Weekend watch: Arvidsson, Drouin in scoring roles

Erik Karlsson's OT winner helps Penguins move into playoff position (1:09)

Erik Karlsson scores the winner in overtime vs. Detroit to help the Pittsburgh Penguins move into a playoff position. (1:09)

The final weekend of the NHL's regular season features five games Friday, 13 Saturday, and only four on Sunday. In these waning days of fantasy competition, the flexibility to activate players when most of the league is silent is more important than ever.

After a couple of days off, the Hurricanes visit the Blues Friday then Blackhawks Sunday, while the Predators face those same 'Hawks Friday and the Blue Jackets on Saturday. Some appealing fantasy matchups there. Calgary stops in Anaheim Friday before welcoming the Coyotes Sunday. While Nazem Kadri probably isn't available in your league, one of his valuable linemates - listed below - very well might be. Desperate for every 'W' available, Vegas faces off with the Wild on Friday and Colorado to wrap the weekend.

At this stage, it's also worth noting which clubs have fewer games left altogether. The Panthers, Stars, Rangers, Flyers, Devils, Sabres, and Blue Jackets only play twice more before we put a bow on 2023-24. Which means it might be time to outright jettison all but your highest functioning fantasy stars from those sides. In contrast, the Golden Knights, Wild, Kraken, Flames, and Blackhawks play four more games, while the Oilers face five concluding contests.

Which means, yes, releasing a more prominent fantasy performer like Rangers' forward Vincent Trocheck for, say, Chicago's Philipp Kurashev, could make very sound sense in the here and now. When playing the schedule is crucial to victory.

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Stock Up

Dylan Guenther, F, Arizona Coyotes (Available in 91% of ESPN.com leagues): That young scoring line comprised of Lawson Crouse, Logan Cooley, and Guenther is having itself a time right now, pitching in points much more often than not. The most available of the three, the former Edmonton Oil King just capped off a productive month-long run with a goal and three assists on four shots, while logging more than 21 minutes, against the Canucks. The Coyotes visit Edmonton Friday and Calgary Sunday - when most other teams are idle.

Lucas Raymond, F, Detroit Red Wings (Available in 61% of ESPN.com leagues): The Detroit winger is certainly doing his bit in trying to muscle his club into a playoff spot. Skating on a scoring unit with Dylan Larkin, Raymond has five goals and three assists in five games, including a hat-trick in Pittsburgh Thursday evening. The Red Wings visit the Maple Leafs Saturday before their ultimate home-and-home set with the Canadiens. Raymond isn't done scoring yet, especially if Toronto puts forth a similar defensive "effort" as they did against the Devils most recently.

Jonathan Drouin, F, Colorado Avalanche (Available in 78% of ESPN.com leagues): Did you catch those three gorgeous goals by Nathan MacKinnon the other night against the Wild? Well, Drouin provided the primary assist on two of them, while supplying another helper on a Cale Makar's 20th of the year. Logging heavy minutes on a forward line and power play with MacKinnon, Drouin is producing like no one's business right now, to the tune of seven goals and 11 points in his past 12 games. Which averages out to 2.8 fantasy points/contest. Come on. There's no excuse not to have this guy in your fantasy lineup when the Avalanche face the Jets and Golden Knights this weekend.

Additional note: Mikko Rantanen (concussion) was spotted in a full-contact sweater in practice late this week. Check on the forward's status ahead of Saturday's contest. Artturi Lehkonen has been filling in for Rantanen on Colorado's top line with MacKinnon and Drouin.

Andrei Kuzmenko, F, Calgary Flames (Available in 38% of ESPN.com leagues): Competing on a line with Kadri, Kuzmenko just snapped a six-game point streak in which he collected five goals and six helpers. Look for the winger to get back on scoring track Friday in Anaheim.

Brayden Schenn, F, St. Louis Blues (Available in 81% of ESPN.com leagues): Not yet right out of it, St. Louis plays the Hurricanes Friday and Kraken Sunday, before wrapping up against the (resting?) Stars next Wednesday. Apologies for being repetitive here - he's functioned as a recurring character in this space of late - but Schenn is serving as an absolute fantasy gem right now. The Blues forward might be my favorite pre-weekend addition, all considered.

Viktor Arvidsson, F, Los Angeles Kings (Available in 70% of ESPN.com leagues): Humming along with three goals and three assists on 21 shots through six games, Arvidsson is nicely poised to put up more points in the Kings' final three contests against the Ducks, Blackhawks, and a deflated Wild squad.

Thatcher Demko, G, Vancouver Canucks (Available in 11% of ESPN.com leagues): Just a quick note that Demko could be ready to return to action as early as Saturday against the Oilers. Perhaps not as attractive a fantasy matchup as compared to next Tuesday's tilt with the Flames.

See also:

  • Conor Garland, F, Vancouver Canucks (Available in 88% of ESPN.com leagues)

Streamer Specials

Calvin Pickard, G, Edmonton Oilers (Available in 87% of ESPN.com leagues): As long as the Oilers aren't too distracted by their Saturday tilt with the Canucks - an issue worth considering, no question - Edmonton's No. 2 could make for a reasonably smart streaming play versus Arizona on Friday. While the Coyotes have been scoring more than usual of late, they were also just blanked by the Kraken Tuesday. And the Oil still have a legit shot at securing top spot in the Pacific.

Pyotr Kochetkov, G, Carolina Hurricanes (Available in 57% of ESPN.com leagues): Victorious in three-straight, Kochetkov held the Bruins to a single goal, surrendered a pair to Washington, and pitched a 26-save shutout in Montreal. Yes, I would stream him against the Blackhawks on Sunday.

Kevin Lankinen, G, Nashville Predators (Available in 99% of ESPN.com leagues): As mentioned earlier this week, aside from one bad showing versus the Avs, Nashville's other netminder has been altogether solid since mid-February. Definitely consider streaming him versus the Blue Jackets Saturday if Juuse Saros earns the nod Friday against the Blackhawks. The Predators badly want that top Wild Card spot in the West. There's no easing up on the gas in Nashville right now.