This week, a couple of goalies find themselves in the spotlight, while some wingers land on the other side due to ineffectiveness. Read on to see who will help make a difference for your club at this time.
Andrei Vasilevskiy – G (TAM)
With the trade of then-starting goalie Ben Bishop, the door has opened wide for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy and he has delivered in a big way. Peter Budaj, who was acquired in the trade for Bishop, was having an excellent season, but now will be relegated to a backup role with Tampa Bay. In the four games since becoming the starter, Vasilevskiy has won three of them while giving up just six goals combined. The last seven appearances for Vasilevskiy have resulted in just one regulation loss and due to the recent outstanding performances in his last four, his save percentage is.956 while his GAA is 1.44. Monday night versus the New York Rangers was his only blemish and even then, he gave up just a single goal in a game the Rangers won in overtime. As the Lightning find themselves just a few points out of the second Wild Card spot, look for Vasilevskiy to continue his solid play now that every game is critical. Perhaps the mindset of knowing he is now the starter has given him more confidence, but Vasilevskiy is arguably looking as good now as he has all season. If available, make a move and get him into your lineup as soon as possible.
Brian Elliott – G (CGY)
As good as Vasilevskiy has been, there is no goaltender in the league hotter than Brian Elliott the past couple of weeks which is why he finds himself on this list for the second week in a row. As opposed to last week however, Elliott has now won six straight, helping the team achieve points in nine consecutive games and really distancing themselves from the rest of the teams in the Wild Card hunt. The last game for Elliott was a 5-2 victory against the Islanders, marking the fifth time in his winning streak that he has let up two or fewer goals. Furthermore, he has surrendered more than two goals just once over his last nine games. Looking at his last five appearances, the save percentage sits at .950 while the goals against average is 1.58. The saves have piled up for Elliott, making 35, 37, 29 and 35 in his prior four, so that’s always a plus. Although a couple of top ten scoring teams are coming up after they play Montreal, the Flames and Elliott are on such a roll that it doesn’t even matter. Needless to say, Elliott is a must-own and must-start in all leagues at this time.
Michael Grabner – RW (NYR)
After a sizzling start to the season and throughout January, New York Rangers right-winger Michael Grabner has cooled off significantly for the better part of a month. At 26 goals, it is easily a career year for him, but as his last goal came on February 9th, it could have been a lot more. The game log indicates he hasn’t recorded a point in his last eight, and he has missed the previous four because of a hip injury. Once again, he was out of action last night against Florida and it is unclear if he will return Thursday in his team’s next game. To make up for his absence, J.T. Miller has taken his spot on the team’s third line and if he plays well, it could put a dent in Grabner’s minutes once he returns. The Rangers have plenty of play makers, so it is not unreasonable to think they will give Grabner more time off if his struggles continue once he is back on the ice. With his status in doubt and his productivity level in decline, look for other right-wingers out there who can help you win now.
Mike Cammalleri – LW (NJD)
If you are one of the few fantasy players to own Devils left-winger Mike Cammalleri, now is as good a time as ever to part ways with the 13-year veteran. Once a 39-goal scorer in his prime, Cammalleri has notched only 10 this season and doesn’t even resemble the player who scored 27 two seasons ago. When healthy, the struggle has been real for Cammalleri, as he has not tallied a point in his last seven and has not sniffed the back of the opposition’s net since January 3rd. However, Cammalleri has not been healthy enough to find himself in the lineup because of an upper-body injury he suffered last week which has caused him to miss two games and at least three more, given he has not traveled with the team on their road trip. The hope is he will get back to action on March 14th, but that is not a given. The minutes have not been adding up either, with less than 16 minutes in five of the last seven he played. Wise up and stay away from the struggling Cammalleri.
Alexander Steen – LW (STL)
The St. Louis Blues have had a tough go at things lately – losers of five of seven – and left-winger Alexander Steen has contributed to the team’s recent woes. Over his last six games, he has recorded only one point and has just three points in his prior ten match-ups. Since the beginning of February, Steen has taken one shot on goal eight times out of 15 games, three more of those games were two-shot efforts and unbelievably not a single shot in his last game, so the minimal shots he is taking will not help him get on the score sheet often. Speaking of last night’s game against Minnesota, the three games prior he logged a plus/minus rating had all been negatives. The schedule shows a multitude of good teams coming up for the Blues so with 17 games remaining, time may be running out for Steen to right the ship. It’s best to move on from him in favor of some more productive players.