Fantasy hockey rankings: Week 23 update

As the NHL season winds down, the fantasy playoffs heat up. Players like Chicago's Brendan Perlini are getting hot themselves, and at just the right time. NHLI/Getty Images

You need to keep pushing and grinding here in the final weeks of the fantasy hockey season. Whether you're in a head-to-head playoff matchup or the final stretch of rotisserie formats, lineups need adjusting and statistics need collecting.

There are many reasons you might be in need of some last-minute lineup tinkering:

Regardless of the reasons, there are still available options out there and you need to be taking advantage of them wherever you can. If you can slide some recent success into your lineup while still leaning on your established stars, it will increase your chances of hanging on as the finish line approaches.

Here are a few hot hands to consider:

Brendan Perlini, W, Chicago Blackhawks (available in 99 percent of ESPN leagues): A lineup change has landed the talented Perlini alongside scoring buddies Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat. I warned about Perlini's potential in this space last week and, sure enough, he torched his former team with a hat trick on Monday.

Andrei Svechnikov, W, Carolina Hurricanes (30 percent): Micheal Ferland ceded his lineup spot to the rookie for the past couple of games as he deals with yet another lingering injury. Svechnikov took advantage of the chance on Monday and scored two goals, along with an assist, playing with Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen. For as long as Ferland remains sidelined, Svechnikov is more than useful for fantasy squads.

Ryan Strome, C, New York Rangers (97 percent): While he can't catch brother Dylan for this season, he has been far more productive as a member of the Rangers than he was with the Oilers. His 23 points in 50 games with the Rangers are good. However, since Feb. 10, Strome has 12 points in 15 games and has been coming close to 20 minutes of ice time per night ever since New York's trade-deadline exodus. That's better.

Jared McCann, C, Pittsburgh Penguins (90 percent): He's playing with Sidney Crosby and piling up the points that one might expect in such a role. Six points in five games is more than enough to keep McCann roster-worthy for as long as he's in lockstep with Sid.

Jakob Chychrun, D, Arizona Coyotes (95 percent): Ranked fifth in power-play ice time during the past two weeks, Chychrun has quietly been doing enough to be in the mix for your blue line since about mid-February.

John Gibson, G, Anaheim Ducks (20 percent): Gibson is either mired on your bench or available on the free-agent pile after being dropped by some teams. While he's been getting slaughtered when the Ducks are in the penalty box, he's actually been stone cold at 5-on-5. In four starts over the past two weeks, Gibson has stopped 96-of-100 shots at even strength, even as his ratios were killed by allowing six power-play goals. The skills are back and the building blocks are in place for Gibson to run out the season on a hot streak.

Forwards on the move

David Pastrnak, W, Boston Bruins (up 18 spots to No. 25): He's a top-10 asset when healthy, so I'm building in a little room for more delay here. That said, Pastrnak is getting close to a return from the off-ice thumb injury he suffered on Feb. 10. While the Bruins had been experimenting with Pastrnak away from the top line just before the injury, he should return to the top line. Why? The reason for the experiment was to spark David Krejci and that mission has been accomplished, in absentia. Krejci has 17 points in 13 games since Pastrnak was hurt.

Jaden Schwartz, W, St. Louis Blues (up 28 spots to No. 146): With Tarasenko sidelined for at least the next week, Schwartz moved up to the top line with Brayden Schenn and Ryan O'Reilly on Saturday. Schwartz and Schenn, after being a dynamic duo together last season, haven't clicked during this campaign. Yet, facing the task of pushing this improbable run toward the post-season forward without their offensive catalyst, it's now or never for Schwartz to find his game. I'm at least interested enough to give him a look in the 58 percent of ESPN leagues where he is available.

Defenseman on the move

Charlie McAvoy, D, Boston Bruins (up 47 spots to No. 176): After a slow start to the season and a pair of injury stints sprinkled in, McAvoy is finally coming around. Since Feb. 9, he has 10 points in 15 games, with his shots totals and plus/minus trending in the right direction, too. He'll never be a truly elite fantasy defenseman until he can add the power play to his portfolio, but among defensemen that don't get much work on the man-advantage, McAvoy stands out.

Goaltender on the move

Petr Mrazek, G, Carolina Hurricanes (up 42 spots to No. 144): Hopefully the Hurricanes stop sharing the crease between Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney in time for fantasy teams to take advantage down the stretch. Since Feb. 8, Mrazek is 7-1-0 with three shutouts and ratios that sit in the top three in the league. He's only started eight games, yet still sits near the top in wins in that time. Perhaps McElhinney's 12 goals allowed over his past two games is enough to turn over the reins.

New to rankings

Brendan Perlini, Roope Hintz, Troy Terry, Oskar Lindblom, Richard Panik, Jakob Chychrun, Andrew Shaw and Robert Thomas.

Just missed

Tyler Myers, Boone Jenner, Jakob Silfverberg, Brandon Montour, Derick Brassard, Pavel Buchnevich and Brandon Pirri.

Dropped out

Gabriel Landeskog, Jesper Bratt, Nic Hischier, Derek Stepan, David Perron, Jake Gardiner, Oscar Klefbom and Neal Pionk.