Fantasy hockey rankings: How Hurricanes, Wild adapted to injuries

Sebastian Aho of the Carolina Hurricanes scored a hat trick on Saturday. Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images

Heading into afternoon action on Sunday, the Minnesota Wild and Carolina Hurricanes had each played two games without star wingers Kirill Kaprizov and Andrei Svechnikov. Two different approaches have been on display, with the Wild attempting to be minimally invasive to their line structure and the Hurricanes eventually throwing the forwards in a blender.

Prior to Sunday's game for the Wild, both teams have earned two wins and two losses in the standings without their stars, but the fantasy results have been very different. And the divergence continued Sunday afternoon with the Wild downing the Washington Capitals on the back of a Matt Boldy hat trick.

For the Wild, they've been steady in their approach and have kept their second and third lines intact. Using a combination of Sam Steel and Iowa Wild call-up Samuel Walker from the AHL, the team has simply plugged Kaprizov's spot on the top line. The only other real change was Ryan Hartman getting boosted to the top power-play unit in Kaprizov's stead.

As expected, Matt Boldy has been the one to step up and shine with Kaprizov out. He's up to nine points in five games on the back of Sunday's hat trick, which includes a quarter of all his goals this season. The production flowing through this second line has meant Marcus Johansson has seven points in the five games without Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson Ek has collected five. The bump to the top power-play unit has even helped keep Hartman fueled, with three of his six points on the advantage.

For the Hurricanes, they tried to follow the same path by simply dressing Jesse Puljujarvi for Svechnikov on the top line with Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis. But it didn't go well, as all three players combined for a single assist across the first three games without Svechnikov. For Saturday's matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers, the Hurricanes went all bets off and mixed up the top three lines. The change worked for the top line, with Aho earning a hat trick on a line with Jordan Martinook and Martin Necas.

It was maybe the first time this season the Canes have broken up the dominant third line of Martinook, Jordan Staal and Jesper Fast. The line has easily been one of the best in the NHL this season, ranking top 10 in Corsi percentage and one of only two lines in the NHL to play more than 600 minutes together at five-on-five (the Dallas Stars top line is the other). The new deployment is good for Martinook and Necas, OK for the trio of Jordan Staal, Teuvo Teravainen and Puljujarvi, and not great from the line of Fast, Seth Jarvis and Jesperi Kotkaniemi. But we'll have to wait and see how the Canes settle in for the stretch run without Svechnikov.

Forward notes

Timo Meier, W, New Jersey Devils (down eight spots to No. 32): There it is! After eight games of hit and miss results for Meier since arriving via trade from the San Jose Sharks, the Devils finally relented and tried him on a line with Nico Hischier on Sunday. Though Meier only picked up an assist, the line connected for four goals. Fingers crossed this is finally the right spot in the lineup for Meier to get back to being Meier.

Patrik Laine, W, Columbus Blue Jackets (up 38 spots to No. 46): Mathematically eliminated from the playoffs looks good on Laine. He's playing his best hockey of the season locked in with Kirill Marchenko at his side. In his past 11 games, Laine has posted six goals and nine assists.

Clayton Keller, C/W, Arizona Coyotes (up 15 spots to No. 58): Since the all-star break, in which Keller participated in the festivities, only Connor McDavid has more points. Keller's 34 points in 20 games ties him with Nathan MacKinnon, eight points back of McDavid for the post-all-star scoring lead.

Tommy Novak, C, Nashville Predators (up 75 spots to No. 70): A real eye-opener to run out the season for the Predators, Novak sits 26th among skaters for fantasy points per 60 minutes this season. His 30 points in 36 games don't jump right off the page, but consider that he didn't start pushing into the top six with his production until Feb. 18. Since then, he's tied for 13th in points with 19 in 15 games -- the same as David Pastrnak (nine goals, 10 assists).

Anthony Duclair, W, Florida Panthers (down 56 spots to No. 207): When Duclair made his season debut and fired off nine shots with two points in his first two games, it was encouraging. But, in six games since then, he's fired just 12 shots and collected one assist. It looks like this was a long wait for a droppable fantasy asset.

Jonathan Huberdeau, W, Calgary Flames (enters top 250 at No. 220): There's some hope that maybe you can squeeze a little value out of Huberdeau for the final stretch of the season. After a loss to the Coyotes last week, the Flames mixed up their lines again. Huberdeau landed with the consistent duo of Mikael Backlund and Blake Coleman. While the other new combination of Elias Lindholm, Tyler Toffoli and Andrew Mangiapane is the one that popped off the past two games with five goals, Huberdeau is in a fresh spot and his line dominated possession (61.9% Corsi) against two good teams (Golden Knights and Stars).

Defense notes

Vince Dunn, D, Seattle Kraken (up 46 spots to No. 90): This is the version of Dunn many of us expected with the expansion Kraken last season. But like the franchise, it looks like Dunn just needed a season to settle in before taking the competition by storm. He's ranked 21st among all defensemen for fantasy points, riding a 12-game point streak. His 13th goal on Thursday set a new career high, but at just 26 years old, it might not be the last time he does that.

Brandon Montour, D, Florida Panthers (up 36 spots to No. 104): Montour has ebbed and flowed in fantasy value this season as a balance for Aaron Ekblad. When Ekblad has been out or struggling, Montour has shined. Ekblad is struggling enough lately that the Panthers have gone with Montour on the power play without Ekblad for the past three games.

Juuso Valimaki, D, Arizona Coyotes (up 25 spots to No. 128): Jakob Chychrun played his last game for the Coyotes on Feb. 10. Since Feb. 11, Valimaki has posted 17 points. Only Miro Heiskanen and Dunn have more in that time frame. The former Flames first-rounder just needed the path cleared to start contributing.

Jake Sanderson, D, Ottawa Senators (up 33 spots to No. 168): With the bounty of power-play quarterbacks available to the Senators, the team has taken the interesting strategy of putting the first and second name you might think of on the second unit together (Jakob Chychrun and Thomas Chabot), while Sanderson holds down the point on the top unit.

Andrew Peeke, D, Columbus Blue Jackets (up 25 spots to No. 174): Of the 115.7 fantasy points Peeke had generated prior to Sunday's tilt, 110.2 of them were from primary fantasy points (no special teams bonus, no secondary assists). It looked like Erik Gudbranson would benefit more from the extra ice time cleared out with Vladislav Gavrikov, but Peeke is up to 2.1 fantasy points per game (FPPG) for the past month.

John Carlson, D, Washington Capitals (enters top 250 at No. 178): Looking at a possible return this week, Carlson would, of course, draw right back into fantasy lineups, too. We'll have to see how ready his is to step right back into his usual roles after taking a slap shot to the head in December. His return would negatively impact on Rasmus Sandin, who has been doing an admirable job as the power-play quarterback since coming over in trade.

Goaltender notes

Thatcher Demko, G, Vancouver Canucks (up 24 spots to No. 68): As mentioned last week, the Canucks have one of the better remaining schedules and Demko bounced back very nicely last week after having a rough outing. Following -1.2 fantasy points in a loss to the Coyotes, Demko responded with a 38-save, 7.6-fantasy point game against the Kings.

Logan Thompson, G, Vegas Golden Knights (up 70 spots to No. 163): Back at practice, it's tough to project the Golden Knights crease, which has had five different goaltenders win a game since Feb. 9. Jonathan Quick and Jiri Patera have been splitting starts, but Thompson (out since Feb. 9) and Laurent Brossoit are back at practice, and Adin Hill is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. If Thompson is ready to go, the assumption has to be that he wins his crease back outright -- as solid as Hill was during his absence. Quick, after some solid outings, posted a -7.4-fantasy point game in his last appearance, potential bursting that bubble. If you see any more positive news about Thompson returning, activate him with confidence.

ESPN fantasy NHL top-250 rankings

1. Connor McDavid, C, Edm (F1)
2. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Col (F2)
3. David Pastrnak, RW, Bos (F3)
4. Elias Pettersson, C, Van (F4)
5. Cale Makar, D, Col (D1)
6. Mikko Rantanen, RW, Col (F5)
7. Leon Draisaitl, LW, Edm (F6)
8. Auston Matthews, C, Tor (F7)
9. Alexandar Georgiev, G, Col (G1)
10. Roman Josi, D, Nsh (D2)
11. Tim Stutzle, LW, Ott (F8)
12. Connor Hellebuyck, G, Wpg (G2)
13. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, Fla (F9)
14. Tage Thompson, C, Buf (F10)
15. Rasmus Dahlin, D, Buf (D3)
16. Linus Ullmark, G, Bos (G3)
17. Jake Oettinger, G, Dal (G4)
18. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, TB (G5)
19. Nikita Kucherov, RW, TB (F11)
20. Mika Zibanejad, C, NYR (F12)
21. Jack Hughes, C, NJ (F13)
22. Igor Shesterkin, G, NYR (G6)
23. Mitchell Marner, RW, Tor (F14)
24. Brayden Point, C, TB (F15)
25. Charlie McAvoy, D, Bos (D4)
26. Aleksander Barkov, C, Fla (F16)
27. Moritz Seider, D, Det (D5)
28. Kris Letang, D, Pit (D6)
29. Dougie Hamilton, D, NJ (D7)
30. Ilya Sorokin, G, NYI (G7)
31. Jason Robertson, LW, Dal (F17)
32. Timo Meier, RW, NJ (F18)
33. Brady Tkachuk, LW, Ott (F19)
34. Josh Morrissey, D, Wpg (D8)
35. John Tavares, C, Tor (F20)
36. Sidney Crosby, C, Pit (F21)
37. Jakob Chychrun, D, Ott (D9)
38. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Wsh (F22)
39. J.T. Miller, C, Van (F23)
40. Alex Pietrangelo, D, Vgk (D10)
41. Nico Hischier, C, NJ (F24)
42. William Nylander, RW, Tor (F25)
43. Jack Eichel, C, Vgk (F26)
44. Adam Fox, D, NYR (D11)
45. Filip Gustavsson, G, Min (G8)
46. Patrik Laine, RW, Cls (F27)
47. Erik Karlsson, D, SJ (D12)
48. Sebastian Aho, C, Car (F28)
49. Mikhail Sergachev, D, TB (D13)
50. Artemi Panarin, LW, NYR (F29)
51. Roope Hintz, C, Dal (F30)
52. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Edm (F31)
53. Juuse Saros, G, Nsh (G9)
54. Pavel Buchnevich, RW, StL (F32)
55. Steven Stamkos, C, TB (F33)
56. Boone Jenner, C, Cls (F34)
57. Evan Bouchard, D, Edm (D14)
58. Clayton Keller, C, Ari (F35)
59. Valeri Nichushkin, RW, Col (F36)
60. Thomas Chabot, D, Ott (D15)
61. Brent Burns, D, Car (D16)
62. Jake Guentzel, LW, Pit (F37)
63. Tristan Jarry, G, Pit (G10)
64. Claude Giroux, LW, Ott (F38)
65. Kyle Connor, LW, Wpg (F39)
66. Evgeni Malkin, C, Pit (F40)
67. Victor Hedman, D, TB (D17)
68. Thatcher Demko, G, Van (G11)
69. Dylan Larkin, C, Det (F41)
70. Tommy Novak, C, Nsh (F42)
71. Patrick Kane, RW, NYR (F43)
72. Anze Kopitar, C, LA (F44)
73. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Fla (G12)
74. Patrice Bergeron, C, Bos (F45)
75. Dawson Mercer, C, NJ (F46)
76. Brad Marchand, LW, Bos (F47)
77. Jordan Kyrou, C, StL (F48)
78. Jacob Trouba, D, NYR (D18)
79. Vitek Vanecek, G, NJ (G13)
80. Alex Tuch, RW, Buf (F49)
81. Darcy Kuemper, G, Wsh (G14)
82. Dmitry Orlov, D, Bos (D19)
83. Joonas Korpisalo, G, LA (G15)
84. Jared McCann, LW, Sea (F50)
85. Jeremy Swayman, G, Bos (G16)
86. Mark Scheifele, C, Wpg (F51)
87. Ilya Samsonov, G, Tor (G17)
88. Jake DeBrusk, LW, Bos (F52)
89. Nick Schmaltz, C, Ari (F53)
90. Vince Dunn, D, Sea (D20)
91. Shea Theodore, D, Vgk (D21)
92. Quinn Hughes, D, Van (D22)
93. Vincent Trocheck, C, NYR (F54)
94. Jeff Skinner, LW, Buf (F55)
95. Rasmus Sandin, D, Wsh (D23)
96. Martin Necas, C, Car (F56)
97. Stuart Skinner, G, Edm (G18)
98. Evander Kane, LW, Edm (F57)
99. Miro Heiskanen, D, Dal (D24)
100. Rasmus Andersson, D, Cgy (D25)
101. Seth Jones, D, Chi (D26)
102. Chris Kreider, LW, NYR (F58)
103. Joe Pavelski, RW, Dal (F59)
104. Brandon Montour, D, Fla (D27)
105. Frederik Andersen, G, Car (G19)
106. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Min (G20)
107. Mike Matheson, D, Mon (D28)
108. Alex DeBrincat, LW, Ott (F60)
109. Philipp Grubauer, G, Sea (G21)
110. Pierre-Luc Dubois, C, Wpg (F61)
111. Bowen Byram, D, Col (D29)
112. Rickard Rakell, C, Pit (F62)
113. Dylan Cozens, C, Buf (F63)
114. Jared Spurgeon, D, Min (D30)
115. Jesper Bratt, RW, NJ (F64)
116. Joel Eriksson Ek, C, Min (F65)
117. Filip Forsberg, LW, Nsh (F66)
118. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, NYR (F67)
119. Kevin Fiala, C, LA (F68)
120. Zach Hyman, LW, Edm (F69)
121. Adam Larsson, D, Sea (D31)
122. J.T. Compher, RW, Col (F70)
123. Logan Couture, C, SJ (F71)
124. Andrei Kuzmenko, LW, Van (F72)
125. Devon Toews, D, Col (D32)
126. Mats Zuccarello, RW, Min (F73)
127. Justin Faulk, D, StL (D33)
128. Juuso Valimaki, D, Ari (D34)
129. Owen Tippett, RW, Phi (F74)
130. Matt Duchene, C, Nsh (F75)
131. Bo Horvat, C, NYI (F76)
132. Darnell Nurse, D, Edm (D35)
133. Brandon Hagel, LW, TB (F77)
134. Drake Batherson, C, Ott (F78)
135. Jeff Petry, D, Pit (D36)
136. Carter Verhaeghe, C, Fla (F79)
137. Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Car (D37)
138. Rafael Harvey-Pinard, LW, Mon (F80)
139. Jamie Benn, LW, Dal (F81)
140. Matt Boldy, LW, Min (F82)
141. Adrian Kempe, C, LA (F83)
142. Ville Husso, G, Det (G22)
143. John Klingberg, D, Min (D38)
144. Morgan Rielly, D, Tor (D39)
145. Brayden Schenn, C, StL (F84)
146. Hampus Lindholm, D, Bos (D40)
147. Jakub Vrana, C, StL (F85)
148. Elias Lindholm, RW, Cgy (F86)
149. Jason Zucker, LW, Pit (F87)
150. Travis Konecny, RW, Phi (F88)
151. Alec Martinez, D, Vgk (D41)
152. Pheonix Copley, G, LA (0)
153. Ivan Barbashev, C, Vgk (F89)
154. Sam Reinhart, RW, Fla (F90)
155. Tomas Hertl, C, SJ (F91)
156. Brock Nelson, C, NYI (F92)
157. David Savard, D, Mon (D42)
158. Robert Thomas, C, StL (F93)
159. Samuel Girard, D, Col (D43)
160. Aaron Ekblad, D, Fla (D44)
161. Torey Krug, D, StL (D45)
162. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Cls (F94)
163. Logan Thompson, G, Vgk (G23)
164. Noah Dobson, D, NYI (D46)
165. Tyler Toffoli, RW, Cgy (F95)
166. Tom Wilson, RW, Wsh (F96)
167. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Wpg (F97)
168. Jake Sanderson, D, Ott (D47)
169. Sam Bennett, LW, Fla (F98)
170. Trevor Zegras, C, Ana (F99)
171. Tyson Barrie, D, Nsh (D48)
172. Jake Walman, D, Det (D49)
173. Adam Boqvist, D, Cls (D50)
174. Andrew Peeke, D, Cls (D51)
175. Jacob Markstrom, G, Cgy (G24)
176. Blake Wheeler, RW, Wpg (F100)
177. Nick Suzuki, C, Mon (F101)
178. John Carlson, D, Wsh (D52)
179. Matty Beniers, C, Sea (F102)
180. Tyler Bertuzzi, LW, Bos (F103)
181. Brayden McNabb, D, Vgk (D53)
182. Troy Terry, C, Ana (F104)
183. Viktor Arvidsson, RW, LA (F105)
184. Ryan McDonagh, D, Nsh (D54)
185. Mikael Backlund, C, Cgy (F106)
186. Noah Hanifin, D, Cgy (D55)
187. Jake McCabe, D, Tor (D56)
188. T.J. Oshie, RW, Wsh (F107)
189. Jonathan Marchessault, LW, Vgk (F108)
190. Alex Chiasson, RW, Det (F109)
191. Trevor van Riemsdyk, D, Wsh (D57)
192. Ondrej Palat, LW, NJ (F110)
193. Jonathan Quick, G, Vgk (G25)
194. Josh Anderson, RW, Mon (F111)
195. Nino Niederreiter, RW, Wpg (F112)
196. Alexander Kerfoot, C, Tor (F113)
197. Drew Doughty, D, LA (D58)
198. Colton Parayko, D, StL (D59)
199. Teuvo Teravainen, RW, Car (F114)
200. Eeli Tolvanen, LW, Sea (F115)
201. Brock Boeser, RW, Van (F116)
202. Philip Tomasino, C, Nsh (F117)
203. Anders Lee, LW, NYI (F118)
204. Anthony Beauvillier, LW, Van (F119)
205. Akira Schmid, G, NJ (G26)
206. Ryan Hartman, RW, Min (F120)
207. Anthony Duclair, LW, Fla (F121)
208. Phillip Danault, C, LA (F122)
209. Nazem Kadri, C, Cgy (F123)
210. Kaiden Guhle, D, Mon (0)
211. David Krejci, C, Bos (F124)
212. Lawson Crouse, LW, Ari (F125)
213. Tony DeAngelo, D, Phi (D60)
214. Ryan Graves, D, NJ (D61)
215. Cam Fowler, D, Ana (D62)
216. Matt Murray, G, Tor (G27)
217. Brandon Carlo, D, Bos (D63)
218. Eetu Luostarinen, C, Fla (F126)
219. Barrett Hayton, C, Ari (F127)
220. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Cgy (F128)
221. Erik Gudbranson, D, Cls (D64)
222. Travis Hamonic, D, Ott (D65)
223. Neal Pionk, D, Wpg (D66)
224. Kirill Marchenko, LW, Cls (F129)
225. Sean Durzi, D, LA (D67)
226. Alex Killorn, LW, TB (F130)
227. Dylan Strome, C, Wsh (F131)
228. Matt Roy, D, LA (D68)
229. Reilly Smith, RW, Vgk (F132)
230. Scott Laughton, C, Phi (F133)
231. Kevin Shattenkirk, D, Ana (D69)
232. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, C, NYI (F134)
233. Frank Vatrano, LW, Ana (F135)
234. Evan Rodrigues, C, Col (F136)
235. Marcus Pettersson, D, Pit (D70)
236. Martin Fehervary, D, Wsh (D71)
237. Mathew Barzal, C, NYI (F137)
238. Mattias Ekholm, D, Edm (D72)
239. K'Andre Miller, D, NYR (D73)
240. Damon Severson, D, NJ (D74)
241. Gabriel Vilardi, C, LA (F138)
242. Pavel Dorofeyev, RW, Vgk (F139)
243. Bryan Rust, RW, Pit (F140)
244. Filip Hronek, D, Van (D75)
245. Alexander Barabanov, LW, SJ (F141)
246. Radko Gudas, D, Fla (D76)
247. Jamie Oleksiak, D, Sea (D77)
248. Taylor Raddysh, RW, Chi (0)
249. Erik Haula, LW, NJ (F142)
250. Michael Bunting, LW, Tor (F143)

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