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NHL: CULLEN – 20 FANTASY POINTS – Quinton Byfield is making his presence felt, a surprising source of offense for the Maple Leafs, Columbus’ All-Star is scoring, and much, much more!

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 30: Los Angeles Kings Center Quinton Byfield (55) looks on during the second period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Los Angeles Kings on January 30, 2022, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)

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

This week, Quinton Byfield is making his presence felt, a surprising source of offense for the Maple Leafs, Columbus’ All-Star is scoring, and much, much more!

#1 Drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Kings in 2020, Quinton Byfield took some time to get up to speed in the National Hockey League. Coming into this season, he had 8 goals and 33 points in 99 games, so he was not exactly busting down the door to stardom. He did start to show potential last season, though, and the Kings gave him a lot of ice time on the top line to start this season, skating on a line with Adrian Kempe and Anze Kopitar. More recently, Byfield has moved down the depth chart to join Pierre-Luc Dubois and Byfield continues to produce. In his past 10 games, Byfield has tallied 12 points (6 G, 6 A) with 25 shots on goal.

#2 Throwing Byfield with Pierre-Luc Dubois offers a chance for Dubois to shake out of his season-long slump. Since the Kings replaced Todd McLellan with Jim Hiller as head coach, Dubois has six points (3 G, 3 A) and 14 shots on goal in seven games. That improved production comes on the heels of Dubois managing just one point (1 G, 0 A) in the previous eight games.

#3 A 27-year-old winger who had played all of 10 games in the NHL prior to this season, Bobby McMann has become an unlikely contributor for the Toronto Maple Leafs. In his first 26 games for the Maple Leafs this season, McMann had just seven points (2 G, 5 A) but it was understandable, he played less than 10 minutes in 18 of those 26 games. McMann broke through on February 13, recording a hat trick in a 4-1 win against St. Louis and that earned him a bump up the depth chart. He has most recently found himself on a line with John Tavares and Nick Robertson and has 10 points (7 G, 3 A) and 17 shots on goal in the past six games. Suddenly, McMann is changing the perception of what he might be able to offer as an NHL player, from fringe NHLer to possible top-six winger.

#4 Getting Connor Bedard back in the lineup has helped Chicago Blackhawks forward Philipp Kurashev who has eight points (1 G, 7 A) in seven games since the All-Star break, which includes four points (1 G, 3 A) in four games since Bedard returned from his broken jaw. Prior to the break, Kurashev had just two points (1 G, 1 A) during a 14-game stretch, and yet he is still second on the Blackhawks in scoring with 32 points (9 G, 23 A) in 50 games.

#5 Columbus’ All-Star representative this season, centre Boone Jenner has emerged from the break on a five-game point streak, during which he has accrued eight points (5 G, 3 A) with 22 shots on goal. Jenner juices up his fantasy appeal with physical play, too, and has 17 hits in those five games. He is skating between Johnny Gaudreau and Jack Roslovic, both of whom are also picking up the pace offensively. Gaudreau is in full set-up mode lately, with 15 points (1 G, 14 A) and 33 shots on goal in his past 13 games. Roslovic has upped his production more recently, with five points (1 G, 4 A) and 14 shots on goal during a four-game point streak which started when he joined Jenner and Gaudreau on Columbus’ top line.

#6 Winnipeg Jets right winger Gabriel Vilardi got off to a strong start with his new club, contributing 20 points (11 G, 9 A) in 25 games, but he did miss some time due to injury and went through a six-game scoreless drought around the All-Star break. He’s making up for it, though, with eight points (4 G, 4 A) and 12 shots on goal during a three-game point streak. Vilardi is skating on the Jets’ top line with Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele, which is a pretty great opportunity for a young player looking to become a more consistent scoring threat.

#7 Although he was held off the scoresheet in Thursday’s 1-0 win against Florida, it was only the third time in the past 16 games that Carolina Hurricanes right winger Seth Jarvis did not record a point. He has 18 points (4 G, 14 A) and 34 shots on goal in that span, giving him a career-high 46 points in 56 games. Jarvis isn’t the only Hurricanes winger who has picked up his scoring pace. Martin Necas has 15 points (8 G, 7 A) and 50 shots on goal in his past 14 games.

#8 The third pick in the 2021 Draft, Anaheim Ducks centre Mason McTavish has had some ups and downs in his second NHL season, but his talent is undeniable, and he does have seven points in his past four games. While fantasy managers, especially those in banger leagues, might love that McTavish has 30 penalty minutes in his past 10 games, those frequent trips to the penalty box could start to cost him ice time.

#9 Florida Panthers centre Anton Lundell tallied 44 points as a rookie in 2021-2022 and has not been able to match that pace since, in part because his shooting percentage has fallen off, from 14.4 percent two seasons ago to 7.2 percent this season. Nevertheless, Lundell has shown some signs of life offensively, producing six points (4 G, 2 A) and nine shots on goal in his past five games. The Panthers have been excellent this season, and they have not received a huge contribution from Lundell, so if he can pick up the pace down the stretch, that would go a long way for a team that is a Stanley Cup contender.

#10 Minnesota Wild rookie centre Marco Rossi has moved into a tie with teammate Brock Faber as the second leading rookie scorer in the league behind Chicago’s Connor Bedard, who has 39 points (17 G, 22 A) in 43 games. Rossi has five points (4 G, 1 A) and 13 shots on goal in his past five games, which gets him to 33 points (17 G, 16 A) in 56 games. Rossi’s ice time is down, so tread carefully about adding him now. His improved scoring pace does offer hope that Rossi will have a bigger role both in the near and more distant future.

#11 New York Rangers right winger Kaapo Kakko missed nearly two months of action but is starting to get back into the groove. In his past six games, the 23-year-old forward has put up five points (2 G, 3 A) along with 12 shots on goal. It may be too soon to offer a full-throated recommendation for Kakko, but it’s worth keeping an eye on him. Progress has been gradual, and he is already in his fifth NHL season, but he has flashed potential.

#12 Consistent offensive production does not come easily for Buffalo Sabres winger Jordan Greenway, who scored a career high 32 points (9 G, 23 A) in 56 games for the Minnesota Wild during the 2020-2021 season. However, every now and then, he heats up and suddenly becomes an intriguing fantasy option, even if it is for short-term purposes. Over the past month, Greenway has eight points (5 G, 3 A) and 16 shots on goal in 10 games. Injuries have opened the door for Greenway to get more ice time in Buffalo and he has landed on the second line, alongside Casey Mittelstadt and Dylan Cozens, two skilled players who can help extend Greenway’s offensive good fortune.

#13 At this stage of his career, 38-year-old Corey Perry tends to not offer a lot of fantasy value during the regular season. He plays on the lower half of the depth chart and while he contributes some, it is usually only enough for consideration in the deepest of leagues. While all of that may be true, Perry does have four points (3 G, 1 A) with eight shots on goal and 16 penalty minutes in the past four games and that might warrant a little bit more attention. He is getting second unit power play time and is skating with Dylan Holloway and Mattias Janmark at evens.

#14 Goaltending has been a question mark for many teams this season and those questions have lingered in Carolina for much of the season. The answer may be found within the Hurricanes’ own dressing room, as Pyotr Kochetkov has hit a hot streak and that might be enough to solidify the play in Carolina’s crease, at least for the time being. After a sparkling 44-save shutout Thursday against Florida, Kochetkov has a .969 save percentage across his past four starts. Of course, in his previous four appearances, Kochetkov’s save percentage was a ghastly .851, so he has been offering quite the thrill ride with plenty of ups and downs.

#15 One of the primary challenges when seeking fantasy hockey answers in goal is finding goaltenders that play enough. St. Louis Blues backup goaltender Joel Hofer, for example, has been excellent lately with a .928 save percentage across his past nine starts, but that goes back to before Christmas, so Hofer still offers value in deeper leagues. If something were to happen that would give him a greater share of the starts in St. Louis, the 23-year-old could see his value soar.

#16 After lighting up the Vancouver Canucks for four points (1 G, 3 A) in Thursday’s victory, Seattle Kraken centre Jared McCann has a six-game point streak and has put up 22 points (11 G, 11 A) with 44 shots on goal in his past 15 games. McCann is coming off a career-best season in which he scored 40 goals and 70 points, but his recent production is getting him back into that stratosphere again.

#17 In his past seven games, Colorado Avalanche defenceman Cale Makar has zero points. This stretch is the first time – in his career! – that he has gone more than three consecutive games without recording a point. It’s not like this is no reason to trade Makar. He has 20 shots on goal in those seven games and has 60 points (13 G, 47 A) in 53 games this season, but an unprecedented slump from the most prolific scoring defenceman in the league at least bears watching.

#18 Since the All-Star break, the leaders in all situations expected goals: Nico Hischier (5.57), Nathan MacKinnon (5.54), Auston Matthews (5.21), Chris Kreider (4.91), J.T. Miller (4.88), Kirill Kaprizov (4.66), Zach Hyman (4.55), Jack Hughes (4.45), Brady Tkachuk (4.37), Joel Eriksson Ek (4.32), Boone Jenner (4.25), Kyle Palmieri (4.25), Evander Kane (4.23), Nazem Kadri (4.22), and Cole Caufield (4.18).  While these are a lot of expected names, it’s interesting to see Hischier at the top of the list, and players like Jenner, Palmieri, and Kane are likely higher than their overall production might suggest.

#19 There are 36 players that have recorded at least seven power-play points since January 1. That list includes Juraj Slafkovsky (9), Jonathan Huberdeau (7), Frank Vatrano (7), Morgan Frost (7), and Jake Neighbours (7). Again, a lot of the names at the top of the list are to be expected – Matthew Tkachuk leads with 14 five-on-four points in 2024 – but some less established players are starting to make a difference with the man advantage, too.

#20 With Mark Stone injured, joining Jack Eichel on the shelf, the Vegas Golden Knights are getting rather thin up front, so maybe consider Michael Amadio as a short-term fix. The 27-year-old forward has scored a goal in four of the past five games, putting a dozen shots on goal while averaging more than 16 minutes of ice time per game. Amadio finished with a career-high 27 points (16 G, 11 A) in 67 games last season and has 21 points (11 G, 10 A) in 50 games this season, so he is not necessarily a long-term answer but, right now, he has an opportunity to play a more significant role.