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Fantasy buzz: Mantha must-own player; Schmaltz thriving on wing

Red Wings forward breaking out on power play; position change boosts Blackhawks' top-liner

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

All season long, NHL.com's fantasy hockey staff will have you covered with daily lineup news, production trends and injury notes from around the League. We will identify how these developments affect fantasy owners in year-long (Yahoo) and daily (DraftKings) formats.

 

1 p.m.
Mantha reaches must-own territory for Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha is living up to his billing as a fantasy breakout candidate, and he's somehow still there for the taking in more than one-third of Yahoo leagues.

Mantha (LW/RW, 64 percent owned) now has 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in as many games this season after two goals, one assist, three SOG and 25 penalty minutes in Detroit's 8-2 win against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. He's currently 11th overall in Yahoo based on standard-category performance.

He started the season strong on a line with center Dylan Larkin and a combination of either Martin Frk or Andreas Athanasiou, but has recently been moved back to a line with veteran Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist. Mantha was sixth among rookies in even-strength points last season (33 in 60 games) alongside mostly Zetterberg.

Video: CGY@DET: Mantha knocks in his own rebound for PPG

But even after the switch back to Zetterberg's line at 5-on-5, Mantha has remained a fixture on the Red Wings' second power-play unit with Larkin, Athanasiou and veteran defenseman Mike Green. Approaching the one-quarter mark of the season, Mantha has already more than doubled his power-play point total (seven) compared to last season (three).

Athanasiou (C/LW, 6 percent owned) missed the start of the season because of a contract dispute, but has combined for four points (three goals, one assist), two PPP and nine SOG over his past two games. He's worth monitoring in deeper leagues given his power-play exposure to Mantha and even-strength spot on the second line with Larkin and Tomas Tatar.

 

Schmaltz excelling since move to left wing

Chicago Blackhawks forward Nick Schmaltz has dealt with injuries and a lengthy scoring drought this season, but is beginning to turn the corner after a shift from center to left wing.

The 21-year-old has played left wing in each of the past three games and had three assists in a 6-3 win against the New York Rangers on Wednesday. Playing alongside center Artem Anisimov (C, 18 percent owned) and usual right wing Patrick Kane, Schmaltz has combined for five assists in his back-to-back multipoint games against the Rangers and New Jersey Devils. He has two power-play points, four shots on goal and is plus-3 over the two-game span.

Schmaltz (C/LW, 9 percent owned in Yahoo) is currently playing on a power-play unit with Kane, Anisimov, Brandon Saad and defenseman Cody Franson. The Blackhawks have center Jonathan Toews on a separate unit with Richard Panik, rookie Alex DeBrincat and defensemen Duncan Keith and Gustav Forsling of late. Defenseman Brent Seabrook has also stepped in on that second group in place of Forsling.

Video: CHI@COL: Schmaltz sneaks a redirected puck home

Schmaltz had three points (two goals, one assist) in the Blackhawks' 10-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on opening night, but then combined for two points (one goal, one assist) over his next 12 games. That stretch included a four-game absence because of an upper-body injury.

 

Golden Knights forwards gain eligibility in Yahoo

Vegas Golden Knights forwards Reilly Smith and William Karlsson have each gained an additional position of eligibility in Yahoo leagues.

Smith (added LW; now LW/RW) and Karlsson (added LW; now C/LW) have played together on the Golden Knights' second line at even strength with mostly Jonathan Marchessault (C/LW). Smith and Karlsson also play on Vegas' second power-play unit, with Marchessault on the first man-advantage unit with James Neal.

Marchessault (31 percent owned) and Smith (15 percent) were fantasy-relevant in the past with the Florida Panthers and are solid streaming options off the waiver wire in most leagues, but Karlsson (14 percent) has been a pleasant surprise as Vegas' No. 2 center. Karlsson has 12 points (six goals, six assists), four power-play points and 32 shots on goal in 17 games and is now much more appealing given his dual eligibility.

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