pace to outdo his best mark of 20 wins in a season and as he continues to play well against good teams, his value is on the rise. Not to be forgotten is the 2.41 GAA Reimer holds and his current .920 save percentage which are better than his career averages. Pending an injury to Luongo, Reimer will not become the starter, but could continue to see his workload increase if his exceptional play continues. Look no further than Reimer for a solid backup and occasional starter to continue his hot streak.
Scott Hartnell – LW (CLS)
The way things are going for left-winger of the Columbus Blue Jackets Scott Hartnell, it is no surprise his production has diminished the last few weeks. Once a 37-goal scorer with Philadelphia, Hartnell has looked like a shell of his former self. Though he has 13 goals for the season and still has an outside shot at reaching 20 for the fourth straight year, his last goal came on January 21st, and he is currently in the midst of a seven-game point drought. The struggles he has experienced have relegated him to fourth line duties and the second unit on the powerplay, which is never a good thing. These days, Hartnell is barely registering any shots, with one or fewer in seven of his past eight contests, so that kind of play will not get the job done. Adding further woes to his situation, Hartnell has experienced some lower body issues which have sidelined him for two games, although he did return to action on Sunday. Still, Hartnell is not a player that can be trusted at the moment, so cut ties with the veteran.
Dylan Larkin – C (DET)
After a great rookie season in 2015-16, Detroit Red Wings star Dylan Larkin has not been able to duplicate that success this season. Posting 23 goals and 45 points with a +11 plus/minus rating in his first year, Larkin has not had an easy go of things this season as evident by his 12 goals, 19 points and very ugly -17 plus/minus rating. A nice three game stretch at the end of January with two goals and two assists had Larkin owners believing, but he has not registered a point in the eight games since. Not viewed as a top two forward, Larkin finds himself on the third line for the Wings and with the 7:58 of ice time he logged Sunday against Pittsburgh – his lowest of the season – there is trouble in paradise for Larkin supporters. Perhaps his struggles coincide with the team’s – Detroit is in last place in the Atlantic Division and is in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1989-90 – but the numbers just have not been there for the youngster. Though Larkin will get things turned around at some point and become a dominant force, too much has gone wrong for Detroit this season to have confidence in the speedster.