Top pickups for the stretch run

3/18/2014 - NHL
Mike Cammalleri has been on fire recently, with nine points in his past eight games. Gerry Thomas/NHLI/Getty Images

Heading into play on Tuesday, the Vancouver Canucks have the distinction of having played 71 games this season. That means they have only 11 games left. At the opposite end of the spectrum, several teams have played 67 games this season, leaving them with 15 to be played.

The bottom line is that there are somewhere between 11 and 15 games remaining for any single fantasy hockey asset and 11 to 15 games is a short enough time period for anyone to be red hot. An example you should easily be able to draw to mind is Wayne Simmonds, who was the best fantasy hockey player in the NHL for an 18-game span from the middle of December into January. Before that, he did almost nothing for fantasy hockey owners and since then, his value has been up and down (up lately). The point is that he will probably still be ranked outside the top 100 skaters going into next season, but for those few short weeks there was no one you would rather own.

With just a few short weeks left, it makes ranking hockey players a crazy task. Do we go off the deep end and start putting players who are getting hot among the top 10? They could easily have that value with just a dozen games left. Or do we remain steadfast with the expected ranking you are used to seeing, that starts with Sidney Crosby and is a list that remains pretty close to what you might expect?

The answer is to try and fall somewhere in the middle. We can't know for sure which hot streaks will last one more day, let alone three more weeks, but we can make a prediction like we always do. But that doesn't mean we can just ignore the body of work that a player has put in so far this season.

The Top 200

Note: Sean Allen's top 200 players are ranked for their expected performance in ESPN standard leagues from this point on, not on the statistics that have already been accrued. ESPN standard stats include goals, assists, power-play points, shots on goal, plus/minus, penalty minutes and average time on ice for skaters, and wins, goals-against average and save percentage for goalies. Last week's ranking is indicated in parentheses.

1. Sidney Crosby, F, Pit (1)
2. Alex Ovechkin, F, Was (2)
3. Evgeni Malkin, F, Pit (3)
4. Corey Perry, F, Ana (4)
5. Patrick Sharp, F, Chi (5)
6. Ryan Getzlaf, F, Ana (6)
7. P.K. Subban, D, Mon (7)
8. Chris Kunitz, F, Pit (8)
9. Patrick Kane, F, Chi (9)
10. Jonathan Toews, F, Chi (10)
11. Phil Kessel, F, Tor (11)
12. Steven Stamkos, F, TB (12)
13. Erik Karlsson, D, Ott (13)
14. Ryan Miller, G, StL (16)
15. Tuukka Rask, G, Bos (14)
16. Joe Pavelski, F, SJ (17)
17. Duncan Keith, D, Chi (18)
18. Jonathan Quick, G, LA (19)
19. James Neal, F, Pit (15)
20. Claude Giroux, F, Phi (20)
21. Zach Parise, F, Min (21)
22. Carey Price, G, Mon (22)
23. Ben Bishop, G, TB (23)
24. Anze Kopitar, F, LA (24)
25. David Backes, F, StL (25)
26. Logan Couture, F, SJ (27)
27. Martin St. Louis, F, NYR (28)
28. Patrick Marleau, F, SJ (29)
29. Antti Niemi, G, SJ (46)
30. Dustin Byfuglien, D, Wpg (30)
31. Semyon Varlamov, G, Col (31)
32. Tyler Seguin, F, Dal (32)
33. Shea Weber, D, Nsh (40)
34. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Pit (34)
35. Nicklas Backstrom, F, Was (35)
36. Marian Hossa, F, Chi (138)
37. Alexander Steen, F, StL (36)
38. Jamie Benn, F, Dal (37)
39. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Cls (42)
40. Darcy Kuemper, G, Min (135)
41. Eric Staal, F, Car (39)
42. Pekka Rinne, G, Nsh (41)
43. Jarome Iginla, F, Bos (47)
44. Drew Doughty, D, LA (33)
45. David Krejci, F, Bos (49)
46. Matt Duchene, F, Col (43)
47. Nathan MacKinnon, F, Col (44)
48. Joe Thornton, F, SJ (45)
49. Johan Franzen, F, Det (54)
50. Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR (26)
51. Corey Crawford, G, Chi (48)
52. James van Riemsdyk, F, Tor (50)
53. Jonas Hiller, G, Ana (51)
54. Rick Nash, F, NYR (38)
55. Roberto Luongo, G, Fla (52)
56. Thomas Vanek, F, Mon (53)
57. Matt Niskanen, D, Pit (55)
58. Alex Pietrangelo, D, StL (56)
59. Jeff Carter, F, LA (57)
60. Alexander Semin, F, Car (60)
61. Jaromir Jagr, F, NJ (61)
62. Mikko Koivu, F, Min (62)
63. Zdeno Chara, D, Bos (76)
64. Henrik Sedin, F, Van (63)
65. Gabriel Landeskog, F, Col (64)
66. Milan Lucic, F, Bos (65)
67. Kyle Okposo, F, NYI (70)
68. Taylor Hall, F, Edm (66)
69. Kevin Shattenkirk, D, StL (67)
70. Ryan Suter, D, Min (69)
71. Cory Schneider, G, NJ (59)
72. Keith Yandle, D, Pho (82)
73. Ryan O'Reilly, F, Col (101)
74. Scott Hartnell, F, Phi (71)
75. Gustav Nyquist, F, Det (72)
76. Dion Phaneuf, D, Tor (73)
77. Jason Spezza, F, Ott (74)
78. Niklas Kronwall, D, Det (75)
79. Blake Wheeler, F, Wpg (80)
80. Jakub Voracek, F, Phi (81)
81. Brent Seabrook, D, Chi (77)
82. Nazem Kadri, F, Tor (78)
83. Patrice Bergeron, F, Bos (79)
84. Marian Gaborik, F, LA (84)
85. Kyle Turris, F, Ott (85)
86. Radim Vrbata, F, Pho (86)
87. Andrei Markov, D, Mon (87)
88. Bobby Ryan, F, Ott (88)
89. Lee Stempniak, F, Pit (89)
90. Kari Lehtonen, G, Dal (187)
91. Max Pacioretty, F, Mon (90)
92. Jimmy Howard, G, Det (91)
93. Bryan Little, F, Wpg (92)
94. Jordan Eberle, F, Edm (93)
95. Jaden Schwartz, F, StL (94)
96. Victor Hedman, D, TB (95)
97. Clarke MacArthur, F, Ott (120)
98. Patrik Elias, F, NJ (96)
99. Jay Bouwmeester, D, StL (97)
100. Mark Giordano, D, Cgy (118)
101. T.J. Oshie, F, StL (98)
102. Andrew Ladd, F, Wpg (99)
103. Daniel Sedin, F, Van (157)
104. Ryan McDonagh, D, NYR (122)
105. Justin Williams, F, LA (102)
106. Brent Burns, F, SJ (103)
107. James Wisniewski, D, Cls (104)
108. Derek Stepan, F, NYR (105)
109. Steve Mason, G, Phi (111)
110. O. Ekman-Larsson, D, Pho (106)
111. Jeff Skinner, F, Car (107)
112. Brad Marchand, F, Bos (108)
113. David Legwand, F, Det (109)
114. Anton Khudobin, G, Car (110)
115. Martin Hanzal, F, Pho (150)
116. Jonathan Bernier, G, Tor (68)
117. Ryan Johansen, F, Cls (112)
118. Jason Pominville, F, Min (113)
119. Christian Ehrhoff, D, Buf (114)
120. David Perron, F, Edm (115)
121. Joni Ortio, G, Cgy (NA)
122. Jack Johnson, D, Cls (116)
123. Adam Henrique, F, NJ (117)
124. Lubomir Visnovsky, D, NYI (143)
125. Ales Hemsky, F, Ott (142)
126. Craig Anderson, G, Ott (83)
127. Jaroslav Halak, G, Was (141)
128. Matt Moulson, F, Min (121)
129. Tyler Bozak, F, Tor (123)
130. Evander Kane, F, Wpg (124)
131. Torey Krug, D, Bos (126)
132. Paul Stastny, F, Col (127)
133. Erik Johnson, D, Col (145)
134. Troy Brouwer, F, Was (147)
135. Mike Smith, G, Pho (167)
136. Shane Doan, F, Pho (131)
137. Mike Green, D, Was (132)
138. Brandon Dubinsky, F, Cls (133)
139. Brad Richards, F, NYR (134)
140. Mikael Granlund, F, Min (136)
141. Marek Zidlicky, D, NJ (137)
142. Chris Kreider, F, NYR (139)
143. Ben Scrivens, G, Edm (140)
144. Kimmo Timonen, D, Phi (164)
145. Joffrey Lupul, F, Tor (119)
146. Valtteri Filppula, F, TB (151)
147. Olli Maatta, D, Pit (144)
148. Ondrej Pavelec, G, Wpg (125)
149. Andrej Sekera, D, Car (146)
150. Evgeni Nabokov, G, NYI (148)
151. John Carlson, D, Was (149)
152. Alex Goligoski, D, Dal (181)
153. Wayne Simmonds, F, Phi (160)
154. Tyson Barrie, D, Col (152)
155. Tomas Plekanec, F, Mon (153)
156. Radko Gudas, D, TB (154)
157. Jason Garrison, D, Van (155)
158. Alex Burrows, F, Van (NA)
159. Loui Eriksson, F, Bos (156)
160. Jussi Jokinen, F, Pit (158)
161. Cam Fowler, D, Ana (129)
162. Tobias Enstrom, D, Wpg (NA)
163. Pavel Datsyuk, F, Det (175)
164. Ondrej Palat, F, TB (199)
165. Alex Killorn, F, TB (161)
166. Nathan Horton, F, Cls (162)
167. R. Nugent-Hopkins, F, Edm (163)
168. Nick Bonino, F, Ana (165)
169. Carl Hagelin, F, NYR (185)
170. Dan Boyle, D, SJ (166)
171. Daniel Alfredsson, F, Det (168)
172. Mike Richards, F, LA (169)
173. Antoine Vermette, F, Pho (170)
174. Kevin Bieksa, D, Van (172)
175. Mike Fisher, F, Nsh (173)
176. Cam Ward, G, Car (176)
177. Milan Michalek, F, Ott (177)
178. Brendan Gallagher, F, Mon (179)
179. Nino Niederreiter, F, Min (180)
180. Brandon Saad, F, Chi (100)
181. Mikael Backlund, F, Cgy (191)
182. Frans Nielsen, F, NYI (NA)
183. Tim Thomas, G, Dal (128)
184. Martin Brodeur, G, NJ (198)
185. F. Beauchemin, D, Ana (182)
186. Brian Campbell, D, Fla (184)
187. Jordan Staal, F, Car (NA)
188. Roman Josi, D, Nsh (186)
189. Andrew Shaw, F, Chi (189)
190. Frederik Andersen, G, Ana (190)
191. Mike Cammalleri, F, Cgy (197)
192. Hampus Lindholm, D, Ana (193)
193. Mats Zuccarello, F, NYR (194)
194. David Desharnais, F, Mon (195)
195. Cody Hodgson, F, Buf (196)
196. James Reimer, G, Tor (NA)
197. Justin Schultz, D, Edm (NA)
198. Tyler Johnson, F, TB (200)
199. Ryan Kesler, F, Van (58)
200. Martin Erat, F, Pho (NA)

Here are some of the upstarts that have a chance to sustain an impact during the remainder of the season, and should be available in your league:

Alex Burrows, F, Vancouver Canucks: Burrows was a terrible fantasy asset overall this season, and there is nothing he can do to change that perception in the final 11 games. But he can certainly mitigate some of the damage thanks to his performance lately, and it could get even better. Finally snapping his personal scoring drought this past Wednesday, Burrows has scored five goals and added three assists in the past week. Playing with Henrik Sedin, as he has for the past few seasons, the two players have re-kindled their connection without brother Daniel Sedin in the picture. There's even better news, as Daniel is skating again in his attempt to recover from a groin injury in time to spur the Canucks' hunt for a playoff spot. Add Daniel back to a line with Henrik and Burrows, and you could have one of the best lines in the NHL; just look at the past few seasons for proof.

Mike Cammalleri, F Calgary Flames: With nine points in the past eight games, there are probably more than a few teams in the playoff hunt looking at Cammalleri's production and kicking themselves for not grabbing him at the trade deadline. Playing on a line with dynamic rookie Sean Monahan, Cammalleri is keeping the connection on the ice with Monahan for the power play as well, with five of his nine points over the span coming with the man advantage. We know Cammalleri has elite scoring, he just doesn't flash it all that often for sustained periods of time. Well, the good news is that a couple more weeks isn't all that long to hope for more production.

Al Montoya, G, Winnipeg Jets: Though he flies under the radar for many fantasy owners, Montoya's goals-against average (2.18) ranks seventh in the league, and his save percentage (.924) has him tied for tenth. Ondrej Pavelec currently ranks 35th in both categories. It's not a complete picture, as Montoya has shown an inability to shoulder a heavy load in the past, but that could have changed. He is getting a chance right now with Pavelec on the sidelines. It's not clear if Pavelec will be out longer, but Montoya has been very consistent in net for the Jets -- and has had streaks of brilliance in the past -- and if Pavelec misses more time, Montoya could be a boon to fantasy owners. Even in losses, he is posting solid ratios.

Tobias Enstrom, D, Winnipeg Jets: Speaking of the Jets, Enstrom has made his first appearance in the fantasy consciousness in a long time. A three-point outburst against the Dallas Stars this past weekend gives him five points in the past six games, which is reason enough for fantasy owners to consider adding him. For some reason, his ownership level never dropped all that low despite his near zero contributions to the fantasy world this season. But, he is available in around four percent of ESPN.com leagues, and is trending in the right direction for the remaining games. It may be that Enstrom is finally getting used to his new defense partner, Zach Bogosian, since Dustin Byfuglien was converted back to a forward before the Olympics.

Forwards Rising and Falling

James Neal, F, Pittsburgh Penguins (down four spots to No. 19): Out indefinitely with a concussion as of last Friday, Neal is back in practice and has an outside shot at returning on Tuesday. The super-human Penguins (Kris Letang is also practicing following a stroke) can't be kept down long. Chris Kunitz was also out over the weekend and is eyeing up a return on Tuesday or Thursday. We always heap the praise onto Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin as catalysts, but it was pretty obvious how much the team missed Neal and Kunitz in a pair of losses to the Philadelphia Flyers. The good news for fantasy owners of any Penguins is that these two catalysts could be back in action before the week is out.

Marian Hossa, F, Chicago Blackhawks (up 102 spots to No. 36): Hossa made a speedy return to the Blackhawks' lineup, and is having a big impact already. He posted three points in his return, back on a line with Jonathan Toews. But Patrick Sharp wasn't riding the other wing with the duo, instead it was Kris Versteeg. While Hossa wasn't dropped in enough ESPN leagues to go seeking him following the injury, Versteeg becomes a potentially intriguing target. He wasn't a part of any of Hossa's scoring antics on Sunday, but that doesn't change the fact that they took several shifts together. Watch the depth chart for the Blackhawks closely, as Brandon Saad's injury is playing a role in this discussion as well.

Rick Nash, F, New York Rangers (down 16 spots to No. 54): There are just too many cooks in this kitchen, and it appears Nash is in trouble for fantasy value down the stretch. With three strong lines being rolled by coach Alain Vigneault since the trade deadline, Nash has been in a funk. A sniper like Nash and a playmaker like Martin St. Louis would seem like a great pair, but the duo haven't even seen much power-play time together since St. Louis joined the Rangers. Unless you see a major shift in the depth chart planning for the team, don't count on Nash as an elite option down stretch.

Defensemen Rising and Falling

Kimmo Timonen, D, Philadelphia Flyers (up 20 spots to No. 144): Timonen appears to be doing a pretty good impression of, well, Timonen, at least what he used to bring to the fantasy table. Timonen has eight points in seven March games, and the Flyers are scoring at a very decent clip lately thanks in part to his resurgence on the blue line. While it may be too late to grab Timonen, his defense partner Braydon Coburn has three points and a plus-7 in March (and is owned in a mere 4.0 percent of ESPN.com leagues). The points seem insignificant, but in context with his 14 points on the entire season, don't seem to bad.

Goaltenders Rising and Falling

Cory Schneider, G, New Jersey Devils (down 12 spots to No. 71): The wins are all that matter to the Devils at the moment, so Martin Brodeur's run of victories is enough to give him some leash with which to work, but when your goaltender battle has a .014 disparity in goals-against average, it's only a matter of time. Schneider falls in our rankings because he, quite frankly, hasn't had a good start since February. That said, he is one of the best puckstoppers in the league right now, and is being dropped in some leagues because of this little run by Brodeur. Yes, time is running out on the season and you need fantasy stats now, but you also don't want the guy chasing you in the standings or battling you in the head-to-head playoffs to beat you with Schneider in a couple weeks.

Kari Lehtonen, G, Dallas Stars (up 97 spots to No. 90): Lehtonen rockets back up the charts as he has recovered from a nasty concussion and will return to a crease that Tim Thomas failed to keep warm in his absence. The Stars are battling for playoff position, have an offense that is clicking along nicely on the back of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn and boast an improving defensive core. Lehtonen might have one stinker left in him this season, but generally speaking, he is a consistent presence for a team that should be winning games. Just like Schneider, he is a goaltender that should be owned in every league, and he is not.

Jonathan Bernier, G, Toronto Maple Leafs (down 48 spots to No. 116): Muscle strains are not an injury you want your goaltender to have. Although everything sounds pretty optimistic surrounding a quick return from Bernier, we can't be too sure. This may depend on how James Reimer handles duties during the interim. If Reimer, as he has in the past, can be a decent stop-gap, the Leafs may let Bernier heal up properly ahead of the playoffs. But if Reimer falters, Bernier may be needed back in action to get the Leafs into said playoffs. Given how well Reimer has handled brief starting assignments in the past, we think he can buy Bernier some extra time to recover. Good for the Leafs, not good for Bernier's fantasy owners.

Quick Hits

Evgeny Kuznetsov made his first big impression with a three-assist performance against Vancouver, and recorded a follow up helper on Sunday. He's moving into the Caps' top six and has the potential to score. He's still available in 84 percent of ESPN leagues, and is a must-grab for owners dealing with injuries or slumps on offense.

Alexander Semin has turned on the jets to finish the season, and he is bringing Jordan Staal along for the ride. Still available in more than 30 percent of ESPN leagues, Staal has nine points in his past six games and has seen a huge spike in his shots on goal.

• It's probably not a coincidence that Cam Fowler has missed a game and a half and Hampus Lindholm has two assists in the past game and a half. Fowler is getting an MRI on his leg to see what the extent of the problem is, and Lindholm would make a nice fantasy helper if it's a significant injury.

Jhonas Enroth's run to end the season appears to be over before it could build any more momentum, as he is missing a five-game road trip. Michal Neuvirth is also hurt to begin the trip, so rookie Nathan Lieuwen could make a start.

• With eight points in 10 games and prime power-play time for the Florida Panthers, Jimmy Hayes has potential to help fantasy owners down the final stretch. While he isn't playing with them at even strength, Hayes seems to be connecting with fellow upstarts Bradon Pirri and Vincent Trocheck on the man advantage.