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NHL: CULLEN – 20 FANTASY POINTS – Logan Stankoven and Matt Rempe make their presence felt, Tyler Bertuzzi, Gustav Nyquist, and Scott Laughton pick up the pace and much, much more!

SAINT PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 08: Dallas Stars Center Logan Stankoven (57) looks on during the NHL game between the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild, on October 8th, 2022, at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, MN. (Photo by Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire)

Each week, I dive into the numbers to help make decisions when it comes time to make fantasy hockey decisions.

This week, rookies Logan Stankoven and Matt Rempe make their presence felt in different ways; Tyler Bertuzzi, Gustav Nyquist, and Scott Laughton pick up the pace and much, much more!

#1 The Dallas Stars have been patient this season, watching Logan Stankoven rip up the American Hockey League in his first pro season. The 2021 second-round pick had put up 57 points (24 G, 33 A) in 47 games for the Iowa Stars of the AHL before finally getting called up and he has not disappointed. In his first four games with the big club, Stankoven has scored three goals and added an assist, putting 12 shots on goal. He is on a line with Wyatt Johnston and Jamie Benn and it’s looking good. The real question is what the Stars are going to do when Tyler Seguin returns from injury because Stankoven has already shown that he belongs. Stankoven has been loaned to the Texas Stars again, but Dallas has to make room for a player of this quality.

#2 It has largely been a disappointing season for Toronto Maple Leafs left winger Tyler Bertuzzi but he is starting to turn the corner. With a goal in Thursday’s win over Arizona, he has six points (5 G, 1 A) during a four-game point streak. Skating on a line with Max Domi and William Nylander, Bertuzzi also has 15 shots on goal during that streak and the improved shot rate is an encouraging sign for his production being sustained over the rest of the season.

#3 The month of February has brought out the best in Nashville Predators right winger Gustav Nyquist. He picked up a couple of assists in Thursday’s 6-1 win against Minnesota, giving him 13 points (4 G, 9 A) in 10 February games, tops among Preds forwards. He has 51 points (16 G, 35 A) in 61 games and his 0.84 points per game is challenging his 2013-2014 season, when he also had 0.84 points per game but fractionally higher, for the best points per game of his career.

#4 Philadelphia Flyers centre Scott Laughton has started to pick up his offensive production. In the past eight games, he has 10 points (4 G, 6 A) with 17 shots on goal. He has added 18 hits in that time, enhancing his value for those in banger leagues. He is centering a line with Owen Tippett and Tyson Foerster. After missing a couple of weeks with a lower-body injury, Foerster has returned with a vengeance, scoring five points (4 G, 1 A) in three games.

#5 New York Rangers winger Matt Rempe has had quite the impact since arriving in the NHL. The 21-year-old is 6-foot-8 and while he has contributed a couple of points (1 G, 1 A) in his first six NHL games, he has also racked up 32 penalty minutes. He is not going to be able to keep the pace of taking on all comers with fisticuffs, but he has added a level of excitement to the Blueshirts. Rempe is not playing enough to generate fantasy interest outside of banger leagues, but the penalty minutes will hold some appeal.

#6 Now, for a New York Rangers winger who has more reliable value, look to Alexis Lafreniere. In his past dozen games, Lafreniere has nine points (6 G, 3 A) with 38 shots on goal. He is up to 2.68 shots on goal per game this season, up by more than a shot per game over last season, and that is why the fourth-year winger is a more consistent scoring threat.

#7 While he was suspended for the first half of the season, the Ottawa Senators made sure that it was known that Shane Pinto was going to be a big part of their plans. He is rewarding them for that patient approach. In his past 11 games, Pinto has 11 points (4 G, 7 A) with 38 shots on goal. He is centering a line with Brady Tkachuk and Vladimir Tarasenko. Pinto’s ice time is up, his shot rate is up, and he is turning into a legitimate scoring threat.

#8 With Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel injured, Rickard Rakell has become a more important piece for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The veteran winger is skating with Reilly Smith and Sidney Crosby on the Penguins’ top line and has seven points (3 G, 4 A) with 20 shots on goal in his past seven games. He has also played more than 19 minutes in four of those seven contests.

#9 While there has been discussion about the Nashville Predators potentially moving centre Tommy Novak before the trade deadline because he is a pending unrestricted free agent, it would be a tough move to sell for a team that has been elevated into a playoff position on the strength of a seven-game winning streak. In his past dozen games, Novak has produced 11 points (4 G, 7 A) with 22 shots on goal and he has been efficient, scoring like this while playing just 14 minutes per game.

#10 There is a changing of the guard in Washington, where 23-year-old centre Connor McMichael is starting to take on a bigger role. In his past 10 games, McMichael has nine points (5 G, 4 A) and 21 shots on goal. He is skating between wingers Aliaksei Protas and Anthony Mantha on an effective line that has played more than 300 minutes together at five-on-five, controlling 57.5% of expected goals. Protas, the 6-foot-6 left winger, has seven points (2 G, 5 A) and 10 shots on goal in his past six games while Mantha, the 6-foot-5 right winger, has eight points (2 G, 6 A) with just four shots on goal in his past seven contests.

#11 Sometimes, it’s just a matter of where a player finds himself in the lineup. Chicago Blackhawks winger Nick Foligno is 36 years old and has been a depth winger in recent seasons but with the rebuilding Blackhawks, he is getting a much bigger opportunity. In his past 10 games, Foligno has nine points (5 G, 4 A) with 18 shots on goal while a slumping Anthony Beauvillier (zero points in six games since returning from injury) is getting a chance to skate alongside Connor Bedard at even strength, Foligno does still have a spot on Chicago’s top power-play unit.

#12 Claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Wild from the Winnipeg Jets, defenceman Declan Chisholm is making the most of his opportunity with a new team. Chisholm is playing more than 18 minutes per game for the Wild, including time on Minnesota’s second power-play unit, and has recorded four points (1 G, 3 A) in his first seven games with Minnesota. It would be the deepest of leagues for Chisholm to have fantasy appeal already, but it is worth keeping him on your radar, to see if this fresh start can continue to yield results.

#13 The goaltending situation for the Toronto Maple Leafs has been uneven, to say the least, but it should be better with Joseph Woll returning from injury. Woll started against Arizona Thursday, his first start since December 7, and he stopped 30 of 32 shots in a 4-2 victory. Woll has a .918 save percentage in 16 games this season and while that is a small sample, it makes him the best option between the pipes for the Maple Leafs, so long as he stays healthy.

#14 After a 33-save shutout against Pittsburgh on Thursday, Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer is forcing his way back into the Kraken crease. As great as Joey Daccord has played, posting a .919 save percentage in 39 games, Grubauer does have a .947 save percentage in five starts since returning from injury. With a longer track record, and bigger contract, Grubauer will likely get every opportunity to play, so that does affect the relative value of both Seattle goaltenders.

#15 It would seem like Lucy teasing Charlie Brown with the football to bubble up excitement around Alexander Nylander, the eighth pick in the 2016 Draft who has 36 points in 101 career games, but it’s at least worth keeping an eye on his development in Columbus. Acquired from Pittsburgh in exchange for Emil Bemstrom, Nylander had a goal and an assist in Thursday’s loss to Carolina, and played a career-high 19:40. He also has nine shots on goal across the past two games, so in this super small sample, he is offering some reason to keep him in mind. We will see how long it lasts.

#16 There has not been a lot to love about the San Jose Sharks this season but they do have some veterans that could be producing enough to hold interest in deeper leagues. Mikael Granlund picked up three assists in Thursday’s loss to Anaheim, giving him six points (2 G, 4 A) in his past six games. Granlund also played a season-high 25:28 against the Ducks. Anthony Duclair, who may be auditioning for a new home at the trade deadline, has five points (4 G, 1 A) and 16 shots on goal in his past five games and is skating on Granlund’s wing, at least for now.

#17 Cam Atkinson has dropped out of the Philadelphia Flyers lineup, as a healthy scratch. He has zero points and 18 shots on goal in his past 11 games and that isn’t cutting it for head coach John Tortorella. It is even more challenging for Atkinson when he is getting scratched even with leading scorer Travis Konecny injured and out of the lineup because that effectively puts Atkinson an extra step away from just getting into the lineup, let alone in a position where he might once again have fantasy value.

#18 Even though he is still skating on Seattle’s second line, left winger Jaden Schwartz is mired in a brutal slump. In his past 11 games, Schwartz had one goal, zero assists, and 22 shots on goal. The 31-year-old winger has had plenty of peaks and valleys in his career when it comes to scoring – he had 14 points (8 G, 6 A) in 15 games to start this season! – and it appears that he is deep in a valley right now.

#19 Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk had a cool moment with his father, Louie DeBrusk, before a recent game against the Edmonton Oilers. The elder DeBrusk brought out a ticket that his son had given to him many years ago, stating that he would record a goal or an assist, or do 30 pushups. That night, DeBrusk recorded both a goal and an assist, saving himself from the 30 pushup option. The unfortunate part for DeBrusk is that it is the only time in his past 14 games that he has managed to find the scoresheet. He is averaging more than 17 minutes of ice time per game over that span, which makes his slump all the more troubling. The one encouraging sign is that DeBrusk had 34 shots on goal in those 14 games, so he is getting chances, and that tends to lead to better results.

#20 Two goaltenders who have been pleasant surprises this season experienced a more challenging month of February. Connor Ingram had emerged as the starting goaltender in Arizona, posting a .919 save percentage in his first 30 games. Since January 25, though, Ingram has a 0-6-2 record with a .872 save percentage and he missed some time with an injury, too. In Washington, Charlie Lindgren had a .929 save percentage in mid-January, forcing his way into more playing time, but then his results flipped, too. In his past 11 starts, he has a 4-5-2 record with a .873 save percentage. Maybe this should have been expected from goaltenders with limited NHL track records, but this season has been difficult to find consistent and reliable goaltending from many angles, even from these two goalies who had been providing excess value for more than three months to start the season.