With playoff matchups just a couple weeks away in many fantasy hockey (FH) leagues, you may be searching for some solid players to help you down the stretch run. As most leagues also have their trade deadlines around the corner, most FH managers have to turn strictly to free agent/waiver wire additions for their team. So here are five sleepers (all <45% owned in Yahoo! FH leagues) that we think have a excellent chance to help your team down the stretch.
1. Frans Nielsen - C, NYI (24%-owned)
First guy on our list is Nielsen from the Islanders, who has potted 8 points in the last 10 games (2G/6A). If your league counts PP points, here's the guy you want - as Nielsen plays on the 1st PP unit for an Isles team that ranks 2nd in the NHL in goals for (with 200 on the season). Averaging just 0.58 PPG on the season (but 0.75 PPG in his last 20 games), and shooting under his career percentages (8.5% vs 10.1%), we wouldn't see be surprised to see him put up 15 points in the last 20 games of the year.
2. Mikael Granlund - C, MIN (11%-owned)
A bit of a slow season so far (24 points in 46 games, after putting up 41 points in 63 games last season), Granlund (along with the rest of the Minnesota Wild) have been picking up the pace as of late - one of the NHL's hottest teams since the all-star break (and surging them back into a wildcard spot). Skating on the Wild's 2nd line with Parise (plus getting PP time on the 2nd unit), Granlund has put up 6 points in the last 10 games (1G/5A). With the Wild continuing to fight for a playoff spot in the West, you can bet Granlund (and the rest of the Wild's top 6) will get plenty of opportunities to put points on the board.
3. Mark Stone - RW, OTT (11%-owned)
Stone has personally been red hot as of late playing on the 2nd line in Ottawa, with 11 points in his last 10 games played (3G/8A). He's been getting a lot of playing time during that stretch, including on the 2nd PP unit, averaging over 18+ min/game - so the opportunities will continue to be there. At only 11%-owned, he's a perfect candidate if you need help on the wing.
4. Craig Smith - C/RW, NSH (34%-owned)
Another player on their team's 2nd line and 2nd PP unit, Smith has chipped in with 7 points in the last 10 games (5G/2A). During that time, he's also fired 34 SOG, which puts him at 190 SOG on the season (ranked 14th most in the NHL - ahead of the likes of P. Kane, N. MacKinnon, J. Neal, and Ja. Benn). With Nashville currently 5th in the NHL in goals for, expect Smith to confidently put up 14-16 points in the last 21 games (~0.7 PPG) of the season. Added bonus, he has dual-position eligibility in Yahoo! FH leagues.
5. Travis Hamonic - D, NYI (44%-owned)
Looking for help on the back end? Here's your guy. With only a total of 23 points on the season, Hamonic has been flying under the radar in many leagues still - while putting up a solid 8 points in the last 10 games (1G/7A). Skating over 21+ min/game, including time on the Isles' 2nd PP unit, it's not hard to imagine Hamonic putting up (at least) 10 points down the stretch - especially on an offensively-gifted team in the East that can score goals. If your league counts other categories as well, he could provide an even greater benefit for your team (+16, 77 PIMs, and 163 hits on the season).
Hopefully we've given you some helpful insight for your FH playoff runs. Good luck!