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Evgenii Dadonov
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Fantasy Nuggets

Late Season Additions

by Ryan Dadoun
Updated On: April 21, 2022, 12:19 pm ET

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With the season winding down, one of the challenges from a fantasy perspective is keeping on top of who will be in the lineup. We’re late enough that teams already secure in their playoffs position will rest their key players, especially if they have any sort of minor ailment, while teams who are out of the running will prioritize giving their rookies a chance over some veterans. Similarly, teams without a hope of making it to the postseason are more inclined to shutdown players at this point of the campaign if they have any lingering injuries or sustain a new injury.

For that reason, the safest teams to lean on are those who still have something big left to play for in the final days of the season. Unfortunately, this year such teams are pretty limited. The Eastern Conference has been decided. There are still fights for playoff positioning, but coaches will more often than not still look ahead to the postseason and keeping their top players healthy. Especially this year where any playoff match in the East is going to be tough regardless of where you end up. Even Florida, which is almost certain to finish at the top of the Eastern Conference is currently projected to play against the Washington Capitals.

In the Western Conference though, there are still teams fighting for their playoff lives. In particular, Los Angeles, Nashville, Dallas, Vegas, and Vancouver could find their seasons coming down to the wire. All of those squads are within six points of each other with the final three playoff spots on the line.

Vancouver in particular is an interesting one to watch. The Canucks seemed all-but out of the playoffs before they went on an incredible six-game winning streak from Apr 6-18. They lost to Ottawa on Tuesday, but lasted until the shootout, making it the eighth straight contest where they got at least a point.

 

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Now Vancouver has two tough games on Thursday and Saturday in Minnesota and Calgary respectively. Even splitting those two probably wouldn’t be enough for Vancouver. Knowing that, the Canucks should give it their all in those contests. In particular, Alex Chiasson is someone to consider. He’s usually not great offensively, but he’s stepped up when the Canucks have needed him, scoring six goals and 10 points in his last seven contests.

Rookie Vasily Podkolzin has been an unlikely hero for the Canucks too. Although he has 25 points in 74 contests in 2021-22, he had a stretch from Apr. 12-18 of four goals and six points in three games. It helps that the Canucks have been giving him a bigger opportunity lately. He went from averaging 12:09 minutes over his first 65 games to 16:13 minutes over his last nine. With that jump in ice time, it’s less surprising that his production has gone up.

The Golden Knights also have some players to consider for your fantasy team’s final push. Evgenii Dadonov amusing had two big games immediately after the Golden Knights’ attempt to trade him was stopped by the league and he’s continued to be one of Vegas’ best players lately. Over his last six contests, he has three goals and seven points.

In goal, Logan Thompson has been very interesting. Over his last five games, he’s 4-1-0 with a .934 save percentage. There’s an opportunity for him to potentially get key starts over the final games of the season given Robin Lehner’s recent struggles. What’s particularly noteworthy is that after Lehner stopped 12 of 13 shots in the first period of Wednesday’s game, he was yanked in favor of Thompson. Coach Pete DeBoer said Lehner is healthy, so unless something more is revealed, it seems the decision to replace Lehner was the coach’s call and that suggests it doesn’t take much to convince DeBoer to pull him at this point. Vegas tends not to reveal their goaltending plans ahead of time, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Thompson was in net on Sunday.

With the Los Angeles Kings, Phillip Danault is a good option to grab. He’s been on a roll, recording at least a point in nine of his last 10 games. He has four goals and 10 points over that span. Adrian Kempe is on a roll too with eight goals and 13 points in his last 14 contests. It’s also worth noting that the Kings will play Chicago on Thursday, Anaheim on Saturday, and then Seattle on April 27. Those are pretty favorable opponents.

One more player who might be worth adding even though he isn’t on a team fighting for a playoff spot is Ross Colton. The Lightning forward has been playing on a line with Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat and that’s given him a significant boost. Over Colton’s last seven games, he’s found the back of the net five times.