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Perron, Faulk pushing for must-own fantasy status

by Matt Cubeta / NHL.com

In this week's edition of fantasy hockey's "Hot Topics," I'll be suggesting five players that need to be owned in far more leagues for the remainder of this season. Let's jump right into the discussion.

1. David Perron, Pittsburgh Penguins, LW/RW -- owned in 70 percent of Yahoo leagues

Why isn't Perron's ownership higher? Do people realize he got traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Penguins? That he's playing on the top line with Sidney Crosby? And receiving tons of ice time on one of the NHL's top power-play units? Perron needs to be owned in just about every fantasy league. In 10 games with the Penguins he has six goals, three assists, 10 penalty minutes, three power-play points and 44 shots on goal (4.4 per game). While his minus-5 rating has been a disappointment since joining his new team, he's been a fantasy force in every other category.

2. Justin Faulk, Carolina Hurricanes, D -- owned in 68 percent of Yahoo leagues

Justin Faulk
Justin Faulk
Defense - CAR
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 19 | PTS: 28
SOG: 127 | +/-: -13
As a defenseman, having a minus-13 rating never helps win you fans in fantasy leagues. But in 10 games during the month of January, Faulk actually has a plus-1 rating. Even his November and December ratings weren't terrible (minus-3 in each month). It was his minus-8 in eight games during October that killed his rating for the season. Since then he's been very consistent in the category. But more importantly is how productive Faulk has been offensively of late. He has four points and 12 shots on goal in his past three games, and now has nine goals and 28 points in 47 games. His 127 shots on goal rank ninth among all defensemen. He has 10 power-play points, which is tied for 21st among defensemen. Simply put, Faulk is slowly creeping his way toward being one of the better offensive defenseman in the League. That at 22 years old.

3. Derek Stepan, New York Rangers, C -- owned in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues

Similar to Perron's situation, it seems fantasy owners haven't realized Stepan is healthy again. Or maybe they see his stats and his 142nd-overall Yahoo ranking and don't realize he missed 13 games this season. But what you're missing is that Stepan has been a near point-per-game player in the 33 games he's played (eight goals and 24 assists). He has an outstanding plus-11 rating and nine power-play points. He centers the team's second line with Martin St. Louis and Chris Kreider and is on the top power-play unit (averaging 2:59 of PP time per game) alongside Rick Nash and company. Stepan is playing the best hockey of his young career and could carry a fantasy team to a championship.

4. Michael Hutchinson, Winnipeg Jets and Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild, G -- owned in 64 percent and 41 percent of Yahoo leagues

Our group of fantasy insiders at NHL.com has talked about each of these goalies in recent weeks and how they should be owned in more fantasy leagues (Hutchinson here, and Dubnyk here). You guys are not responding the way you should. In the past two weeks, Hutchinson ranks as the seventh-best fantasy goalie and Dubnyk is eighth. Each has a great opportunity to get plenty of starts for the rest of the season and is capable of providing top-20 fantasy goalie value.

5. Patrick Maroon, Anaheim Ducks, LW -- owned in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues

Patrick Maroon
Patrick Maroon
Left Wing - ANA
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 18 | PTS: 24
SOG: 82 | +/-: 2
With Bruce Boudreau behind the bench for the Ducks, we can always expect plenty of line changes. But according to dobberhockey.com, Maroon has played 56.15 percent of his even-strength shifts on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. In his past three games that number bumps up to 76.92 percent. Maroon might not be able to keep the job for the rest of the season, but this stretch has shown Boudreau likes what he sees from the 26-year-old forward. Maroon has been a dominant fantasy player recently with four goals and three assists in his past five games while posting a plus-6 rating. He's had at least three shots on goal in each of his past six games. The lines may change at some point, but this lengthy stay on the top line makes me think Maroon has a better chance than any other Ducks forward at keeping the job with Getzlaf and Perry.

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