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.
MORE COVERAGE: Pick'Em targets | Top 100 'F' | Top 50 'D' | Proj. lineups
Simmonds expected back for Flyers on Wednesday
Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds is expected to return against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS, NHL.TV). He has missed the past seven games because of an upper-body injury.
Simmonds (RW, 86 percent, 128th in Yahoo) is one of five players with at least 20 goals, 15 power-play points (16), 130 shots on goal (134) and 50 penalty minutes (55) and has added value in hits leagues (97 in 59 games). This elite category coverage makes Simmonds a must-have player in virtually any fantasy format.
The return of Simmonds will likely bump rookie center Nolan Patrick (19 percent) off the first power-play unit, but the right wing should eventually return to his previous spot on the second line with Patrick and Jakub Voracek (11th in Yahoo). Simmonds practiced on a line with Jordan Weal and Valtteri Filppula on Tuesday.
From a DFS standpoint, Simmonds should be considered a lineup lock against the Penguins, whom he has 23 points (13 goals, 10 assists) in 30 games against in his NHL career.
Mason worth considering after shutout in Jets return
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Steve Mason stopped all 31 shots faced in a 3-0 shutout against the New York Rangers on Tuesday, adding some intrigue to the backup's value on the fantasy waiver wire.
It was the first appearance for Mason (7 percent owned in Yahoo) since he sustained a concussion on Jan. 9; he had allowed at least four goals in five of his 10 previous starts. Mason, 29, had a .917 save percentage during his tenure with the Philadelphia Flyers (2012-13 to 2016-17) and has had a .915 or better rate in five of his 10 NHL seasons.
Winnipeg has 16 games remaining (eight home, eight road), including two back-to-back sets. Considering the majority of their remaining games have one day of rest on each side, it's likely the Jets will give starter Connor Hellebuyck (20th in Yahoo) some rest leading up to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, opening the door for Mason to get spot starts for one of the best teams in the NHL.
Video: WPG@NYR: Mason denies Zuccarello with his pad
Bjugstad enters must-own territory for Panthers
Florida Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad had a hat trick and seven shots on goal in a 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, strengthening his case for ownership in all fantasy formats.
Bjugstad (C/RW, 22 percent owned, 148th in Yahoo) now has 16 points (five goals, 11 assists), a plus-7, two power-play points and 50 shots on goal over his past 16 games. He is producing on the top line with elite center Aleksander Barkov (39th in Yahoo) and valuable wing Evgenii Dadonov (LW/RW, 54 percent, 144th). He's playing away from Florida's top forwards on the power play, but still has decent placement on the second man-advantage unit with defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Mike Matheson.
Florida is tied with the Boston Bruins for the most games remaining in the League (18) and has the heaviest schedule (nine games) during the head-to-head fantasy championship round over the final two weeks of the regular season. More than one-half of their remaining games (10) are against non-contending teams.
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