We have hit the final week of the NHL regular season and some of our readers are preparing for their fantasy league's championship. For the others, don't worry, we will look at some top young players' keeper value going into next season, because how someone finishes can help you decide if they are worth building your team around.
For those fighting for bragging rights with your friends all summer and that engraving of your name on the league trophy, here are some schedule facts you need to know when setting your lineup this week. Twenty of the 30 NHL teams have four games scheduled, so you will have plenty of good players to choose from.
Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils and Jaden Schwartz of the St. Louis Blues have established themselves as viable keeper-league assets for years to come. (Photo: Getty Images, Mark Buckner/NHLI)
The Colorado Avalanche play all four games on the road while the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins play all three of their games at home. Pay attention to those teams' home and road splits when deciding on lineup decisions.
Jaden Schwartz, St. Louis Blues -- The Blues are a deep offensive team, but holding his own scoring-wise with the names of Alexander Steen, T.J. Oshie and David Backes is the first-round pick (No. 14) from 2010. Schwartz, who turns 22 in June, is having a breakout season with 55 points in 76 games. The wing is a dependable player in all situations with a plus-28, 10 power-play points and two shorthanded goals, and should keep the upward trajectory for seasons to come.
Tyson Barrie, Colorado Avalanche -- One of the suggested sleepers at the beginning of the fantasy season should be on the short list of keepers on the blue line. Barrie, who turns 23 in July, led Avalanche defensemen in scoring last season and has 48 career points in 103 games. A third-round pick (No. 64) in 2009, he was drafted on average in the 13th round of Yahoo leagues, making him a steal and a fantasy factor for years to come.
Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils -- Schneider's first year in New Jersey, though in a time share, can be considered a success. Even though the 28-year-old started only a little more than half the Devils' games, he has a 2.02 goals-against average and .918 save percentage with three shutouts. With Martin Brodeur not signed for next season, the time is now for the 2004 first-round pick (No. 26) with tons of talent to take the reins and be a force in fantasy hockey.
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
Patric Hornqvist, Nashville Predators (owned in 23 percent of Yahoo Leagues) -- A consistent scorer who has hit the 20-plus goal mark for the fourth time of his career is scoring at a rapid rate at the right time. The final pick of the 2005 NHL Draft (No. 230) has seven goals in his past four games and 20 points in his past 19 games. The Predators have four games scheduled this week (@DAL, PHX, CHI, @MIN), and with a back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday he is a great pick-up to finish a week strong.
Charlie Coyle, Minnesota Wild (owned in 6 percent of Yahoo Leagues) --
Center - MIN
GOALS: 11 | ASST: 18 | PTS: 29
SOG: 130 | +/-: -5
The Wild are in a fight for a playoff spot, and that is what makes Coyle a great play this week. The 22-year-old is playing on the top line with Zach Parise
and Mikko Koivu
and has 10 points in his past 17 games. Minnesota has four games scheduled this week (@WPG, BOS, STL, NSH), and with back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday and another on the last day of the season, Coyle could give you a great potential start and finish to your fantasy championship.
Trevor Daley, Dallas Stars (owned in 5 percent of Yahoo Leagues) -- The 30-year-old is right at his career average of seven goals and 20 points, but playing his best hockey at the right time. After missing 14 games in December and January due to an ankle injury, Daley has come back strong and has 11 points in his past 19 games. Looking for a player to boost your plus-minus rating? Daley is a plus-11 the past three months. The Stars have four games scheduled this week (NSH, CBJ, STL, @ PHX), and with three at home it helps Daley, who has 11 of his 20 points in Dallas.