Fantasy hockey forecaster: April 18 to April 24

Jordan Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes has six goals in his last five games. Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire

With the penultimate week of the season upon us, it behooves me to change up the format of the forecaster a bit this week to get the most information out as possible. As you look to close out your fantasy hockey campaign, the impact of every roster move you make is magnified under this limited remaining schedule.

Let's have a look at each team, their remaining games and which players are poised for a strong finish that you can use to your advantage.

Anaheim Ducks (six games left - Jackets, Kings, Kings, Blues, Sharks, Stars): The Ducks schedule is split into one more game this week, three next week and two in the final week. Adam Henrique and Troy Terry are pairing up very well in recent weeks and are both playable next week with the three-game schedule. Since Ryan Getzlaf has been their linemate lately, you could also consider using him in deeper leagues; Maybe we get a strong finish from the Ducks captain in the final six games of his career.

Arizona Coyotes (eight games left - Flames, Canes, Hawks, Caps, Blues, Wild, Stars, Preds): Even with a four-game week on tap, I don't think there's much value here. It doesn't look like Jakob Chychrun will make a return this season and without Clayton Keller as an offensive catalyst, no one else is doing much.

Boston Bruins (eight games left - Pens, Blues, Pens, Rangers, Habs, Panthers, Sabres, Leafs): The Bruins finish to the season is marred by the uncertain status of David Pastrnak, who continues to miss time with no timetable for a return. Jesper Froden was called up to replace him on the second line with Taylor Hall and Erik Haula. Super-deep leagues could find value there if it's confirmed Pastrnak will miss all four games next week.

Buffalo Sabres (six games left - Flyers, Flyers, Devils, Isles, Bruins, Hawks): All in all, this is as decent as a six-game remaining schedule can get for an offense. Keep starting Jeff Skinner and Tage Thompson if it makes sense for your lineup. But that will depend on whether you need per-game totals or more counting stats; players with lesser per-game totals on teams with nine games remaining will eclipse them. The Sabres schedule breaks down to two games this week, next week and in the final week, so they won't be a great source for head-to-head formats.


Tage Thompson nets power-play goal

Tage Thompson nets power-play goal

Calgary Flames (eight games left - Coyotes, Hawks, Preds, Stars, Canucks, Preds, Wild, Jets): Not much to see here, as which Flames that have fantasy value doesn't change often. It's perhaps notable that Andrew Mangiapane is getting some power-play looks with the top unit. The Flames are approaching a dangerous spot in the standings where they can't catch the Avs for best record in the West and can't be caught by the Oilers for best in the Pacific, so a relaxed lineup for the final week of the season is possible for the team to rest some star players.

Carolina Hurricanes (seven games left - Avs, Coyotes, Jets, Devils, Isles, Rangers, Devils): The Hurricanes have one of the better penultimate weeks, with a four-game schedule that features some easier contests for the offense. Jordan Staal has really picked up his fantasy production of late, as his line with Nino Niederreiter and Jesper Fast is dominating opponents at five-on-five (second in the league in goals percentage for lines with at least 400 minutes together). Given the schedule, Frederik Andersen might have the best fantasy finish among goaltenders.

Chicago Blackhawks (eight games left - Preds, Flames, Coyotes, Kings, Sharks, Flyers, Knights, Sabres): The Blackhawks are just playing out the season at this point, but the defense keeps posting stellar hits and blocked shots fantasy numbers. Calvin de Haan and Jake McCabe remain consistent and available options to use on your blue line - especially with a four-game week on tap.

Colorado Avalanche (eight games left - Canes, Caps, Kraken, Oil, Jets, Blues, Preds, Wild): The Avs won't be able to rest on their laurels too much unless the Panthers start to falter (high unlikely), as the President's Trophy is still a valuable end-game strategy for home ice. The goaltender rotation has been Darcy Kuemper twice, then Pavel Francouz for a game, which might be something they keep going. Both have been stellar for fantasy, bu it doesn't get Francouz more than a single start in any one week. It doesn't sound like a lock that we'll see more of Nazem Kadri this regular season, but he's probably worth holding still in case we do.

Columbus Blue Jackets (eight games left - Kings, Ducks, Sharks, Sens, Oil, Bolts, Bolts, Pens): Three more points by the Capitals ends any long-shot hopes for the Jackets to make the postseason, so that narrative should be over soon. For some reason, the combination of Patrik Laine, Jack Roslovic and Gustav Nyquist has been used infrequently this season, despite being the best combination the Jackets have had in goals per 60 minutes. They are getting a chance together lately and the results have been extremely positive. Roslovic, in particular, could be an option for your team.

Dallas Stars (eight games left - Sharks, Canucks, Oil, Flames, Kraken, Knights, Coyotes, Ducks): The Stars will be fighting down to the wire for a playoff berth. Half of their remaining games also come against teams already out of the running. That said, the lineup is healthy and there isn't much of a wedge for any sneaky fantasy plays unless we get some early confirmations on when Scott Wedgewood (decent fantasy stats since trade) will be in the crease.

Detroit Red Wings (eight games left - Rangers, Panthers, Bolts, Panthers, Pens, Devils, Leafs, Devils): I don't know that there's much left to squeeze out of the Red Wings from a fantasy perspective. You start Dylan Larkin and Moritz Seider in any leagues, and Tyler Bertuzzi and Jakub Vrana in deeper ones. That's about it. Alex Nedeljkovic's recent shutout of his former club aside, this is some stuff competition for the remainder of the season, so I'd expect more negative results than positive.

Edmonton Oilers (seven games left - Knights, Stars, Avs, Jackets, Pens, Sharks, Canucks): Mike Smith is creating some separation on Mikko Koskinen again, and with the Oilers still hunting the Flames and fending off some other clubs below them in the standings, we should see plenty of Smith. Only the final two games of the season are a back-to-back set. Also don't overlook Cody Ceci, who continues to average better than 2.0 fantasy points per game of late thanks mostly to hits and blocked shots.

Florida Panthers (nine games left - Jets, Wings, Isles, Wings, Leafs, Bolts, Bruins, Sens, Habs): The main source of point shots with Aaron Ekblad out, Gustav Forsling has more shots on goal than any other Panther in the past seven games. Pump him into your lineup as the Panthers still have a heavy schedule and Ekblad doesn't look to be making a sudden return before the playoffs. If the Panthers take their foot of the gas, it won't be until the final couple of games as they face the Sens and Habs to close out the season, but still have to push to beat the Avs to the best overall record for home ice when they eventually meet in the Stanley Cup Final.


Gustav Forsling wins it for Florida in OT

Gustav Forsling's wrister beats Andrew Hammond as the Panthers complete a comeback from down 6-2 and win 7-6 win in overtime.

Los Angeles Kings (six games left - Jackets, Ducks, Hawks, Ducks, Kraken, Canucks): While the six remaining games doesn't include a single team currently in the playoff picture, it's only six games. The Kings seem the most likely of the currently seeded teams to fall out of the postseason. That said, the schedule couldn't be kinder, so it may come down to the wire. If I'm using anyone unexpected, it's Phillip Danault, as his line with Trevor Moore and Viktor Arvidsson easily leads the Kings in goals per 60 minutes and Danault has found the scoresheet at least once in 10 fo the past 14 games.

Minnesota Wild (nine games left - Blues, Sharks, Habs, Canucks, Kraken, Preds, Coyotes, Flames, Avs): A four-game week on tap includes three teams currently out of the playoff picture. With the current straight rotation, Cam Talbot will get the Habs and Kraken, while Marc-Andre Fleury would get the Canucks and Preds. Given the matchups on tap, Talbot has the better outlook. But obviously both are still in the fantasy conversation. Matt Boldy didn't miss a beat with his injury and needs to be back in lineups again.

Montreal Canadiens (eight games left - Isles, Caps, Wild, Flyers, Sens, Bruins, Rangers, Panthers): Believe it or not, we are going to get a taste of Carey Price to close out the season. I'll tell you what: If he looks sharp against the Islanders on Friday, I'm taking a chance. He could get five more games after Friday based on the back-to-back sets left for the Habs. I'm not suggesting you activate and start him Friday, but if you need goaltending and can tuck him onto your bench right away, do it.

Nashville Predators (eight games left - Hawks, Blues, Flames, Bolts, Wild, Flames, Avs, Coyotes): Of the eight remaining games, there are two back-to-back sets, so we may see a touch less of Juuse Saros than usual. The Predators remain in the thick of the playoff hunt and have a very difficult schedule to play out. It could be them, not the Kings, that make way for the Golden Knights to squeeze into the postseason.

New Jersey Devils (eight games left - Kraken, Knights, Sabres, Canes, Wings, Sens, Canes, Wings): Nico Hischier is doing his best and actually keeping Yegor Sharangovich and himself afloat as fantasy options, but without Jack Hughes the conversation for fantasy definitely ends there. Fabian Zetterlund has made a little noise since his debut by playing on a line with Hischier and Sharangovich, but I'm not banking on any of this success to continue with my fantasy season on the line.

New York Islanders (nine games left - Habs, Leafs, Panthers, Rangers, Sabres, Canes, Caps, Caps, Bolts): The Islanders are two Capitals victories away from elimination, or will all but knock themselves out if they don't sweep the Habs and Leafs this weekend. It would be fun if the Islanders were still in the hunt for back-to-back games against the Capitals in the final week, but it's not a likely scenario. Fantasy-wise, it seems everyone but Jean-Gabriel Pageau has cooled off of late.

New York Rangers (seven games left - Wings, Jets, Isles, Bruins, Canes, Habs, Caps): Kaapo Kakko is back, but not in the top six, but also collected two goals in his third game back. Make of that what you will, but without a scoring-line role, I'm not interested.

Ottawa Senators (eight games left - Leafs, Kraken, Canucks, Jackets, Habs, Devils, Panthers, Flyers): Tim Stutzle has joined Josh Norris, Brady Tkachuk and Drake Batherson on the list of must-starts from the Sens offense now that the team is intermingling them among two lines, instead of having one stacked trio. Next week is a four-game week against fellow non-playoff squads, so make sure to have them ready to go.

Philadelphia Flyers (eight games left - Sabres, Sabres, Leafs, Habs, Pens, Hawks, Jets, Sens): Not much to see here, though the schedule is lighter than some of the other non-playoff teams. Bobby Brink is getting a decent-enough clip of ice time that he could make some noise, but hasn't popped off through two games. Maybe this set against the Sabres is what does it.

Pittsburgh Penguins (six games left - Bruins, Bruins, Wings, Flyers, Oil, Jackets): With Evgeni Malkin suspended for two more game still, Rickard Rakell has really shown well playing with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel. Given he gets two more games there - and could stick there for four more after - he's worth getting into your lineup.


Rikard Rakell extends Pittsburgh's lead with his second goal of the game

Rikard Rakell extends Pittsburgh's lead with his second goal of the game

San Jose Sharks (nine games left - Stars, Wild, Jackets, Blues, Hawks, Knights, Ducks, Oil, Kraken): Since taking over for Jacob Middleton as Erik Karlsson's defense partner, Jacob Megna is in the fantasy conversation. He's posted 2.0 fantasy points per game over the past seven games thanks to his peripheral stats.

Seattle Kraken (nine games left - Devils, Sens, Avs, Wild, Stars, Canucks, Kings, Sharks, Jets): If he keeps getting 17-plus minutes of ice time on the top line and the top power-play, yes, I think Matty Beniers is worth rostering for nine remaining games.

St. Louis Blues (eight games left - Wild, Preds, Bruins, Sharks, Coyotes, Ducks, Avs, Knights): The Blues have one fewer game in hand as they jostle with the Wild for home-ice advantage in what looks to be a series against each other to start the playoffs. But having the hottest line in hockey might make up for one fewer game: Vladimir Tarasenko, Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich are on fire. We've been warning about the underutilization of Thomas for weeks around here, but it's better late than never to add him in the 60 percent of leagues (yep, actually) in which he is available. Torey Krug is also back to health and back on the point on the power play. He should also be back in your lineup.

Tampa Bay Lightning (eight games left - Jets, Wings, Leafs, Preds, Panthers, Jackets, Jackets, Isles): I mean, I'd be tired too if I'd already put in almost 19,000 minutes in the crease since the 2016-17 season, second only to Connor Hellebuyck, but also another 4,332 minutes in the playoffs since then, leading all goaltenders and easily eclipsing Hellebuyck for most minutes overall. That's not to excuse the flat finish to the season we are getting from Andrei Vasilevskiy, but it's why you need to stay on top of goaltending even when you have the best in the game in your lineup.

Toronto Maple Leafs (eight games left - Sens, Isles, Flyers, Bolts, Panthers, Caps, Wings, Bruins): William Nylander has responded well to a shift to a third scoring line, while Ilya Mikheyev seems to be benefitting from taking his place on John Tavares' wing. The Leafs will have a hard time catching the Panthers, but will be pushed to the end of the season by the Lightning trying to steal home ice.

Vancouver Canucks (seven games left - Stars, Sens, Wild, Flames, Kraken, Kings, Oil): The Canucks are still a very long shot for the postseason, but are on a roll at the moment. All seven of their games are Monday or later, so there is time to adjust for adding some players. Alex Chiasson, who pops up for fantasy from time to time depending on his current role, is in a good place again. He's winging J.T. Miller and getting looks on the Canucks power play.

Vegas Golden Knights (seven games left - Oil, Devils, Caps, Sharks, Stars, Hawks, Blues): The Knights are between a rock and a hard place for what to do in the crease. They can't afford any losses as they try to scratch into the playoffs. But Robin Lehner has not looked in peak form, while upstart Logan Thompson continues to shine in every opportunity. Like the Golden Knights likely have to do, I see an argument for a leap of faith with Thompson in your fantasy crease now. Desperate times, both in the NHL and in fantasy, can call for desperate measures.

Washington Capitals (eight games left - Habs, Avs, Knights, Coyotes, Leafs, Isles, Isles, Rangers): Only Radko Gudas and Tanner Jeannot have thrown more body checks than Martin Fehervary during the past 15 days - a span in which the Capitals defenseman has managed 2.3 fantasy points per game. It seems with John Carlson finding last season's form, his defense partner has picked up the fantasy pace as well.

Winnipeg Jets (eight games left - Panthers, Bolts, Rangers, Canes, Avs, Flyers, Flames, Kraken): If their playoff chances weren't already slim to nil without considering the schedule, the opponents on tap really push those chances to near zero. The Jets are also currently without Mark Scheifele on their road trip. You can still lean on some assets for the stretch run, but I'm less enthused about some of the periphery options from the team, such as Paul Stastny.

Fantasy Forecaster: April 18 to April 24

The penultimate week of the season features all teams except the Buffalo Sabres with at least three games.