Every Monday, NHL.com contributor Matt Sitkoff identifies waiver wire pickups, roster trends, schedule notes and a prospect to watch in fantasy hockey.
The New York Rangers have won 13 of their past 14 games, their best 14-game stretch since 1973, and the red-hot play has led to some fantasy performers.
Leading the Rangers is All-Star forward Rick Nash, who has nine goals and 14 points during the streak. Behind him is center Derek Stepan, with 10 assists and 14 points in the past 14 games. Two players who have seen their fantasy stock rise during the streak are forwards Mats Zuccarello (12 points) and J.T. Miller (8).
The Rangers have four games this week, at home against the New York Islanders and at the Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins. Those teams are a combined 93-57-16. That shouldn't faze the Rangers, who defeated the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks on their recent road trip.
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
Mathieu Perreault (owned in 15 percent of Yahoo Leagues) – Since Dec. 1 there have been three games in which the Winnipeg Jets center has not scored a point. In those 18 games the 27-year-old has nine goals, nine assists and 45 shots on goal. Perreault is following a career season with the Anaheim Ducks (18 goals, 25 assists in 69 games played) with another season of production. The Jets have four games this week, home against the Florida Panthers and Arizona Coyotes, and at the Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks, and we expect Perreault's hot streak to continue.
Matt Carle (owned in 3 percent of Yahoo Leagues) – The Tampa Bay Lightning defense has been paced offensively by Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman and Jason Garrison with 55 combined points. Carle has joined the offensive party with five points in his past eight games. Tampa Bay has four games this week, at the Philadelphia Flyers and Bruins, and home against the Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche. Carle has 14 career points against those teams, which makes him a perfect add to your fantasy team.
Ben Scrivens (owned in 31 percent of Yahoo Leagues) – It is hard to find fantasy options on an Oilers team that has won 10 games this season but the winning goalie of eight of those games is starting to heat up under interim coach Todd Nelson. Scrivens is 3-1-2, with a 2.43 goals-against average and .915 save percentage in his past six games. The Oilers have three games this week at the St. Louis Blues, Lightning and Panthers. Scrivens should get his first road victory of the season and help your fantasy lineup this week.
STATS PRIOR TO JAN. 12 GAMES
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 15 | PTS: 17
SOG: 36 | +/-: -1
Second half sleepers – The NHL.com fantasy staff selected their midseason awards and two players to keep an eye in the second half are Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson, and Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin. Hutchinson has started 12 of the past 21 games for the Jets, has a .926 SV % during that time and will see his time continue to increase as his play continues to improve. Drouin's season did not start off on the right foot, but lately he has been playing on a line with Steven Stamkos and has the fourth-most assists (15) by a rookie this season.
Shots aplenty – It is no surprise that Alex Ovechkin, who has led the NHL in shots the past two seasons, is once again the top shot producer this season. With this statistic becoming more prevalent in fantasy leagues it has become more important to find a player who often shoots the puck. Nashville Predators center Craig Smith has a career average of 2.50 shots per game (591 shots in 236 games played) and more than 100 shots this season (121). Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin, has fired 2.6 shots per game and has 353 career shots in his first 168 games played.
STATS PRIOR TO JAN. 12 GAMES
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 3
SOG: 20 | +/-: 1
David Pastrnak – The Bruins have been searching for a wing to solidify the line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. The latest player to take a crack at it is the No. 25 pick of the 2014 NHL Draft. Pastrnak (18 years, 320 days) became the eighth 18-year-old in Bruins history to have a multi-goal game in what was his seventh NHL game. This was coming off a successful run for Czech Republic at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship that saw him score seven points in five games. He also led the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League in points with 27 in 24 games. The 6-foot right Pastrnak will get an extended look on Krejci's line, so plug him in the lineup for now.