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Final week fantasy start and sit answers for every NHL team

Nico Hischier has eight points in his past eight games. Get him in your lineup to close the fantasy season. Jim McIsaac/NHLI via Getty Images

In the final push for fantasy glory, you'll have plenty of intense lineup decisions to make. Sit a star? Start a streaking third-liner? Dump a struggling No. 1 goalie in favor of a backup? To help you sort through all of those tough calls, here is a look at some players from every NHL team to start and sit over the final week of play.

Note: That Sunday contest between the Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins will not count towards your final fantasy matchup. The fantasy season concludes with Saturday's action.


Anaheim Ducks (five games remaining)

Start: Brandon Montour, D (rostered in 46.4 percent of ESPN leagues)

With a playoff berth on the line, the Kings will need the best of Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry to close out the 2017-18 regular season. But they will also need the best of Montour as the blue-line running mate to the aforementioned trio, skating on the Ducks' top pair and No. 1 power play. Registering more than 24 minutes of ice time per game this past week, the 23-year-old defenseman is earning plenty of chances to contribute.

Sit: Ondrej Kase, RW/LW (7.5 percent)

While the young winger has certainly relished his share of highlight reel moments this season, Kase has quieted down considerably, collecting only one goal and two assists in 17 games. What's more, with a playoff berth in the balance, the 22-year-old has only skated 11:35 in his two most recent contests. That's telling.

Arizona Coyotes (five games remaining)

Start: Richard Panik, RW (14.2 percent)

Skating on a top line and power play with Clayton Keller and Derek Stepan, Panik has four goals and two assists in six games. Unlike his linemates, the Chicago Blackhawks' export is widely available in ESPN leagues.

Sit: Max Domi C/LW (21.2 percent)

Following a recent productive outburst for seven points in six games, Domi has since settled back into his season-long rut.

Boston Bruins (six games remaining)

Start: Ryan Donato, C/LW (29.3 percent)

The Harvard lad has been on a scoring line with center David Krejci and the No. 1 power play, and with such roles, he's scored three goals and two assists in five contests. The pending return of forward Jake DeBrusk (as early as this weekend) could result a quick demotion for Donato, so keep a close eye on the situation.

Sit: Riley Nash, C (27.9 percent)

Understandably, Patrice Bergeron's return from injury has bumped Nash back down to centering Boston's third line, away from wingers Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. Also understandably, Nash has contributed zero points in the two games since.

Buffalo Sabres (six games remaining)

Start: Casey Mittelstadt, C (0.7 percent)

Buffalo's eighth-overall draft pick of 2017 is set to make his NHL debut on a scoring line with Sam Reinhart on Thursday. Our own Chris Peters suggests Mittelstadt has the potential to be a special player at the highest level down the road, if not next season. The 19-year-old playmaker is worth monitoring as a dynasty asset in any case.

Sit: Every other member of the Sabres

Seriously. From the net out, there's little to like about a 31st-place Sabres team that has averaged a goal per game in five contests (although we'd understand some hesitation in sitting Jack Eichel).

Calgary Flames (five games remaining)

Start: Garnet Hathaway, RW (0.5 percent)

If in the market for hits and penalty minutes, Hathaway has some use as a rough-and-tough physical presence. Otherwise, with forwards Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk all sidelined, the Flames sport minimal appeal from a fantasy viewpoint.

Sit: Mike Smith, G (59.8 percent)

Without their best skaters up front, the Flames are simply doing time before punching the clock on what has generally been a disappointing season. After helping to keep Calgary competitive in earlier months, Smith has secured one win in seven games (.867 save percentage) since returning from injury on March 11.

Carolina Hurricanes (five games remaining)

Start: Valentin Zykov, LW (5.8 percent)

Competing on a line with Carolina's top producers Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, Zykov has three goals and three assists (plus-five) in five games. Eyeing a full-time NHL roster spot next fall, the 22-year-old prospect is offered a rich opportunity to make the most of the final handful of contests.

Sit: Justin Williams, RW (21.6 percent)

Mr. Clutch has been anything but when it mattered most down the stretch. One goal and one assist in nine contests (minus-eight) from the veteran winger did little to help the Hurricanes remain in playoff contention.

Chicago Blackhawks (five games remaining)

Start: Brandon Saad, LW/RW (42.2 percent)

Wrapping up an otherwise awful reunion campaign in his second go-around with the Blackhawks, Saad has recently stepped it up (somewhat) with a goal, two assists and 14 shots in three games. The 25-year-old winger also exceeded the 20-minute mark versus the San Jose Sharks on Monday. Skating on a top scoring line with Patrick Kane, Saad could figure in as a late-push fantasy factor in deeper leagues.

Sit: Jonathan Toews, C (84.5 percent)

Listed day-to-day with an upper-body injury, Toews could conceivably not see another minute of action this spring. With nothing to play for, the Blackhawks wouldn't be faulted for shelving their captain for good measure.

Colorado Avalanche (five games remaining)

Start: Nikita Zadorov, D (26.4 percent)

Need hits? Leading the league with 257 on the season, Zadorov has ratcheted it up another peg of late, averaging more than six hits per game since Mar. 16, including 15 against the Los Angeles Kings last Thursday.

Sit: Semyon Varlamov, G (54.5 percent)

Sit Varlamov at least until the netminder appears fully recovered from whatever bug sidelined him in Wednesday's tilt with the Philadelphia Flyers. One point shy of a playoff spot, the Avalanche would've started their No. 1 if at all possible.

Columbus Blue Jackets (five games remaining)

Start: Thomas Vanek, LW/RW (38.3 percent)

One of favorite dark-horse fantasy units currently in play includes Alexander Wennberg, Boone Jenner and the deadline acquisition from the Vancouver Canucks. Alongside Wennberg and Jenner, Vanek has seven goals and six assists in 10 contests. Tuesday's hat trick against the Edmonton Oilers suggests the new Blue Jackets forward is in no mood to slow down.

Sit: Brandon Dubinsky, C (8.1 percent)

Centering a third line with Sonny Milano and Oliver Bjorkstrand isn't boding well for the habitually streaky producer. Dubinsky hasn't registered a point since Feb. 13. Drop him.

Dallas Stars (five games remaining)

Start: Radek Faksa, C (6.3 percent)

Outside of their top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov, along with defenseman John Klingberg, fantasy pickings remain slim among the Stars. That could change slightly if/when Dallas is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, at which point coach Ken Hitchcock might juggle it up. Faksa could earn a go centering either Benn or Radulov to wrap up 2017-18. Honestly though, we're really digging deep here with a lot of ifs and maybes.

Sit: Kari Lehtonen, G (20.2 percent)

Filling in for an injured Ben Bishop, Lehtonen has fallen short of good enough with his 2-7-2 record (.912 save percentage) since Mar. 5. A better showing might have helped keep Dallas in realistic postseason contention.

Detroit Red Wings (five games remaining)

Start: Darren Helm, C (0.6 percent)

Recently bumped to a scoring line with Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha, Helm erupted for two goals and an assist in Tuesday's unexpected 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. This might interest daily fantasy competitors looking for outside-the-box assets.

Sit: Henrik Zetterberg, C/LW (63.5 percent)

Three assists (minus-five) in eight games leaves much to be desired from the Red Wings' captain. Expecting some final mini-surge from the 37-year-old during this long, fruitless season might be a bit much.

Edmonton Oilers (five games remaining)

Start: Ty Rattie, RW (17.9 percent)

As long as he remains on a top scoring line with Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Rattie is a viable play in deeper fantasy leagues with four goals and three assists in seven contests. Shut him down when that ceases to be the case.

Sit: Cam Talbot, G (84.1 percent)

The Oilers' No. 1 was enjoying an exceptionally rock-solid stretch since Mar. 5, running 7-1-0 with a .944 save percentage.Then he gave up five goals in each of his last two starts, losing consecutive contests to the Ducks and Blue Jackets. Again, it was a good run during an otherwise disappointing campaign for Talbot.

Florida Panthers (six games remaining)

Start: James Reimer, G (22.5 percent)

Another strong showing from Reimer following Monday's shutout of the New York Islanders in an altogether recent stretch of stingy netminding might translate into additional starts during this final, vital stretch for the Panthers. Florida's backup is scheduled to play Thursday versus the Ottawa Senators, after Roberto Luongo wasn't quite good enough in Wednesday's loss in Toronto. With a playoff berth in the mix, the club will turn to the hottest blocker available, regardless of hierarchy.

Sit: Roberto Luongo, G (54.5 percent)

See above.

Los Angeles Kings (five games remaining)

Start: Dion Phaneuf, D (46.9 percent)

With fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin hurt for weeks, Phaneuf is tasked with filling in on the Kings' No. 1 power play. Contributing in fits and bursts since joining the L.A. squad in mid-February, this enhanced role will offer the veteran blueliner a chance to wrap up 2017-18 on a high.

Sit: Tyler Toffoli, RW (57.7 percent)

A power-play goal against the Flames on Monday -- his first since Jan. 6 -- doesn't make up for Toffoli's current lack of ice time and opportunity. The 25-year-old winger has averaged just a hair more than 13 minutes and one shot per game in his past four contests.

Minnesota Wild (six games remaining)

Start: Zach Parise, LW (39.0 percent)

We've been championing a healthy-again Parise ever since he rediscovered his scoring touch at the beginning of March. Since then, the 33-year-old has been shooting and tallying goals with comforting regularity. The substantial minutes enjoyed on the top line and secondary power play bring added fantasy bonus.

Sit: Mikael Granlund, C/RW (82.2 percent)

Unlike Parise, Granlund hasn't been feeling it in recent play, collecting only three assists in eight contests and not a single point on the power play since Feb. 23. Consider utilizing other fantasy options in case the 60-point forward doesn't rediscover his productive groove in the next 10 days.

Montreal Canadiens (five games remaining)

Start: Brendan Gallagher, RW (48.5 percent)

Skating on a top line with center Jonathan Drouin, Gallagher is riding hot with four goals and 11 shots in his past three games. The Canadiens' top winger fell one second short of playing 21 minutes in Monday's regulation win over the Red Wings.

Sit: Carey Price, G (73.7 percent)

Monday's 26-save victory over Detroit was impressive enough, a nice change of pace from Price's two previous outings, in which he allowed 11 total goals in consecutive losses to Pittsburgh and Washington. As it stands, the Habs aren't in strong enough shape out front to offer their No. 1 sufficient support.

Nashville Predators (six games remaining)

Start: Juuse Saros, G (9.4 percent)

Don't expect Pekka Rinne to start every remaining game because he won't. With a playoff spot comfortably locked up and eager to rest their No. 1, the Predators appear keen on enlisting Saros every other game or so.

Sit: Craig Smith, RW (31.7 percent)

One of this season's more pleasant deep-league surprises, Smith has taken his foot off the gas of late, amassing just the one goal and four assists in March's dozen games.

New Jersey Devils (six games remaining)

Start: Nico Hischier, C (42.8 percent)

Just a couple of weeks ago, the suggestion that Hischier would break the 20-goal barrier in his rookie campaign felt to be somewhat of a stretch. Five goals (and three assists) in eight games later, the 19-year-old sits only two away. Centering a No. 1 Devils line with a red-hot Taylor Hall is a big help here, too.

Sit: Cory Schneider, G (53.8 percent)

With Keith Kinkaid (37.6 percent) serving superbly as the Devils' everyday go-to, Schneider might not see one more minute of game action the rest of this regular season.

New York Islanders (five games remaining)

Start: Ryan Pulock, D (36.3 percent)

A little quieter of late, Pulock has otherwise had a good go of it skating on the top pair and power play, to the tune of nine points in a span of seven games. Just last week, the 23-year-old defenseman scored two goals on nine shots against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Fantasy managers in need of blue-line help could do much worse.

Sit: Goaltending

Outside of facing the Red Wings on closing night, there are no forthcoming favorable matchups for this porous squad.

New York Rangers (five games remaining)

Start: Jesper Fast, RW (7.7 percent)

While forward prospects Filip Chytil and Lias Andersson should rouse interest among dynasty league managers, Fast presents as the safer bet in the here and now. Skating on a top line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, Fast has 10 points in 10 contests.

Sit: Vladislav Namestnikov, C/LW/RW (67.5 percent)

The goal and assist scored in his Rangers' debut feel like a long time ago now. Since then, Namestnikov has potted one goal in 13 games. He's been relegated to the fourth line.

Ottawa Senators (six games remaining)

Start: Mark Borowiecki, D (9.0 percent)

If wanting for hits as a fantasy manager and not bothered by plus-minus, Borowiecki is throwing his body around like nobody's business, comfortably leading the league with 5.6 per game in the month of March. The scrappy defenseman also blocks his fair share of shots.

Sit: Mike Hoffman, LW/RW (91.3 percent)

The Senators' winger has one assist (minus-eight) in six contests. It doesn't get any easier for Hoffman, or the rest of Ottawa's corps, with four of six remaining games taking place on the road.

Philadelphia Flyers (four games remaining)

Start: Travis Konecny, C/LW/RW (46.5 percent)

With five goals in seven games, Konecny is a potential start in just about any fantasy forum, although having only a quartet of contests left on the schedule is a mild turnoff. Every other club in the league has at least five remaining.

Sit: Petr Mrazek, G (32.1 percent)

Despite Wednesday's impressive partial-shutout in relief of an injured Michal Neuvirth, one win in six previous outings from Mrazek (.877 save percentage, 3.57 goals-against average) ain't going to cut it, especially with the Flyers endeavoring to nail down a playoff spot. Also, there's talk of Brian Elliott possibly (hopefully) returning before the regular season's conclusion.

Pittsburgh Penguins (five games remaining)

Start: Bryan Rust, RW (16.4 percent)

The otherwise pedestrian winger is hard to ignore in fantasy formats when he's a) playing on a line with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, and b) scoring on one of those units. Three goals and two assists in six games from Rust presents as an option for managers in deeper leagues.

Sit: Derick Brassard, C (46.6 percent)

Listed as day-to-day with a suspected groin injury, Brassard is ruled out for Thursday's game in New Jersey, at minimum. Keep an close eye on the center's situation and make other fantasy arrangements, if necessary and/or possible.

San Jose Sharks (five games remaining)

Start: Tomas Hertl, LW/C/RW (44.2 percent)

From a San Jose squad altogether lacking in underrated fantasy talent, Hertl could use a bit more rostering love for his recent flurry of five goals and four assists in eight contests. Skating on Logan Couture's wing, the 24-year-old might also earn one more shot on San Jose's top power play (in place of Kevin Labanc) before it's all said and done.

Sit: Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D (25.4 percent)

More valued for what he contributes to the game as a whole, Vlasic has nonetheless not been at his productive best of late. Two assists in a dozen contests strikes in stark contrast to the 19 points earned through January and February. For an alternative, fellow Sharks blueliner Brenden Dillon has recently stepped up with eight even-strength points in nine contests.

St. Louis Blues (six games remaining)

Start: Alexander Steen, LW/RW (47.3 percent)

The Steen/Patrik Berglund forward combo has had a fairly productive go of it lately, with a combined nine points in five games. Nothing earth-shattering here, but if stuck for options, either veteran winger could reasonably plug a fantasy roster hole.

Sit: Carter Hutton, G (37.6 percent)

With Jake Allen finally rediscovering his form and winning ways, a healthy-again Hutton (neck) is slated to serve only as backup for the remainder of 2017-18. There's a postseason berth at stake for the Blues here.

Tampa Bay Lightning (six games remaining)

Start: Ondrej Palat, LW (33.2 percent)

He's clearly warming back up. After losing two months to a lower-body injury, Palat has scored a goal and assist in his past three games. Skating on a scoring line with center Brayden Point, the 27-year-old winger is also seeing valuable minutes with the Lightning's secondary power play.

Sit: Alex Killorn, LW (21.3 percent)

Fixed on the Bolts' third line, Killorn has one goal in eight games. Fantasy managers are advised to peruse other options.

Toronto Maple Leafs (five games remaining)

Start: Tyler Bozak, C (23.9 percent)

An unassuming steady-Freddy of sorts on a squad teeming with more prominent stars, Bozak has quietly strung together a productive streak of nine points in nine games. Centering a line with a smoking' hot James van Riemsdyk, Bozak is also shooting more often than usual.

Sit: Frederik Andersen, G (92.7 percent)

Having played in 63 contests to date, the club's No. 1 could use some additional rest ahead of what the Leafs hope extends into a successful playoff ramble. Of Toronto's five games left, our guess is Andersen is out there for three of them, maximum.

Vancouver Canucks (five games remaining)

Start: Jacob Markstrom, G (21.6 percent)

The Canucks' No. 1 has surrendered only four total goals in three-straight wins. Just realize the wheels could fly off this positive run by Markstrom in a hurry.

Sit: Bo Horvat, C (50.6 percent)

Centering a line with a rotation of lower-tier wingers isn't the same as skating aside rookie standout Brock Boeser, as made evident by Horvat's three points (minus-six) in nine games. Still, there's much to look forward from that forward duo next season once Boeser is fully healthy.

Vegas Golden Knights (five games remaining)

Start: Alex Tuch, RW (4.5 percent)

In addition to serving on the club's No. 1 power play, Tuch subbed in for David Perron within their top six at even strength on Wednesday against the Coyotes. The 21-year-old winger has two power-play goals with the extra skater on 11 shots in his last couple of contests, making for an intriguing DFS option, at minimum.

Sit: David Perron, LW (77.9 percent)

For undisclosed reasons, Perron sat out Vegas' game on Wednesday. That's a worry. Invested fantasy managers should look to alternatives, in case this is a bigger deal than simply offering the top-six winger some pre-playoff rest.

Washington Capitals (five games remaining)

Start: Tom Wilson, RW (28.8 percent)

In addition to serving as a scoring threat on a top line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, Wilson offers additional bang for your fantasy buck in the game's more physical categories. The 24-year-old ranks second in the league in both hits (233) and penalty minutes (183), and he hasn't eased up of late.

Sit: Philipp Grubauer, G (37.9 percent)

Just as we settled into accepting Grubauer as the Capitals' No. 1 of present, the netminder was booted to the press box with a minor injury on Wednesday. While we're assured the ailment is as negligible as they come, a strong 35-save win over the Rangers from Braden Holtby offers Washington fresh food for thought. Don't be surprised to see more of a tandem approach in net before things get real in the postseason.

Winnipeg Jets (six games remaining)

Start: Kyle Connor, LW (57.2 percent)

It's most likely too late, but if the rookie winger is somehow available, jump on him immediately. Presented as an under-the-radar fantasy favorite in this space for months now, Connor has recently exploded for seven goals in six contests. If nothing else, after skating most of 2017-18 on a top line with Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele, the 2015 first-rounder should be on every manager's radar next season.

Sit: Connor Hellebuyck, G (89.6 percent)

Ideally, the Jets would prefer to rest their starting netminder a bit, now that second place in the Central is essentially secure. Rookie Eric Comrie is scheduled to face the Blackhawks Thursday, and Winnipeg has one remaining back-to-back set on their schedule. All told, Hellebuyck might have only three appearances left on tap.