Fantasy hockey: Juraj Slafkovsky thriving on top line

Jason Robertson tallies goal vs. Hurricanes (0:56)

Jason Robertson tallies goal vs. Hurricanes (0:56)

Alex Ovechkin must now wait a few days before trying to extend his scoring streak to seven contests, as the Capitals -- along with the Golden Knights, Islanders, and Blue Jackets -- are off until the weekend. Of those in action this Valentine's Wednesday, Minnesota brings its current winning roll to Arizona to face a fumbling Coyotes team, while the Jets stand a good chance of besting Kaapo Kahkonen and a beat-up Sharks squad -- now without Tomas Hertl. Elsewhere on this lightly-speckled three-game slate, the Penguins - winners of only three of their past 10 -- host the rather vicious Panthers.

To wrap the conventional workweek, Carolina/Arizona presents as Friday's only NHL match, following Thursday's much livelier 12-game schedule, when some sit/play lineup decisions will likely matter. Maybe give Jordan Binnington a rest that particular date. More on why below.

Last note: In case you've travelled to some internet-less outpost this week, know that Morgan Rielly has already sat out one of his five-game suspension for cross-checking Ottawa's Ridly Greig. Because goodness knows no one has discussed that incident at all these past few days.

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Stock up

Claude Giroux, F, Ottawa Senators: Contributing in significant fashion to the Sens' recent four-game win streak, the veteran forward has three goals and three assists in his past five altogether. He's also shooting more than usual, which doesn't hurt. Skating on a forward line with Tim Stutzle, and power play with Brady Tkachuk, Giroux presents as a valuable asset when Ottawa hosts the Ducks Thursday, and again in Chicago on the weekend.

Nazem Kadri, F, Calgary Flames: Before hitting the wall that was Igor Shesterkin in New York on Monday, the Flames forward collected eight goals and 12 assists on 62 shots in his most recent 18 games. Determined to keep his Flames in it for as long as possible, Kadri isn't about to take his foot off the gas anytime soon. Not in his nature to ever do so, really. The center/top power-play asset is comfortably averaging upwards of 2.0 fantasy points/game in ESPN.com standard leagues for some time now.

Juraj Slafkovsky, F, Montreal Canadiens: This kid is absolutely flourishing under Martin St. Louis in Montreal. Logging heavy minutes on a top line and power play with Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, Slafkovsky has five goals and three assists on 16 shots in his most recent five games. He's just getting going. Check on the teen's fantasy availability asap.

Adam Henrique, F, Anaheim Ducks: If/when he's traded elsewhere, you can reevaluate. Until then, know that Henrique is banging out 2.6 fantasy points/contest in ESPN.com standard fantasy leagues this past month while skating on a line with Leo Carlsson. And there's a very solid chance he's available in your own league.

Stock down

Jordan Binnington, G, St. Louis Blues: I wouldn't start him against the Oilers this week, in any case. That the Blues have yet to face Edmonton this season doesn't offer much comfort either. With a dozen games peppering Thursday's schedule, there are better goaltending options available out there.

San Jose Sharks forwards: Battling an ongoing groin issue, Logan Couture may not return at all this season. Tomas Hertl is out weeks after having cartilage removed from his knee. Outside of a handful of shot-blocking defenders - including up-and-comer Shakir Mukhamadullin - and maybe goalie Mackenzie Blackwood when the matchup sports promise, you might best steer clear of individual fantasy Sharks in the here and now.

Johnny Gaudreau, F, Columbus Blue Jackets: Averaging 1.01 fantasy points/game since last finding the back of the net, he hasn't scored a goal this calendar year (Dec. 29). Time to call it.

Streamer specials

Pyotr Kochetkov, G, Carolina Hurricanes Or whoever, between Kochetkov and Spencer Martin, gets tossed out there versus the struggling Coyotes for Friday's only NHL contest. But neither in Vegas on Saturday. No thank you.

Anthony Stolarz, G, Florida Panthers: After pounding the Kings 7-0, the odds of the Sabres - in their current form - lighting up the opposition for a second straight contest are rather slim. Plus, the Panthers are an impressive 3-0-1 in their second game of back-to-backs this season. Having allowed only six total goals in his past four contests (one partial), Stolarz deserves a fantasy go against Buffalo after Sergei Bobrovsky presumably plays the Penguins on Wednesday.

Alex Nedeljkovic, G, Pittsburgh Penguins: Supposing Tristan Jarry gets the nod against the Panthers Wednesday, I would certainly consider rolling out the Penguins' backup against the Blackhawks on Thursday. As I would entertain the idea of playing just about any netminder against a team that has one victory in their past nine games. Plus, Nedeljkovic played well in his most recent two contests, despite failing to escape with the win.