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Fantasy Hockey Gauntlet - Week Twenty-One: Mike Hoffman, Cam Talbot, and Anaheim Off-Nights

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Troy Langefeld runs the fantasy hockey gauntlet for week twenty-one of the NHL season!

Picking up some Ducks will have you celebrating during the fantasy playoffs - Photo Credit
Picking up some Ducks will have you celebrating during the fantasy playoffs - Photo Credit
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

If you missed out on the early entries into my weekly series, you can find it all right here: Fake Teams Fantasy Hockey.

In the snake draft league - This was Made in Kariya - I took a step back. I'm still holding second place, but only by a point. With the last week of the season coming up, I have to have a good week and hold the bye. It's won't be easy as I play the team in fourth. In the auction draft league - Don't Toews me bro! - I also took a step back here, falling to third. For the final week of the regular season, the top six playoff teams are all matched up against each other. I'm behind a bye spot by four points and would really like to make up that difference with a strong week. Overall, it wasn't a very good week for me as I went 2-4-0 and I'm now 72-36-11 in head to head matchups on the year. My matchup winning percentage is 0.651 for the year among all leagues versus my category (points) winning percentage of 0.571.

Week Twenty-One (March 9-15) Preview:

It's the last week of the regular season in many leagues. Good luck to everyone heading into the playoffs!

4 Game Week: Anaheim, Boston, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Nashville, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Toronto
2 Game Week: Buffalo, Chicago
All other teams at 3 games

Waiver Pickups:

Mike Hoffman - C/LW - OTT (42% owned) and Mika Zibanejad - C/RW - OTT (19%): For a player with few expectations before the start of the season, Hoffman has been one of the biggest surprises this year. The rookie is playing great on the top line with Bobby Ryan and Mika Zibanejad. Bobby is long gone in nearly all leagues, but the other two are widely available. Hoffman is the preferred add with eight points, a couple powerplay points, and 24 shots over the last two weeks, but Mika isn't far behind. Mika is essentially doing the same thing with a few less shots. Both can make significant contributions to your playoff rosters.

Contributes in everything but penalty minutes
Can hurt you in penalty minutes

Brendan Gallagher - RW - MON (47%): Gallagher has always been a shooter, but he also plays a strong role game which is underestimated given his smaller frame. This often makes him watch list worthy, but has resulted in significant value recently. His ability to contribute in all six categories makes him a very valuable player when he's playing well.

Contributes in everything
Can hurt you in nothing

Michael Raffle - LW - PHI (2%): Raffl has burned me already this year, but obviously the Flyers like him as they keep returning him to their top lines. They're mixing up the lines quite a bit recently so it's difficult to determine just where he will slot, but he has five points in the last five games and like I said, is getting quality minutes. Might be worth a flyer (pun intended) this time.

Contributes in everything but powerplay points
Can hurt you in powerplay points

Chris Stewart - RW - MIN (13%) and Mikael Granlund - C - MIN (14%): I'm not quite sure if I'm ready to fully endorse Stewart yet, but he is getting consistent time on the second line and scored his first goal last game. He also got into a fight which shows his true value: a multi-category player. He is the rare player who can score and fight. I'd wait for his next game to see if the scoring carries over before making an add. The trade did nothing but help his value. Granlund is probably the better add as he is centering the top line with Zach Parise and Jason Pominville.

Contributes in goals, assists, penalty minutes (Stewart) and assists, plus/minus, penalty minutes (Granlund)
Can hurt you in powerplay points (both)

Sean Monahan - C - CGY (44%), Johnny Gaudreau - LW - CGY (50%), and Kris Russell - D - CGY (17%): Monahan and Gaudreau helped Jiri Hudler claim the NHL's first star of the week award last week. Jiri is gone in most leagues, but his little helpers are still available for the taking. Also, most people looked to Dennis Wideman when Mark Giordano went down, but Kris Russell has also made significant contributions to help minimize the loss. He's also far more available than Wideman as an acquisition. The Flames will relying heavily on these guys with a playoff berth on the line and they're all being run on the first powerplay unit.

Contributes in basically everything
Can hurt you in nothing really

Alexander Semin - LW/RW - CAR (33%): I have no idea why he's owned in 33% of leagues still with his frequent healthy scratches, but he might actually be turning a corner. No one on the waiver wire quite has the talent and ability to turn a game around quite like Semin does, the problem is how streaky he is in part due to his effort level on the ice. Throw out what he's done over the year though and look at the next few weeks alone. He is one of the best talents and his last couple weeks have been strong. The points aren't necessarily there, but he's been playing consistent minutes in the top six and has been shooting at an elite rate. You might not have a better opportunity to catch lightning in a bottle, but that said I still understand completely if he's burned you too often in the past to even consider adding him; there is no sure thing with this guy.

Contributes in every single category or absolutely none of them at all
Can hurt you in see above

Craig Smith - C/RW - NSH (46%), Mike Fisher - C - NSH (29%), and Colin Wilson - C/LW - NSH (38%): These three might be my most frequently recommended players this year. They've been consistently good, playing long stretches of hockey at a 60 point pace. Smith finds himself currently on the top line with Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro and Fisher and Wilson are on the second line with James Neal. Pretty good linemates if you ask me. And most importantly, Nashville is a different team than they were the last ten or so years. Have faith in these guys. Smith is the priority guy to add as he shoots a ton and has been scoring a lot lately. Fisher has been good but not amazing and surprisingly Wilson has not been good the last couple weeks (but I wouldn't expect that to continue). Unfortunately, the schedule is not very good for them to carry out the season as they play just a few games outside of the hugely popular Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday schedule.

Contributes in everything but penalty minutes and powerplay points
Can hurt you in powerplay points

Jakob Silfverberg - LW/RW - ANH (15%) and Tomas Fleischmann LW/RW - ANH (4%): Silfverberg and Fleischmann have been good lately, but nothing special. I wouldn't normally recommend them right now, but man games mean everything during the playoffs. And no team plays more off days than the Ducks making their players some of my favourite to own during the playoffs. Silfverberg and Fleischmann are the only underowned player in the top six that I feel comfortable recommending as they are getting consistent minutes on the second lien with Ryan Kesler. Those additional man games can make the difference between a fantasy championship and leaving empty-handed. The time to start positioning yourself is now.

Contributes in goals, assists, plus/minus
Can hurt you in penalty minutes, powerplay points

Cam Talbot - G - NYR (50%): Who knows how long his run will continue, but as long as King Henrik is out (I'm hearing there is still no timetable for his return), Talbot should continue to start for your team. The Rangers have had no reservations about overworking him as they expect Lundqvist back by the playoffs.His ownership is depressed due to his unknown timeline as the starter, but he has been playing quite well lately and he could be the key for you. If you're struggling to get into the playoffs or you just need better goaltenders, he's an easy answer to your problems.

Eddie Lack - G - VAN (37%): Ryan Miller's injury will have him out until near the end of the season making Eddie a strong add for the remainder of the year. Sure Miller might return during championship week and ruin everything, but wouldn't you rather make it to championship week in the first place? Here is a guaranteed starter who is widely available, playing on a playoff bubble team (the best kind). He's sure to play heavy minutes as the Canucks try to secure a playoff spot and he won't torpedo your other stats like other widely available starters likely will.

Hopefully there is enough here to help you get through the week and secure a playoff spot, but if not, here is a preview towards next week.

Week Twenty-Two (March 16-22) Preview:

Take a look at the attached NHL Schedule below to find teams playing on off nights. This becomes paramount during the playoffs when man games mean more than slightly more skilled players. Good luck as we enter the playoffs!

4 Game Week: Arizona, Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, St. Louis, Vancouver
2 Game Week: Colorado, Dallas, Nashville, New York Islanders
All other teams at 3 games

My NHL Schedule:

The NHL Schedule has not been revised for anything since last week but can be found here: 2014-15 NHL Schedule . Don't forget to change the time zone to your appropriate time zone. The one thing I ask of you is that you do not take my schedule and use it for your own personal gains. Please do not sell it, you can direct people here to find it, but do not sell it.

I'm new to the twitterverse, but I'd love to hear your feedback and questions. Follow me on Twitter @HockeyGauntlet for more of my thoughts and all of your fantasy hockey needs.