The Week Ahead: Week 4, Oct 27 – Nov 2
4 Game slates: ANA, ARI, BUF, CHI, COL, LA, MIN, MON, VAN, WINN
3 Game slates: BOS, CAL, CAR, CLB, DAL, DET, EDM, NASH, NJ, NYI, OTT, PHI, PIT, SJ, STL, TB, TOR, WASH
2 Game slates: FLA, NYR
By Lane Myer
We’re now moving past the 10% of the season completed mark for some teams and it should become easier to filter out the pretenders on the waiver wire for you in standard 10-12 team leagues. If you’re in a 12 team league that rolls three lines those defenseman options on waivers are looking pretty ugly, aren’t they? Hope you snagged Vatanen, Boychuk, or Brodie! We’ll cover the second wave of blueline options that you can consider below. That said, the hot starts are petering out. The established players with a track record like noted Chris Block Perpetual Interference/Obstruction Running Hero, Hank Zetterberg, are producing again (someone might want to remind Toews and Hossa, though).
Over the next two weeks or so becomes the time to start looking over your roster and determining what you believe the draftees and waiver pickups you’ve made thus far are worth hanging onto for the duration, or if you may have a guy or two to consider selling high on. The Brock Nelsons of the NHL world, if you will. In the NHL, the American Thanksgiving holiday is often cited for GMs as the time to take stock of where the team seems to be headed. You should also consider using that time to see what upgrades or positions of need you’ll require to start realistically contending. For players you consider to be on your roster’s bubble, look over their ice-time usage. You’ll want to consider selling off players that aren’t a lock for at least second line minutes or those who don’t average at least around 1:30 of PP TOI per game.
Buffalo: Since we last talked, Neuvirth has thwarted 59/63 shot attempts faced over two starts moving himself back into GOALIE WATCH territory.
- Jhonas Enroth – 6 starts – 3.13 GAA, .914 SV%
- Michal Neuvirth – 3 starts – 3.02 GAA, .916 SV%
TTMI Counsel: Enroth is still the starter, but we shall see if this becomes closer to an even time share. Again, for deeper leagues that have counting goalie stats, such as saves and/or shots against, both options can be useful if you’re choosing their matchups wisely and you’re desperate for goalie counting stats.
Calgary: At this time last week
- Hiller – 2.62 GAA, .934 SV%
- Ramo – 2.30 GAA, .920 SV%
As of Sunday 10/26
- Hiller – 1.78 GAA, .948 SV%
- Ramo – 2.38 GAA, .914 SV%
TTMI Counsel: Hiller is flashing elite level ratios and still finds himself in an even timeshare with both cage-keepers starting 5 games. If Hiller continues with even 90% of the performance he’s compiled thus far, we still expect Jonas to work his way into at least 60% of the starts. But this is Cal-Gary, and they do things a bit differently up there…like starting both Brandon Bollig and Brian McGrattan every night.
- Ward – 4.24 GAA, .829 SV%
- Khudobin – 3.24 GAA, .891 SV%
TTMI Counsel: the Jon Stewart grade face-palm for Carolina’s continued loyalty with Cam Ward remains, but Khudobin looked almost equally terrible this past week coughing up 8 big ones over 2 starts. We at TTMI would like to congratulate the Hurricanes in taking over for Buffalo as the second worst goalie option collective in the NHL this season. Frankly, Khudobin’s start to the season is the only thing keeping Carolina from rock bottom of the fantasy goalie rankings.
Edmonton: Don’t look now but Ben Scrivens and the Oil spent this past week not being terrible at professional hockey. Scrivens stopped 81 of the 88 shots he faced this week starting all 3 of the Oilers’ games in the wake of Fasth’s injury tallying a win in each contest. With those 3 starts, Scrivens pulled his ratios from an awful 4.11 GAA and .848 SV% at the beginning of this past week to a less awful 3.31 GAA and .882 SV% at press time.
TTMI Counsel: Still your problem, not mine, but it could be worse. They could have completed that rumored Cam Ward trade this off-season.
Toronto: Jonathan Bernier was yanked Saturday night after allowing 4 goals to the Bruins with Reimer taking over and stopping the final 8 Boston shots. With the unfortunate shootings in Canada’s capital last week, and subsequent game cancelation, Toronto only played two games with Bernier starting each contest.
- Bernier – 5 starts – 3.38 GAA, .904 SV%
- Reimer – 3 starts – 2.62 GAA, .914 SV%
TTMI Counsel: For Reimer owners, it appears the best you can hope for is an equal timeshare right now.
Trending: The Waiver Wire
– Trevor Daley quietly has 11 goals and 28 points over his last 40 games. He’s a -4 thus far with 3 goals and 3 assists respectively skating top pair minutes primarily with Alex Goligoski. Daley actually leads the team in ice-time per game at over 25 minutes per. In addition, Daley averages nearly 3.15 minutes of PP time per contest. He only has 3 hits this season, but he has booted away 18 shots via blocking methods.
– Dougie Hamilton should see an uptick in PP ice-time as the result of Lurch’s injury. Hamilton grabbed 3.40 minutes of man advantage time Saturday night in his first opportunity totaling an assist and a +8 CORSI. If you’re in a standard 12 team league, chances are Hamilton was drafted, but with 1 point over his first 9 games, he landed on the waiver wire in many of those leagues seeing his ownership rate drop from around 48% down to the low 20’s. He’s now back up to around 50% after the Chara injury so hit your league’s wire and pick him up if there’s a need.
– Anton Stralman was already seeing top pair minutes with Victor Hedman, but with Hedman’s fractured paw, he’ll also see an uptick in PP time. Stralman had been seeing some second team PP TOI with an average of 2.15 minutes per game, but Hedman was averaging over 4 minutes of PP time per contest. Saturday night’s game saw Stralman PP time rise to 3.2 minutes second among Tampa blueliners behind only Jason Garrison. Even before Hedman’s injury, Stralman was already banking plenty of value with a goal, 6 helpers, and a league (tied) high +9. Stralman will also help a bit in deep (physical) category leaguers with 11 hits and 6 blocked shots thus far.
– Lubomir Visnovsky returned from his annual concussion issues to contribute a goal and helper against the Stars. Visnovsky may be another player who was drafted late in your pool but with starting the year on IR with very little in the way of reliable information of his injury status, he hit waivers in many a league. Thus far Visnovsky has averaged nearly 2 minutes of ice-time with the man advantage and that should rise with more reps. You may be surprised to learn that he’s also fairly adept at blocking shots having kicked away 26 shots in 24 games last season.
– Dennis Wideman checks in having scored 4 goals and an assist over his last 4 games. He’s yet another guy who may have hit waivers after a slow start (1 point in his first 5 games) and spent a game in the press box being healthy scratched. Wideman’s ownership% has risen by 15% since last night so if you’re in need of a blueliner, better pounce now. Wideman averages the third most PP TOI among Calgary defensemen just a shift behind T.J. Brodie. Wideman also quietly produces in the physical stat categories with 11 hits and 14 blocked shots this season.
Deep (League) Cuts
Mikhail Grabovski has banked 5 points (2 G, 3A, 1 GWG) and is a +4 in 5 games (missing time with a concussion) and only firing off 7 shots on goal. Just as importantly, in some leagues, depending on your league’s positional eligibility settings, Grabovski is eligible at all 3 forward positions making Grabo a solid bench option for shallow leagues or a good third slot option in deeper leagues. For leagues that count face-offs, he hasn’t been receiving opportunities (just 2 thus far) as the result on his placement on a line with two other natural centers in Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome. Grabo has also failed to tally a hit in his 5 games, but does have 5 blocked shots. NOTE: should you pick up Grabo in your league, monitor his usage and time on the PP. Grabovski skated on the third line with Kulemin & Nielsen in his first game back from injury, and received 1:10 of PP TOI – appx one fewer shift than Strome and Nelson. Depending on what the Isles do with Anders Lee and Conacher, Grabovski’s value could bounce up and down depending on his usage.
Anders Lee – Cory Conacher isn’t cutting in on the top line though he’ll probably get a game or two more to show something. Conacher is still, for some reason, skating with Tavares and Okposo, but Anders Lee’s return should eventually push Conacher back to a lesser roll. In Grabovski’s absence, Lee slid into Grabo’s spot on the Nelson/Strome second line, and even with Grabovski’s return last night, Lee nabbed more PP TOI than any other Isle including Tavares. In Lee’s two showings, he’s picked up a goal on 3 shots, 6 hits, and 2 takeaways in addition to averaging nearly 2 minutes on PP TOI per game.
Matt Nieto / Tommy WIngels both slid up to the first and second lines respectively replacing Tomas Hertl who is off to a slow start with just 2 goals and 0 assists through 7 games. Now it seems that Todd McLellan is going full on Quenneville line roulette mode and seeing what works. Pavelski moved to the third line for one game, Hertl, bumped from the first to third line, was back on the Joe Thornton top line last night….so go ahead and just throw both of these guys into wait and see mode depending on what shakes out unless you’re in a super deep league to where Nieto and Wingels would potentially already have some value.
– Dustin Byfuglien has 3 points in 8 games, but we think he’s capable of more especially if your league records the physical stats. Big Buff has a team leading 27 hits and 25 penalty minutes along with 27 shots on goal. Buff’s shooting% checks in at 7.2% which should improve closer to the 9-10% league average and he’s even a surprising +4 thus far. Buff also averages nearly 4.3 minutes of PP time per game. Most importantly he’s eligible at both D and RW. He was undervalued due to his positional eligibility heading into the draft, so if you can trade for him at anything close to that market value area, Buff is worth a shot as he’s a stat category filler.
– Colorado: One could throw virtually any member of Colorado’s top 6 in this category aside from Iginla who seems right on track, but Duchene, MacKinnon, Landeskog, Ryan O’Reilly are all underperforming a bit….although Duchene has picked up his production with 5 points over the Avs’ last 3 games. Of course, this is contingent on whether you believe the Avalanche will eventually right the ship and this season’s start simply isn’t the market correction of Colorado being incredibly fortunate with their shooting percentages last season (especially from the defensemen). Stastny-16.7%, O’Reilly-14%, Tanguay-16.7%, Barrie-12.9%, Holden-15.2%, and the Avs managing to get 9, 7 and 6 goals respectively from Erik Johnson, Andre Benoit and Jan Hejda. There’s virtually zero chance those blueliners, perhaps save for Barrie, will repeat any of those goal totals from last season, but one would think lines that feature MacKinnon/Landeskog/O’Reilly and Iginla/Duchene/ and one of Tanguay/McGinn, would manage to heat up eventually regardless of who (besides Barrie) is pushing the pace from the backend.
- MacKinnon – 9 games, 0 goals, 4 points (2013-14: 63 points)
- Landeskog – 9 games, 3 goals, 0 assists (2013-14: 65 points)
- O’Reilly – 9 games, 1 goal, 5 points (2013-14: 64 points)
– Marian Hossa’s 4.8%….as in Hossa’s shooting rate thus far. That’s due for a market correction but you’d think he’d have more than 1 assist through 7 games. Some of this can be attributed to Hossa’s rather low 2.2 minutes of PP TOI per game which is half of what Kane/Toews/Sharp/Shaw receive each game. Hossa really only averages one more PP shift per game than Bryan Bickell. I don’t think this is the year for Hossa to fall off a cliff due to age, but let’s see how Quennville uses him going forward.
– Calgary Flames such as Raymond, Colborne etc. The Flames’ Corsi For% of 41.3% is second worst to only Buffalo in the NHL. 10 of Calgary’s regular skaters are under 40% Fenwick For. Their current production won’t last. If you have someone in your league that you know pays close attention to the player rankings, start firing off 2 for 1 offers. Colborne and a lesser secondary piece for struggling established players with a track record such as Patrice Bergeron(1 goal, -2 over 10 games).
– Brock Nelson despite us shoving him down your throat since pre-season makes the list of sell highs because of his current standing. He’s a top 45 standard category player so far this season. Nelson is even more valuable for those of you in deeper category leagues where he could be as high as a top 25 player depending on your league’s categories. He’s good. But he’s not that good and you’ll have to color us as skeptical, but we’re probably going to go ahead and suggest that Nelson won’t maintain his current 38.5% shooting rate. I think that might qualify as a record or something. Don’t give him away by any means. He still receives 3.5 PP minutes per game. We’re just saying that if you have an Isles fan in your league or someone who gauges a player’s worth based on the site hosting rankings, then you can probably exchange Nelson for someone with a longer track record of production.
– Tanner Pearson would also qualify as another player we’ll go ahead and absorb the Negative Nancy label over as he’ll join Brock Nelson in the – probably won’t maintain a 41.7% shooting percentage for the duration of the season – category. Pearson may win the Calder, but he won’t do so with a 41.7% shooting% at season’s end. Again, not someone to give away as Pearson occupies a cushy spot on the Carter/Toffoli second line, but if someone in your league is offering up market value, I’d take a shot with a more established player in exchange.
Fantasy Hawk Watch
Antti Raanta hasn’t been terrible though his ratios are buoyed by the shutout against Philly, but Crawford can feel free to return at my earliest convenience. Shutout aside, averaging 3 goals against for a backup isn’t terrible, but chances are you didn’t pick Raanta up until after the Philly game. Thus he’s compiled a 3.00 GAA and .897 SV% for you which is probably right where you’d expect him to be considering his ratios last season were 2.71 GAA and .897% respectively.
0.0% Richards (19 shots)
0.0% Kruger (16 shots)
0.0% Morin (8 shots)
The above would righty indicate the current shooting percentages for Toews, Saad, Hossa, Richards, Kruger and Morin respectively this season juxtaposed with their respective shooting percentages from last season in the second group.
Those are going to rise and buoy this Hawks offensive malaise, one would think. Granted, Morin would have to be ejected from the press box or break a sweat for more than 4 shifts per night, but Kruger probably isn’t going to fire off another 16 shots without getting at least one through. I kind of wonder if Kruger isn’t nursing a hand or wrist injury as even his rate at the dot has fallen from 56.7% to 47.1% thus far.