Fantasy hockey: Late season player watchlist

Fantasy players, and the Pittsburgh Penguins, are looking for Conor Sheary to repeat his success playing with Sidney Crosby. Adam Davis/Icon Sports

Leaping off this week's Waiver Watch, here's a roundup of several other late-season fantasy performers, now that the trade-deadline dust is starting to settle. Some of them are connected to deals made before 3 p.m. ET Monday, others not at all. All largely available, as per usual.

Dylan Strome, C, Chicago Blackhawks (48.4%): Enduring an utterly awful February since returning from an ankle injury, Strome now has an assist in each of his past two games. It's a start. And if the young center continues to skate on a line with Patrick Kane -- as was the case in Thursday's win over the Lightning -- he'll, once more, pile up the points at a regular clip. At which point a reunion with regular linemate Alex DeBrincat might be in the cards. Strome registered 51 points in 58 games following his trade from Arizona last season, and another 29 in the first 37 games of this campaign. This current dry spell is out of character. Watch the 22-year-old quickly rediscover his scoring groove, especially once the Blackhawks are truly out of it, playoff-race wise.

Nino Niederreiter, RW/LW, Carolina Hurricanes (46.3%): Enjoying a renewed lease aside former Panthers center Vincent Trocheck will only help. Three goals and an assist in six games also promises of more productive times ahead. After amassing 30 points, including 14 goals, in 36 games with Carolina to close out 2018-19, Niederreiter has served as a hefty disappointment this season. But, finally, he appears inspired to make up for lost time. And I can't hammer enough on the importance of Trocheck joining his immediate mix, at even strength and with the extra skater.

Nick Foligno, LW/RW, Columbus Blue Jackets (23.3%): He's clearly having fun again. He's hitting and blocking shots and shooting and, most importantly, scoring again. Four goals and one assist in four games, to be precise. The beloved raccoon-eyed Columbus captain is also skating a ton -- averaging more than 22 minutes per game of late -- on a Blue Jackets' top line and power play. If your league rewards physical play in addition to scoring, you want Foligno for the season's waning weeks.

Tyler Ennis, LW/C/RW, Edmonton Oilers (21.0%): After fawning over Andreas Athanasiou earlier as a rising fantasy star in his new digs, I owe the Oilers' other significant forward acquisition a little love as well. Ennis is also playing on a forward line with Connor McDavid. And unlike the former Red Wing, the ex-Senator has managed to remain healthy through his first two games in Edmonton (Athanasiou is day-to-day with a minor lower-body injury), all the while earning a goal and assist. Managers in deeper leagues are advised to scoop him up.

Robert Thomas, C/RW, St. Louis Blues (9.4%): Centering David Perron and Zach Sanford is looking good on the young center, through the lens of one goal and four assists in four recent games. Keeper/dynasty managers take note -- this kid is going to be a star. Still only 20 years old, the 20th overall draft selection (2017) won't be long for earning 60-70 points, season in and out. For now, he appears poised to wrap up 2019-20 with a bang even with a squad recognized for getting it done collectively.

Conor Sheary, LW/RW, Pittsburgh Penguins (6.0%): Sheary collected 53 points in 61 games with the Penguins in 2016-17, a good number of them earned while playing on Sidney Crosby's wing. Well guess what? Following Monday's trade with the Sabres, the 27-year-old winger finds himself back aside one the most gifted centers to ever play the game. This could be fun. Fantasy managers with significant roster holes might consider giving Sheary a shot at reviving that scoring magic, particularly in H2H leagues.

Bobby Ryan, RW/LW, Ottawa Senators (5.8%): And not just because we're all rooting for him. Back in the game after taking time off to battle an addiction to alcohol, Ryan didn't take long in reminding us of his penchant for putting the puck in the net. Two games, as it was. In addition to Thursday's hat trick versus the Canucks (including an empty-netter), the 32-year-old also earned five for fighting and finished a plus-three. Remember, Ryan strung together four 30-plus goal seasons with the Ducks before joining the Senators in 2013. He has it in him. Oh, and he's playing on a top-scoring line and power play with Brady Tkachuk. Pick him up.

Alec Martinez, D, Vegas Golden Knights (21.0%): What a difference a change of scenery -- and supporting cast -- makes. Only four games into his tenure in Vegas, the former King already has two goals and four assists. Bananas, I know. But it wasn't that long ago (2016-17) that Martinez earned nearly 40 points in L.A. And the 32-year-old is clearly thriving on a top-four pair aside Shea Theodore and secondary power play with his new club. Honestly, unless your fantasy blue line absolutely sparkles, grab Martinez ASAP. Before other managers catch wise.

Joonas Korpisalo, G, Columbus Blue Jackets (38.9%): Echoing my endorsement from earlier this week, Korpisalo could provide a significant boost to just about any fantasy squad this closing stretch. Suffering a suspected upper-body injury (head/neck?), Elvis Merzlikins has yet to practice with teammates. Matiss Kivlenieks is the club's undisputed backup. And Korpisalo looked more than solid in his first appearance, in relief of Elvis versus Ottawa, since recovering from his own injury. Further, the Blue Jackets -- struggling of late -- are due to turn matters around. Of all available goalie options at present, Columbus' current No. 1 checks the most boxes.