Marv: I wanted to start out this week’s article by not mentioning the Superbowl. We’re talking hockey here so I want to talk about chilly ice rinks, sticks, pucks, highlight reel goals and of course plenty of PIMs. The only thing I will say about football is now that it has finished, fantasy hockey participation will regain some momentum. All of a sudden there are more trade offers coming in, trades being accepted, lineups being updated and commentators (good and bad) back in full swing. Now I push trading and waiver wire activity a lot, but even if you’ve fallen off the wagon and are trying to claw your way back into playoffs, it’s never too late to update!
Since we’re talking about the Superbowl (we weren’t), who else thought of that Simpsons episode “You Only Move Twice” (Homer receives the Denver Broncos as a gift from evil genius Hank Scorpio at the end)
Homer: Awww! The Denver Broncos
Marge: I think owning the Denver Broncos is pretty good.
Homer: Yeah yeah.
Marge: Well explain to me why it isn’t.
Homer: You just don’t understand football, Marge.”
This week we have a real treat for you. Pesos is away so you will be spared his endless babble about Leafs pick-ups. Maybe the week off will give him some inspiration and a better eye for who to target in your pool, but I doubt it. So here I am without a wingman, sitting at my desk, out of ideas. All of a sudden from the corner of my eye I spot a genuine seven footer, crooked smile n’all and dressed in his best Dion Phaneuf Leafs jersey (UPDATE: as a Sens fan I really feel my foot in my mouth after that latest trade). The so called Mr. Rob. Two hours later, Rob spits out more targets and player projections than Pesos has all year, the week is saved! So as Pesos gets his house in order, so should you by making sure your team is stacked with the best possible players out there (HINT: read below)
BUY’em While You Can
Lee Stempniak LW, RW (49% Owned)
Marv: Has had a surprising year so far playing well above his average. In his last eight games he’s got 5 goals, 4 assists and is +6. He doesn’t get many penalties but he does have 4 minutes in that 8 game stretch. There are a ton of rumors that if the Devils fall out of contention he will be pushed at the trade deadline. With his contract up this year, he will trying his very best to keep the momentum going and is a decent flyer for the bottom spots of anyone’s fantasy team.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic D (49% Owned)
Marv: Other than registering an awful -4 on Saturdays game versus Nashville, Vlasic has gone 3 goals, 6 assists over his last 10 games. He doesn’t hit too often (7 hits in that span) but he did manage 26 shots on net with 2 powerplay points. Defense aren’t usually high on my list or really in my spotlight often, but a good manager should always be watching his back end of his fantasy team, defense can cool down significantly, with name brands cooling sometimes harder than others (ie Zdeno Chara). Sometimes a couple D-man swaps could be the difference maker, especially when playing in Head-to-Head leagues.
Jiri Hudler C, LW, RW (49% Owned)
Marv: With trade rumors that he will get dealt by the trade deadline, this is a guy I will be watching very closely. As Viz pointed out in his latest article, a move to a different team could see his most recent hot streak increase. With multi position availability, this is a great player to have on your roster as you prep your fantasy team for playoffs.
Rob: I am not as high on Hudler as Marv, but he could be a decent pick up late in your season. Do not overpay for him. Other options to look at with better number and likely on your waiver wire are Mike Ribeiro and Mathieu Perreault.
Cam Talbot G (48% Owned)
Marv: Finally the real Talbot stands up, been waiting a while for this guy to turn up. He’s been turning up the heat finally. UPDATE: Of course I vouch for the guy and he goes and let’s in 2 back-to-back games of 4 goals, Ouch! I’m still not giving up hope (I still have him on my squad) as I think the talent is there and I’m hoping these two games will end up being a minor blimp in his second half resurgence. Other than those two games, his January (and 2 Feb starts) has looked pretty solid: 11 games, 6 wins, 2.33 GAA.
Rob: C’mon Marv, I thought you were better than this. He did just get a new contract but I still don’t see him as a reliable fantasy goalie. Yes he is talented and had good number in New York, but you can’t trust him until the Oilers significantly upgrade their defense and their entire teams learns how to be responsible in their own end. Case and point, 13 goals against in their last 2 games.
Aleksander Barkov C (47% Owned)
Marv: You guys know I love this kid and I know you guys/girls love this kid. I’m flooded with trades offers for him in all my leagues, why is he still on this list ? Pick him up now and if you’re in a keeper league and he’s available, shame on you.
Rob: Well you’ve redeemed yourself here Marv, I completely agree that this guy needs to be on your team. Still only 20 years old in his third season and getting better and better every game, 7 points in last 6 games. Great at both ends of the ice to help his +/- rating and consistently creates scoring chances for himself and his line mates. I consider him a younger version of Anze Kopitar and will be considered among the best centers in the game very soon. Get this guys on your team.
Shane Doan LW, RW (42% Owned)
Marv: I can’t leave him off this list anymore. Each week I look at him assuming he will slow down but the “old man” (yes, hes 40 this year) keeps scoring goals. In his last 8 games, he has 3 goals and 4 assists, 16 shots on net and still likes to play rough with 16 PIM’s. At 42% owned, he’s pretty much where I expect him to be, although he could be a little higher. As long as he keeps scoring/ getting points, I think he’s still relevant, not your first line kinda guy, but able to hold down a roster spot in deeper leagues.
Brayden Schenn C, LW (41% Owned)
Marv: In his last 7 games Schenn has 4 goals, 3 assists with 5 of those points coming off the power play. The kid also has some aggression and has been known to some fighting penalty minutes and will throw his body around (12 hits in his last 8 games)
Nazem Kadri C (36% Owned)
Rob: You might be wondering why a Leafs player is on this list based on their place in the standings, but Kadri is worth a waiver wire pick up. He has 6 points in his last 9 games and is hovering around an even rating (currently -1). The thing that sets Kardi apart is the incredible amount of shots on goal he gets, 189 shots is good for 8th in the league. He leads Leaf forwards in ice-time and get lots of time on the PP. The Leafs have a Western Canada road trip coming up, and all 3 teams give up quality scoring chances.
Marv: Rob you’re new here, so take this as your first warning, you get 1 Leafer mention per article, quota is now full. On a side note, we have been pumping Kadri and I think he’s proven that his ownership should be higher, even on the team he plays for. As we’ve said in the past, someone on the team is bound to score, at least 1 or 2 goals a game, and that player should be owned.
Hampus Lindholm D (33% Owned)
Marv: His last three games he’s had a goal in each of them, combined with 13 shots, 2 hits and 2 PIM’s and a power play point. Obviously were looking at a small sample size but for a defense, that’s not too bad a line. His hot and cold streaks seem to be short lived (1 week hot, 1 week cold) but if you need help on the blue line, and he’s riding a hot streak (and you have no move limit) not a bad gamble to take.
Cam Atkinson RW (32% Owned)
Marv: Throw 4 goals, 2 assists + 4, 4 PIM’s, a power play point and a total of 19 shots together and you have Atkinson’s line in his last 5 games. Yes, that from 5 games only. Sure , its late in the game for Columbus to start coming together (4 Wins in last 5 games) but I mostly play head-to-head leagues, I’ll take the points however & whenever I can get them.
Artem Anisimov C, LW (31% Owned)
Rob: He plays with Patrick Kane!! Don’t really have to say much more than that, but I will. He can be a streaky scorer, evident from his 5 points in his last 2 games. Despite him recently averaging about 20 minute per game, and playing with the league’s leading scorer, his stats aren’t where you would like them to be, but he could be heating. I like his chances with Kane and Artemi Panarin on his wings. He is a great option to add depth to your roster.
Marv: HA! This is what I’ve been missing, so actual wit to counter my own, bravo Rob. I like Anisimov, not as much as I like Atkinson or Vincent Trocheck (below) but definitely worth a mention on this list.
David Perron LW, RW (28% Owned)
Marv: This kid is on fire the last 2 weeks, have you noticed ? 3 goals, 5 assists. +7 with 8 PIM’s, 13 shots and 10 Hits in his last 7 games. I’m not saying he’ll stay this hot the rest of the season, but with these numbers, he deserves better ownership than this.
Eddie Lack G (28 % Owned)
Rob: Lack has shown he can be a good NHL goalie. Recently he had played the bulk of the games for the Hurricanes. They are certainly overachieving this year and are in the mix for the playoffs. He shut out the powerhouse Blackhawks, then allows 4 goals against the Flames, You’ll have to take the good with the bad. So picking up Lack is a risky move and only recommended if you own Cam Ward, or are in desperate need of a goalie.
Vincent Trocheck C, RW (23% Owned)
Marv: Speaking of players that are under owned, Trocheck officially needs way more respect than he is currently getting. In his last 5 games he has 5 goals, 4 assists, +7 with 3 power play points, 18 shots on goal and has managed to throw the body for good measure (10 hits). If he’s on your wire and you have the room, here’s a gamble definitely worth taking, before someone else cashes in on his most recent hot streak. I also want to note this kid is having a career year, sure some hot and cold stretches but I think he’ll be pretty solid the rest of the way out.
Jussi Jokinen C, LW, RW (23% Owned)
Marv: I love looking at a players last couple games and seeing ticks in each box. Take Jokinen, in his last 6 games he has 2 goals, 7 assists, +7, 6 PIM’s and 2 power play points. His ownership has been slowly increasing, but if he keeps this hot streak up, I expect him to be around 35% come fantasy playoff time.
Robin Lehner G (21 % Owned)
Marv: I’m sure Viz Loves the fact that Lehner has been great since his return to the NHL.. In his last five games, he hasn’t let in more than 2 goals per game, has managed to get 2 wins and has faced over 33 shots per game. Especially on a team like Buffalo, his numbers since his return are about as good as they will get. A good bargain goalie, owned in only 21% of leagues, who will get you solid shots against and save percentage, and should be able to steal a win once and a while as a bonus.
J.T. Miller C (16% Owned)
Rob: He is certainly taking advantage of his 3rd line minutes but will certainly get more consideration for more, especially on the PP. He has 8 goals in his last 9 games. This could be partly due to Rick Nash being out but if he keeps scoring the coach will have no choice but to give him more ice-time.
Nikolaj Ehlers LW, RW (14% Owned)
Marv: Feeling Unappreciated lately? Feel like people aren’t respecting your value and what you have to offer? Well you share the same feelings as Ehlers most likely as his last 7 games he has 4 goals. 4 assists and 15 shots. For someone owned in just under 15% of league, those are very good value numbers. Oh I also forgot, the kid has his first NHL fight on Saturday night, bringing his total PIM’s to 11 PIM’s in the 7 games.
Vincent Lecavalier C, LW (13% Owned)
Marv: I won’t say too much on Lecavalier this week, I will wait and see how the next week goes but so far since being acquired by LA. Lecavalier has 5 goals, 1 assist, 4 power play points and 4 PIM’s in 9 games. Someone to watch over the next couple weeks, could be a valuable add for your fantasy playoff run.
Rob: Used to be one of my favorite players, but he is hard to watch lately. It was a nice story to get off to a good start in LA, but I don’t think he will be able to keep playing at this level.
Benoit Pouliot LW (11% Owned)
Marv: Currently holding a 3 games point streak (2 goals, 3 assists), Pouliot has 2 goals, 5 asists, 4 PIM’s and 2 power play points in 7 games. At just over 10% owned, that’s a pretty good bargain as long as he keeps his current hot streak alive.
Rob: Remember when Connor McDavid was a point a game guy before he got hurt? Guess who was on his right wing? Correct, it was Pouliot. This is dependent on him being reunited with McDavid but it seems like Edmonton will try anything to forget about this past weekend against Montreal and the Islanders. Low risk, high reward pick up here.
Andre Burakovsky LW (10% Owned)
Marv: If you watch hockey, highlights or read an article or two, you might have heard of this kid. With 12 points in his last nine games and scoring a goals in each of his last five, this kid should be on your fantasy radar. He is bound to get hit with a cold streak sooner rather than later but you can’t argue with his stats. Goals aren’t everything but man are they nice, better than 5 game assist streak!
Joonas Korpisalo G (8% Owned)
Marv: In his last 5 starts Korpisalo has 4 wins and playing for the Blue Jackets ensures he will face 30+ shots a night. Honestly, he is basically unowned and is currently getting wins every other night, do you have another tender on the wire that can help you as much as he can short term, probably not.
Rickard Rakell C (4% Owned)
Rob: Rakell is an under the radar player not see by most of other than in the morning highlight reels. Getting more playing time with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry has certainly paid off, 4 points in his last 3 games. His speed allows him to create chances for his team and has the talent to capitalize.
SELLers Beware, Things Aren’t What They Used To Be
Andrei Markov D (81% owned)
Rob: He and the rest of the Habs were red hot to start the season, which is when he got most of his points, 9 in his first 8 games. His age and diminishing foot speed has made him not as effective on the PP and this is compounded by the fact Montreal is have a hard time scoring goals for the last few weeks. Sell him for whatever you can get. Consider the following players that are likely on the waiver wire. Alex Goligoski– plays on an offensive juggernaut, Alec Martinez-lots of PP minutes and will not hurt your +/-, Dougie Hamilton-tough start but getting consistently better
Marv: Yeah hot start aside, I agree, 81% is way too high and Defense is one position that you can find hot streaks and plenty of talent on the wire. If you own him, do yourself a favor and try and package him to get a stronger forward and grab any number of defensemen off the wire.
Nick Foligno C, LW (68% Owned)
Marv: Ha ha ha, I don’t get too much right, but man am I glad I got this one right. I really do like Columbus the team although it has been a pretty disappointing year so far. I was really hoping this would be a great year for them. Here’s hoping they turn things around. Even if they do manage to string something together, I don’t think Foligno will be there. Not that he will be traded, more like he won’t regain any form close to last year’s success (or, maybe he won’t be there, …hmm)
Ondrej Palat LW (50% owned)
Rob: The triplet line is no more. Even playing with Steven Stamkos isn’t getting his season back on track after being out of the lineup a few times. Hard to explain the offensive struggles of the Lightning this season. Palat does have 3 points in his last 5 games, but I think it’s time to move on from him if you are heading to the playoffs in your league.
In The End
I’ve already written way too much to keep this train going. Bravo to anyone still reading as that was a longer than usual list of names. Thanks again to the informative Mr. Rob for filling in for Pesos. As always, if you have any questions please hit us up in the comments below.