Kuzmenko CGY

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1. Kuzmenko bouncing back for Flames after trade

The trade swapping Elias Lindholm for Andrei Kuzmenko has started off with a bang on both sides. Lindholm scored two goals in his Vancouver Canucks debut Tuesday, while Kuzmenko has scored goals in consecutive games for the Calgary Flames.

But with most of the focus being on the win-now move by the Canucks and their Lindholm upgrade, Kuzmenko (55 percent rostered in fantasy) is playing on a new line with forwards Yegor Sharangovich and Jonathan Huberdeau; all three of those Flames players were acquired in separate deals for Calgary’s previous top forwards Lindholm, Tyler Toffoli and Matthew Tkachuk, respectively.

Per NHL EDGE stats, Kuzmenko is tied for sixth in the NHL in offensive zone time percentage, the percentage of time the puck spends in the offensive zone when that player is on the ice.

His shooting percentage has regressed drastically (15.2) compared to last season (27.3), when he scored 39 goals (tied for 20th in NHL) for the Canucks, and playing time decreased with multiple healthy scratches. But a change of scenery and bigger role for a team that needed another finisher (31.4 shots on goal; 11th in NHL) could be a recipe for success.

2. Necas among skating speed leaders

Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin Necas continues to be one of the most underrated players in fantasy, and his skating speed helps drive their strong offense and possession style.

The Hurricanes are leading the NHL in shot attempts percentage (59.3) for the second straight season under coach Rod Brind'Amour, and Necas ranks sixth among all forwards in shot attempts differential (plus-233). Per NHL EDGE stats, Necas also ranks fifth in the NHL in 20-plus mph speed bursts (233) and has the 10th highest max skating speed (23.68 mph against Washington Capitals on Dec. 17 in first period) this season.

He is cashing in on those chances lately with a hat trick in Carolina’s win against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, giving him nine points (seven goals, two assists) and 35 shots on goal in his past eight games. Necas is tied for second on the Hurricanes in goals (16) and alone in second in shots on goal (124).

3. Luukkonen hidden gem from Sabres

Despite the Buffalo Sabres’ injuries and scoring inconsistencies this season, goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is showing signs of a breakout.

The 24-year-old is 6-4-0 with a .940 save percentage and two shutouts in his past 10 games and has a .910 save percentage and three shutouts in 27 games, a drastic improvement compared to last season (.892, no shutouts in 33 games). Luukkonen allowed two goals in a loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, marking his 10th straight game with three or fewer goals allowed.

Per NHL EDGE stats, Luukkonen ranks sixth among all goalies in high-danger save percentage (.837; League average: .783) this season. If the Sabres, led by second-half bounce-back candidate Tage Thompson, start converting on more of their opportunities (31.6 shots on goal per game; 10th), Luukkonen would likely become even more of a mainstay on fantasy rosters and potentially lift Buffalo back into contention.

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