The fantasy hockey season is getting super exciting for some, as the playoffs are here and those in head-to-head formats are battling for seeding, byes, etc., or their playoffs have already started.
If you are eliminated from the postseason in long-term keeper formats, but transactions are still open, you have different goals than those who are in it to win it right now. There are a handful of guys who cannot necessarily help those contending for a fantasy championship right now, but they can be super useful in future seasons. Get these guys now, and next season at this time, you might be the one battling for your league's trophy.
Marcus Foligno, left wing, Buffalo Sabres
When the Buffalo Sabres dealt right winger and captain Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild at the NHL Trade Deadline, it was obvious that this team is going into rebuild mode. They will focus on their young corps of budding NHLers, and one of the biggest standouts is Foligno. He has managed five goals and 16 points with a minus-4 rating and 39 penalty minutes in 38 games.
While those trying to win now will be put off by his plus/minus rating, a category which might hold his fantasy value down for a year or two, those looking to stock their roster with potential superstars down the road will definitely want to have Foligno in future years. He has already shown he is an NHL-caliber player, and he hasn't come close to his ceiling.
Alex Galchenyuk, center, Montreal Canadiens
Galchenyuk is a fan favorite with the young ladies in Montreal, but he is good for a lot more than just having a fresh face. The Belarusian has potted five goals while posting 13 assists and a plus-9 rating through 38 games. He sits eighth overall for points by a rookie this season, and one of his goals was a game-winner.
He and right winger Brendan Gallagher give the Canadiens a very bright future. Both Galchenyuk and Gallagher are worth stashing away in long-term keeper pools, as they could be 50- to 60-point players as soon as next season.
Mika Zibanejad, center, Ottawa Senators
Zibanejad has a last name which sounds somewhat like the leader of Iran, but he is not an iron-fist type of guy. In fact, he is a finesse player with a sweet passing touch who is not only worth a look in long-term keeper formats, but he can help those still contending for championships right now. Zibanejad has managed six goals with 19 points and an impressive plus-10 rating, and he has only spent six total minutes in the sin bin.
For fantasy owners in leagues which discourage bad behavior, Zibanejad has been quite the find lately. The Swede has not scored a goal since March 13, a span of 11 games. However, he has 10 assists during the impressive span.
Daniel Alfredsson, right wing, Ottawa Senators
Alfredsson looked to be having a resurgence in mid-March, as he has three goals with seven points in a six-game span from March 13 to March 23, including the game-winning goal in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning March 23.
That game marked his first multi-goal effort of the season, and also the last time he lit the lamp. He is scoreless in six straight games with a minus-4 rating. It looks like Father Time has finally caught up to the 40-year-old Swede.
Mathieu Garon, goaltender, Tampa Bay Lightning
It appears the time was now for Garon, as his fantasy prospects were looking up when goaltender Anders Lindback went down to injury. But the team acquired goaltender Ben Bishop from the Ottawa Senators at the NHL Trade Deadline, and Garon's fantasy value went up in smoke yet again.
In daily fantasy leagues, he still has a little fantasy appeal, but he can be jettisoned in all other formats as long as Bishop remains healthy.
Brenden Morrow, left wing, Pittsburgh Penguins
Morrow has been a gritty forward throughout his career, and fantasy owners picked him up once he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, speculating a potential turnaround. That turnaround never came into fruition despite playing on a roster rich in talent.
He gets about 13 to 15 minutes per game, but he has managed just one assist with a minus-2 rating in his six games with the Penguins. Even fantasy owners in the deepest of fantasy leagues are making sure not to include Morrow in their plans.