The first half of the 2011-2012 NHL Season is now over, and players are back on the ice after the All-Star Break. What this means is that you only have a little over 30 regular season games left to make some profits playing daily fantasy hockey at DraftDay. And if you’re interested in some NHL players who stand a good chance of improving over the second half of the season, here is a look at a few.
Jeff Skinner, C Carolina Hurricanes – After missing well over a month due to injury, Skinner is already playing well in his time back. The center has two goals and two assists in his past five games, and is showing some signs of life on one of the NHL’s worst teams. Assuming he can get a little more help from LW Jussi Jokinen, the Hurricanes’ offense could be in line for some major improvement.
Nik Antropov, C Winnipeg Jets – While Antropov isn’t one of the NHL’s elite centers, he has been playing really strong as of late. In his last five games, he’s racked up three goals and three assists, which is quite impressive considering the fact that his statline was fairly modest throughout the first half of the season (8G, 19Ast). It wouldn’t be a surprise if Antropov continues to play well during the second half of the year since he’ll have to pick up the production of injured LW Evander Kane.
Marian Gaborik, RW New York Rangers – You’re not exactly going to get Gaborik for cheap – especially after his All-Star MVP performance – but he’s definitely proving to be worth his DraftDay salary (normally low $14,000’s) lately. In his last five games, Gaborik is averaging over 8 PPG for daily fantasy hockey players, which makes him one of the top players in the league over this span.
Patric Hornqvist, RW Nashville Predators – This has not started out as Hornqvist’s best season in the NHL (15G, 9Ast), but he’s picking things up as we head into the season’s second half. Hornqvist has three goals and two assists in his last four games alone, which could be a sign of things to come for the 25-year-old.
Martin Erat, LW Nashville Predators – It’s no secret to Nashville fans that Martin Erat’s strong play has helped the aforementioned Hornqvist quite a bit. Erat has five assists in the past five games to go along with a goal, and has been one of the most consistent wingers in the NHL this year. Now you might not get huge scoring games out of the Czech, but he’s going to be a nice player to balance out your lineups.
Paul Martin, D Pittsburgh Penguins – If you’re looking for a cheaper defenseman who can put some points on the board, Martin has been the man lately. He’s tallied four assists in the past five games, and is averaging almost 3 PPG for DraftDay players during this run. Sure this isn’t any reason to ring the alarm, but you also have to consider that Martin typically costs between $4k and $5k, which makes him a solid value pick. Furthermore, you can expect this production to continue since he’s getting increased minutes lately.
Tomas Kaberle, D Montreal Canadiens – Following a change of scenery from Carolina to Montreal, Kaberle seems to be playing better – especially lately! He has four assists in as many games, and is currently proving to be one of the better scoring defenseman in the league. Kaberle is normally a pretty cheap player, so you can get some very good value here.
Jonas Hiller, G Anaheim Ducks – Despite having a shaky start to the season on an equally shaky team, Hiller has showed signs of improvement over the past couple of weeks. In the last five games, he’s allowed just nine goals and won four of these games as well; additionally, he’s averaged over 6 PPG for DraftDay players in this five-game span. One thing sweetening the deal even further is that Hiller is a mid-priced goalie whose salary normally runs from $11k–$12k. That said, he is THE goalie to watch over the second half of the NHL season.