Colorado Avalanche left wing J.T. Comphe
Colorado Avalanche left wing J.T. Compher (37) and New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) in the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in Denver. The Avalanche won 4-2. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Mike Shara

Now that we’re almost at the end of the NFL’s regular season, we will start looking more closely at the other two big sports that aren’t even midway through their seasons to see if we can’t help your fantasy teams in hockey and basketball.

Today we’ll talk about five NHL players that have been under-rostered to this point in the season or might have suddenly improved in DFS value due to injuries or the ever present Covid Protocols list.

Despite scoring over 270 career goals and accumulating 500 career assists, Stastny (the son of legendary Quebec Nordiques scoring machine Peter Stastny), has never been an NHL All-Star, so clearly, he’s used to being overlooked.  Last season at age 35 he looked like he might be cooked, scoring just 13 times and finishing with a -3 plus/minus rating over 56 games. However, this year he already has 16 points in 23 games, with a +9 and was just recently upgraded to a key Jets scoring line, replacing an injured Blake Wheeler on a line with Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers. He has four points in his last two games and appears to be rounding into form under his new Head Coach.

J.T. COMPHER, RW/C, COLORADO (26% rostered in ESPN)
Another injury replacement whose value will continue to improve so long as he is playing alongside Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky, replacing an injured Valeri Nichushkin. He should see plenty of power play time and the Avalanche will have a lot of games to make up over the next while after they were shut down for over two weeks due to Covid outbreaks. His new linemate Kadri has been on fire with 9 points in his last 5 games, so some of that should be rubbing off on Compher these next few weeks.

ALEX GOLIGOSKY, D, MINNESOTA (39% rostered in Yahoo!)
After just 28 games this season, his plus/minus rating is already +16. He also had a goal and an assist in the New Year’s Day outdoor game vs. St. Louis, which was held at Minnesota’s Target Field. The Wild have started this season very well, and their goaltending has been sturdy. If your team is lacking plus/minus, this relatively under-rostered, under-appreciated defenseman could help balance things out for you. It won’t make your team sexy, but fantasy hockey isn’t supposed to be sexy.

TUKKA RASK, G, BOSTON (31% rostered on Yahoo!)
He’s going to return to the Bruins’ lineup sooner than later – Boston Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has speculated it could happen as soon as two weeks from now. If you drafted a goalie who has been a little disappointing thus far (Spencer Knight) or has been eclipsed as his team’s starter (Semyon Varlamov) or if you’ve been awaiting Carey Price’s return, there’s a good chance Rask could be your salvation. He is one of the NHL’s elite goaltenders if his hip is indeed healthy again, and deserves to at least split time with youngster Jeremy Swayman, who has played well in his absence.

The soon-to-be 22 year-old was a first round pick just 3 years ago and plays in New York City (well, ok, Long Island) so he shouldn’t be such a secret to fantasy hockey fans. He has four points and a +4 rating in his last two games, while averaging over 22 minutes per game. The ‘Blue and Orange’ have started to play better lately and will have some games to make up in the schedule over the next few weeks.  Dobson has also become the point man on their power play going forward, so his lack of fantasy attention should be coming to an end pretty soon. Make sure you don’t lose out if a defenseman on your team is underwhelming.

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