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Fantasy: Korpikoski can benefit from McDavid

Oilers forward on top line; less than 1 percent owned

by Sean McCullen @McBrooklyn77 / Staff Writer

Two weeks ago, I told you to add Edmonton Oilers left wing Benoit Pouliot, mainly because he was playing on a line with rookie phenom Connor McDavid and Jordan Eberle.

For that same reason, I suggest you add Lauri Korpikoski (LW/RW), who is owned in less than 1 percent of Yahoo leagues.

In 14 games with McDavid and Eberle from Feb. 2-28, Pouliot was a point-per-game player (four goals, 10 assists). Entering the season, Pouliot had averaged 0.45 points per game over 429 NHL games.

With Pouliot out since Feb. 28 because of a shoulder injury, it's mostly been Nail Yakupov playing left wing next to McDavid and opposite Eberle, but Yakupov hasn't had anywhere near the success Pouliot did; he has one goal and no assists in four games.

Oilers coach Todd McLellan moved Korpikoski up to McDavid's line during the Oilers' 2-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday to bring more of a defensive-minded presence to it. The move could stick too, considering McLellan has been vocal about his desire to see more grit across his lineup.

Korpikoski, who has scored in two of the past three games, has eight goals, nine assists and a minus-12 rating in 57 games. Now, those are not numbers that typically would attract the attention of fantasy owners, but McDavid has 13 goals and 21 assists in 34 games, and someone has to touch the puck before he scores and be on the receiving end of his passes.



Brett Ritchie, RW, Dallas Stars (2 percent owned) -- As with Korpikoski, Ritchie is worth adding because of who he's playing with these days. Called up from Texas of the American Hockey League on Thursday because forwards Patrick Sharp and Patrick Eaves are injured, the 22-year-old finds himself the latest to play right wing on the Stars' top line with high-scoring left wing Jamie Benn and center Tyler Seguin. Ritchie, who scored six goals and had three assists in 31 games as a rookie in 2014-15, sustained a wrist injury before training camp that required surgery and cost him the first two months of this season. He returned Dec. 8 and had 14 goals and 14 assists in 35 games with Texas.

Kris Russell, D, Dallas Stars (12 percent owned) -- With John Klingberg expected to miss at least one more game because of a lower-body injury sustained early in a 4-2 win against the New Jersey Devils on Friday, it looks like Russell will fill in at the point on the Stars' No. 1 power-play unit. The 28-year-old played 2:10 of a possible 2:50 with the man-advantage in a 2-1 win against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday, assisting on Jason Spezza's power-play goal for his first point in three games with Dallas. Russell had four goals and 11 assists in 51 games with the Calgary Flames before the Stars acquired him Feb. 29.

Alex Goligoski, D, Dallas Stars (49 percent owned) -- Goligoski also figures to benefit from Klingberg's absence, though he probably is worth owning even after the 23-year-old returns to the lineup. Goligoski had two assists in 25:25 against the Devils, including 3:36 on the power play, then got his 26th assist of the season against the Senators. He has five assists during a four-game point streak.

Video: CBJ@DAL: Goligoski buries rebound off end boards

Mike Ribeiro, C, Nashville Predators (20 percent owned) -- Ribeiro won't help out much in terms of goals, but his 39 assists are tied for 11th in the NHL and fifth among centers. The 36-year-old has a goal and six assists during a four-game point streak. He also has 14 power-play points on the season.


-- Eric Staal , who has a goal and an assist in four games with the New York Rangers, has been all over the lineup since being acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes on Feb. 28. In his first game last Monday, Staal started at third-line center between Viktor Stalberg (LW/RW, 1 percent owned) and Kevin Hayes (RW, 29 percent owned) before being moved to left wing on the top line with center Derick Brassard and right wing Mats Zuccarello. In his third game, a 3-2 win at the Washington Capitals on Friday, Staal started at center between Stalberg and Oscar Lindberg (C, 10 percent owned) before getting time in the third period between J.T. Miller (C, 16 percent owned) and Hayes. In a 6-4 loss to the New York Islanders on Sunday, when he got his first two points with the Rangers, Staal was back between Stalberg and Lindberg. Expect coach Alain Vigneault to move Staal around the lineup until he finds a suitable combination for the 31-year-old.

-- With Andrew Ladd traded to the Chicago Blackhawks, Nikolaj Ehlers out with an eye injury and Bryan Little done for the season with a neck injury, the Jets' top line is left wing Mathieu Perreault (C/LW, 15 percent owned), center Mark Scheifele (C, 57 percent owned) and right wing Blake Wheeler. Scheifele got his first NHL hat trick in a 4-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. He has five goals in the past two games and six goals and four assists in the past five.

-- Benn and Seguin skated on separate lines at times in the second period of the Stars' 5-3 loss at the Predators on Tuesday but were back together for the entirety of wins against New Jersey and Ottawa.


-- The Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs each will play four games this week. The Blackhawks, Devils and Minnesota Wild each have two games on their schedule, and the rest of the League has three games apiece.

-- There are no home-and-home sets in the League this week, but the Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers will play each other twice. Philadelphia will play Tampa Bay in consecutive games, at Wells Fargo Center on Monday and at Amalie Arena on Friday, but the Lightning face the Bruins between their games against the Flyers.

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