Fantasy Hockey Values: Young center Dylan Cozens headlines group of risers

By Jan Levine, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

In this space, we'll look at which NHL players are seeing their fantasy hockey values rise or fall on a week-to-week basis.

This week's article includes a first-round pick thriving in Buffalo, Winnipeg's former captain on a roll, Dallas' top D-man hot and a big-dollar free-agent signing scuffling in Anaheim.

First Liners (Risers)

Dylan Cozens, C, BUF

Cozens, selected seventh overall in 2019, took a major step forward last season with 38 points in 79 games. It looks like that was just the start of Cozens becoming a viable fantasy option. Cozens has recorded five multi-point performances in his last 12 games (including each of his last three contests), delivering five goals and 16 points over that stretch. Centering the second line in Buffalo, Cozens is up to 24 points in 25 games, aided by an increase in his ice time and shooting percentage, the latter of which should also be sustainable.

Matt Duchene, C, NSH

Last season was a magical campaign for Duchene, as he resurrected his career after a pair of down seasons by notching career highs in goals and points. Expecting 86 points again would be foolish, but Duchene still has plenty of value. Duchene had his third multi-point effort in the last eight games Friday, a span in which he has three goals and seven helpers to boost his season totals to 21 points in 23 games. He's likely to slow down a little, but a 60-point season would appear to be a reasonable mark for Duchene.

Blake Wheeler, RW, WPG

Wheeler was stripped of the captaincy before the season started and everyone was wondering how long he would remain a Jet. His somewhat slow start to the season did little to quell those whispers and rumors, but Wheeler has since put those comments to bed. Over the last seven games, Wheeler has three goals and nine assists, and the 36-year-old now has 22 points (five on the power play), 45 shots on net, 14 PIM and a plus-1 rating through 23 contests while skating on the first line.

Dylan Guenther, RW, ARI

The inclusion of Guenther is more for those individuals who play in keeper leagues. His production this season will be uneven and sporadic, mixing flashes of brilliance with those where he looks lost on the ice. Taken ninth overall in 2021, Guenther has three goals and eight assists while seeing most of his action in the bottom-six. He has shown he isn't out of place with top-six deployment, which should be his likely landing spot later this season and beyond.

Zach Hyman, RW, EDM

Hyman, after six years in Toronto, signed a seven-year, $38.5 million contract with the Oilers in July 2021. Playing alongside Connor McDavid and/or Leon Draisaitl was a motivating factor for Hyman to land in Edmonton. The result was new career highs in goals (27), assists (27), points (54) as well as several other categories. He's showing that last season's rise in output was no fluke, as Hyman is up to nine goals and 17 assists — seven in the past four games — in 25 contests while skating on the top line. Check his status, as he missed Monday's game with an undisclosed injury.

Noah Hanifin, D, CGY

Hanifin tied his career-high in goals with 10 while also reaching new highs in assists (38) and points (48) last season. He got off to a horrific start this season, going scoreless in his first eight contests, but he looks to have turned the corner, with all 10 of his points coming in the last 15 games. The fifth overall pick in 2015, Hanifin has settled as the Flames' top-pair, left-handed blueliner at even strength while manning a point on the second power-play unit.

Miro Heiskanen D, DAL

With John Klingberg no longer in Big D, the expectation was that Heiskanen would assume the role of top dog on the power-play point and on the first even-strength unit. Those presumptions have proven to be prescient, as Heiskanen has taken his game to the next level. After hitting the scoresheet Thursday with three assists, Heiskanen had points in four consecutive games, managing a goal and six assists in that span before the streak was broken Sunday. Heiskanen now has three goals and 16 assists in 22 games this season, putting him on pace to top his career-high of 36 points.

Tristan Jarry, G, PIT

In his first season as Pittsburgh's unquestioned No. 1 goaltender, Jarry delivered. His 34 wins and 2.42 goals-against average were both career-best marks, while his .919 save percentage was the second-best of his career. Jarry started this season hot, winning his first four starts, before going the next three weeks without a win while looking lost between the pipes. He has certainly righted the ship, going 6-0-1 in his last seven outings, allowing 14 goals on 223 shots in that stretch.

Others include Pierre-Luc Dubois, Jared McCann, Joel Eriksson Ek, Boone Jenner, Brock Nelson, Mikael Granlund, Johnny Gaudreau, Nick Paul, John-Jason Peterka, Roope Hintz, Matias Maccelli, Travis Sanheim, Vince Dunn, Gustav Forsling, Noah Dobson, Darnell Nurse, Dan Vladar, Jake Oettinger, Dan Vladar, Spencer Martin, Juuse Saros and Pyotr Kochetkov.

Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)

Ryan Strome, C, ANA

Ask any Rangers fan for their lasting image of Strome, and they'll tell you it's of him missing open nets. Despite his chemistry with Artemi Panarin and his production in New York, the missed shots are what has stuck with most of them. Strome signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Ducks this July. After a decent start, Strome has hit the skids a bit. He scored his first goal in nine outings Saturday, ending an eight-game stretch in which he'd collected just one point and registered a minus-10 rating.

Tanner Jeannot, LW, NSH

Jeannot, an undrafted free agent, came almost out of central casting to notch 24 goals and 17 assists — though he went scoreless the last 12 games of the season — while posting a ridiculous 318 hits last season. His shooting percentage last year was an unsustainable 19.4%, so a regression was expected. There's a difference, though, between regression and an almost complete fall-off in output. Jeannot registered his first point in 13 outings on Nov. 29 and now has three goals and a pair of helpers in 23 games, showing that last season's year-end slump might have been more the norm than an aberration.

Jonathan Quick, G, LAK

Cal Petersen was placed on waivers last Wednesday after posting a 5-3-2 record with a 3.75 GAA and .868 save percentage in 10 games. With Petersen landing in the AHL, Quick is now the unquestioned starter in LA. While that is a positive, if Petersen had been playing well, Quick would be the one opening the bench door while Petersen was on the ice. Heading into Saturday's game, Quick had a record of 8-7-2 this season with a 3.33 GAA and an .888 save percentage.

Others include Jack Roslovic, Yanni Gourde, Vasili Podkolzin, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jack Campbell, Jordan Binnington and Cal Petersen.