Jeff Skinner – The Carolina Hurricanes’ Jeff Skinner has been red hot over the past month with a whopping 16 goals since the start of December. Using figure skating-like agility and a-blink-your-eye-and-its-in-the-back-of-the-net type of release often leaves the opposition wondering, what just happened? Over a point per game and 50 goal pace, Skinner continues to prove he is an elite player despite injuries, namely concussions, sometimes holding him back.
Joe Thornton – Former Canadian Olympian, Jumbo Joe Thornton is racking up the assists for an NHL leading 43 in an equal 43 games on the year. Leading up to the Canadian Olympic team announcement, Thornton has set up teammates for 12 assists over an 8 game assist streak. Questioned for his big game performances in the past, don’t get it twisted, Jumbo Joe is a seasoned veteran who is playing at the top of his game and is a legitimate option for Stevie Y and the rest of Team Canada’s management team.
Claude Giroux – After a slow start to the year that found him on the Cold list, Claude Giroux is the first of HLC’s cellar dwellers to rise up onto the Hot list. Legitimately in the discussion for best player in the world at one point, Giroux enjoyed a 9 game point streak in December in which he recorded a staggering 17 points. With considerable ground still left to catch up, Giroux could still finish top 10 in scoring if his re-discovery continues. A selection from Team Canada’s hockey brass on Tuesday at 11 am EST will further validate Giroux as an elite player.
Mike Green – Once in the discussion for Team Canada, Green is knocked for being a one dimensional offensive player, many of the same criticisms that PK Subban now faces. Unfortunately for the Washington Capitals and Team Canada, something has happened to Green’s offensive game as he has just 5 goals on the year, 2 of them coming the other night. Green was the top defensemen in fantasy hockey with 30 goal and point per game upside, but now is merely a safe bet for 40 points. If you think yet another Olympic snub, this time not even being in the conversation, will revive Green, then nows the time to buy low.
Nazem Kadri – Thrown a heap of pressure ever since he was drafted 7th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Nazem Kadri seemed to have silenced his critics last season with 44 points in 48 games. After squandering a golden opportunity to center the top line next to Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, Kadri is trying to find his game in 2014 as he has a lone 1 goal in his past 9 games. With the glare of the Canadian media refusing to dim, Nazem needs to find chemistry with line-mate Joffrey Lupul if the trade rumors are to die down before the deadline.
Rick Nash – Oddly considered a lock by many for Canada’s Olympic Team even though he is having one of his worst seasons ever with 16 points in 26 games this season. Known for his red light flashing ability, Nash has only found the back of the net once in his past 11 games. In his time in Columbus, Nash’s production was forgiven for lack of support around him. Now playing in New York with legitimate offensive players in Brad Richards, Derek Stepan, and Chris Kreider, Nash needs to pick his game back up to top tier power forward status. The hopes of Hockey Canada may depend on it.
Free Agent Pickups
Mike Fisher – Always a reliable center-man with a well rounded game, Fisher’s offense has been a bit streaky over the years. As the top line center for the Nashville Predators, Fisher is on a hot streak with 10 points in his last 5 games. Owned in just 16% of Yahoo leagues, deep leaguers should be looking to ride this wave as soon as possible. Also seeing regular time on the power-play, expect a 50 point pace from here on out, but don’t expect earth shattering numbers all of a sudden in this, Fisher’s 15th season in the NHL.
Ondrej Palat – A proud day for this Frydek-Mistek, Czech Republic native, as Ondrej Palat was named to the Czech Olympic Hockey roster going to Sochi, Russia. The good news for fantasy owners is that Palat is on a 6 game point streak, with 7 points, on the heels of the selection. Lining up next to rookie Tyler Johnson and Team Canada Olympic hopeful, Marty St. Louis, Palat has seen a rise in playing time on the top line with close to 20 minutes per game. Available in over 95% of Yahoo leagues, Palat may be worth a flier to keep it up.
Brian Elliott – Known for astonishing hot streaks on an extremely deep St. Louis Blues team, Brian Elliott has taken advantage of his playing time with Jaroslav Halak out with an illness. Elliott sports a 1.85 GAA and 0.928 save %, and is currently on a personal 6 game win streak that included two shutouts. Always limited by the presence of Halak, Elliott is a great short term add who could put up top 5 numbers as long as he has the crease.
For Hockeyland Canada,