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Fantasy: Veteran forwards with sneaky upside

Line changes, potential trades make these 33-or-older players viable options

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

The list of veteran forwards to find the fountain of youth in recent years now includes Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks.

Marleau, 37, had 12 goals and 20 points in his first 47 games, but has recently become a must-own fantasy player with seven goals (four in one game on Jan. 23) and 12 points during his current eight-game point streak. He is plus-5 with three power-play points and 29 shots on goal in the span.

After playing most of the season alongside Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, his production in this remarkable run, which included his 500th NHL goal Feb. 2, has come in a second-line role alongside Logan Couture and Mikkel Boedker. He remains a fixture on the Sharks' first power-play unit.

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: TOP 100 'F' | TOP 50 'D' | TOP 25 'G' | DFS PICKS: FEB. 10

Marleau's ownership has spiked to 58 percent in Yahoo leagues, up from about 40 percent for most of the season.

If you missed out on a chance to grab Marleau off the waiver wire, here are some other veterans to keep an eye on the rest of the way. Whether it's a line change, potential trade or underrated category coverage, these players can bring a lot to the table despite their age.

Video: SJS@VAN: Marleau goes top shelf for 500th career goal

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Chris Kunitz, LW, PIT (41 percent owned) -- We've been talking about Kunitz's fantasy potential for the past week, and he's delivered with four points in his current three-game point streak with a combined 11 SOG since being bumped up to the left wing of Sidney Crosby in the absence of injured Conor Sheary. The 37-year-old is plus-11 this season for the Pittsburgh Penguins and can boost your fantasy roster in the hits category (145).

 

Thomas Vanek, LW/RW, DET (33 percent owned) -- Vanek, 33, has been limited to 42 of a possible 54 games because of injuries, but has 35 points and nine PPP in a top-six, first power-play role for the Detroit Red Wings. His ownership declined after a recent injury absence Jan. 24 and a four-game pointless streak, but he has responded with four points (two PPP) in his next four games. Whether Vanek is moved before the NHL Trade Deadline or remains in Detroit, he's thrived with proper usage and warrants ownership in most formats when healthy.

Video: PIT@DET: Vanek reaches to chip home a rebound

 

Jussi Jokinen, C/LW, FLA (29 percent owned) -- The Florida Panthers have had a rough season based on expectations, but are finally healthy with Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau back from injuries. Don't be surprised if Jokinen, 33, regains his scoring touch in the final two months playing alongside Vincent Trocheck and Reilly Smith in all situations. He scored 60 points and 12 PPP playing mostly with those linemates last season and has shown signs of life with multipoint performances in two of his past four games.

 

Scott Hartnell, LW, CBJ (20 percent owned) -- Among players with at least 500 minutes played at even strength, Hartnell ranks fourth in 5-on-5 points per 60 (2.75) behind Jason Zucker (3.12), Sheary (3.08) and Crosby (2.99), according to stats.hockeyanalysis.com. The 34-year-old is one of the few veterans mixed into the young Columbus Blue Jackets roster, and can help your cause in points (30), plus/minus (plus-12), penalty minutes (41) and/or hits (57). He's 158th in Yahoo's performance-based rankings and available in 80 percent of leagues.

 

Mike Fisher, C, NSH (19 percent owned) -- If available, chances are Fisher is the best power-play specialist on your waiver wire. He has scored 14 of his 32 points with the man advantage (second on Nashville Predators), and also chips in PIMs (42), SOG (83) and hits (100). Adding Fisher, 36, and rolling him out at home (19 points in 24 games) could pay dividends in a head-to-head league. He missed a golden opportunity with an open net in the third period Thursday against the New York Rangers, but still had one PPP in the loss.

Video: NSH@COL: Fisher nets pretty backhand goal on break

 

Jarome Iginla, RW, COL (17 percent owned) -- Staying ahead of the curve is key in fantasy, and that applies to adding players who could be moved before the deadline. Iginla, in a contract year with the last-place Colorado Avalanche, has had a miserable season by his high standards. That said, eight of his 14 points have come on the power play and he's already eclipsed 50 PIMs (52) and 100 SOG (101). If the 39-year-old lands in a top-line role with the right contender, he could turn around his plus/minus (minus-18) in a hurry and spark your fantasy team down the stretch.

 

Jason Pominville, RW, MIN (14 percent owned) -- Veteran Mikko Koivu (C, 49 percent owned) has likely been scooped up in your league, so consider the 34-year-old Pominville the next-best veteran from the Minnesota Wild. He has 18 points in his past 16 games in the Wild's top-nine forward group, and could benefit from increased exposure to their breakout scorers as coach Bruce Boudreau plans to continue testing out different line combinations ahead of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Video: MIN@WPG: Pominville rips home slapper after turnover

 

Shane Doan, RW, ARI (8 percent owned) -- Doan's shooting percentage (4.7 percent; five goals on 106 SOG) is the lowest in the NHL among forwards with at least 100 SOG. The 40-year-old's fortunes could even out over time, especially if he waives his no-movement clause and is traded by the Arizona Coyotes at the deadline. He's been a category cog in recent years and finished 61st in Yahoo with 28 goals last season. He has points in three straight and can help your squad in SOG, PIMs (40) and hits (81).

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