The Week Ahead: Jan 12 – Jan 18
4 Game slates: ARI, BUF, COL, DAL, DET, NYR, PHI, TB, TOR, WASH, WINN
3 Game slates: ANA, BOS, CAR, CLB, EDM, FLA, LA, MIN, MON, NASH, NYI, OTT, PIT, SJ, STL, VAN
2 Game slates: CAL, CHI, NJ,
Back to Back games: ANA, ARI, BUF, CAR, COL, CLB, DAL, DET, MON, NASH, NYI, NYR, PHI, TB, TOR, VAN, WASH, WINN
By Lane Myer
We’ve officially reached the midway point for all but four NHL teams. That makes for a good point to reflect back on some draft maladies and which players have killed your standing. Thus here are the top 25 over and underachievers in fantasy hockey arbitrarily ranked in an undisclosed (read: highly convoluted) method that contains a mix of ADP in relation to their current ranking in standard size leagues as well as factoring in how much these particular players have probably murdered some key stat categories, again for standard category leagues.
We’ve omitted players who suffered low rankings due to injury such as Patrick Sharp or Zdeno Chara, though not a guy like Alex Semin who has been injured, healthy scratched, and terrible.
*ADP = average draft position
* Standard category league = G, A, +/-, PPP, PIMs & Wins, GAA, Save%, Shutouts
Top 25 Underachievers:
Please Try Harder
— That one third of our underachievers are goalies shouldn’t be a surprise to veteran fantasy hockey players. Their numbers typically fluctuate year to year depending on the strength of the defense, coaching philosophies, timeshares/playing time etc.
— It’s long forgotten now, but during draft time, both Niklas Backstrom and Robin Lehner were thought to have the inside track on the lion’s share of a platoon in net. It took Lehner longer to drop off due to the timeshare Ottawa employed, but with Lehner’s last six weeks of subpar play in goal, Anderson became the clear starter.
Top 25 Overachievers:
Driven Like the Snow
— If you’ve been reading since the beginning of the season, you’ll notice that about 75% of these names have been covered either on the pre-draft posts as being undervalued, or in various times in waiver recommendations with ownership percentages under 50%.
— Steve Downie, you may notice, ranks quite high. Since we’re basing these ranks on standard stat category leagues that use penalty minutes as one of the five categories, his ranking would only apply to those leagues because Downie’s current rank is in large part to his 141 penalty minutes. Though he does have a decent mix of points.
* Both Jimmy Howard and Steve Mason are headed to the IR so Petr Mrazek and Ray Emery are the replacements to own in the interim.
* Arizona: Mike Smith, in what can only be seen as an attempt to tank, started all three Coyotes games for the week which ended in expected results. Six goals allowed to the Blues and five to Ottawa respectively. Smith did manage to hold the Jets to one goal in his third start for the week.
- Smith – 26 starts – 3.52 GAA, .885 SV%
- Dubnyk – 15 starts – 2.70 GAA, .918 SV%
TTMI Counsel: So Devan Dubnyk allows six goals to Dallas the week prior and is
benched. Conversely, Mike Smith allows six goals to the Blues and earns the start in the following two matchups. At any rate, Smith did manage to hold his ratios largely status quo despite allowing 11 goals in his other two starts.
* Buffalo: Business as usual in Buffalo as Jhonas Enroth tended goal in two meetings allowing a combined 8 goals to two of the three lowest scoring offenses in Carolina and New Jersey. Meanwhile, Michal Neuvirth ended up with the start in Tampa where he held the high powered Lightning offense to a mere two goals.
- Enroth – 27 starts – 3.20 GAA, .906 SV%
- Neuvirth – 16 starts – 3.36 GAA, .909 SV%
TTMI Counsel: So maybe owning Ben Scrivens isn’t so bad after all.
* Edmonton: As expected, Ben Scrivens was awarded two of the three Oiler starts for the week which resulted in two more wins over the high powered Blackhawks and Islanders for the suddenly surging Scrivens. Of note, both goals allowed to the Islanders came on the man advantage. On the flipside, Fasth surrendered three goals to the Wings.
- Scrivens – 28 starts, 2.98 GAA, .898 SV%
- Fasth – 14 starts, 3.47 GAA, .886 SV%
TTMI Counsel: Scrivens has now allowed only 14 goals over his last 7 starts good for an even 2.00 GAA in the Todd Nelson era. Scrivens is addable in mid to deeper leagues where despite his recent performance against the Hawks and Isles, it’s probably still a good idea to choose favorable matchups if one is protecting their ratio stats.
* Ottawa: Robin Lehner unglued himself from Ottawa’s bench in relief Craig Anderson who was forced to don the baseball cap after gagging up 3 even strength goals on 9 shots to the Avs and subsequently receiving the hook. Lehner gave up 2 goals in relief in just over 30 minutes and seeing as though Anderson received the start in following two contests holding both the Flyers and Coyotes to one goal remains the clear starter. Ottawa will now drop off of Goalie Watch as the timeshare appears to be a thing of the past.
* Winnipeg: Another week, another two of three starts where Michael Hutchinson manned the blue paint for the Manitobans.
- Pavelec – 26 starts, 2.47 GAA, .909 SV%
- Hutchinson – 16 starts, 2.00 GAA, .931 SV%
TTMI Counsel: Michael Hutchinson, jinxed by the present author, finally saw his streak of having failed to allow more than 3 goals in any start halted at the hands of the defending champions. Hutchinson allowed 7 goals (3 on the PP) in his two starts which ballooned his GAA from 1.81 to an even 2.00 and dropped his save% six points. Ondrej Pavelec, meanwhile, managed to continue his personal streak of allowing 4 goals in three straight starts, and 4 or more goals in 5 of his last 10 offerings. A goalie market correction seems to be underway in Winnipeg.
Trending: The Waiver Wire
– Mikael Backlund has missed about two thirds of the season to injury, has scored 3 goals, 2 assists, and is a +3 in his three games since returning. Backlund jumped right back into a top six role skating on Calgary’s second line with Johnny Gaudreau and David Jones at around 17 minutes per night. Calgary has mixed up their PP units each day since Backlund’s return with Backlund seeing time on both the first and second units over his three game return. Regardless, in 14 games he’s averaged equal time on the PP and PK at around 1.3 minutes each per game.
– Brandon Dubinsky is surprisingly only 49% owned. If you play in a league that counts real time stats ie hits and blocks + face-offs, he’s certainly owned unless you play in a 6 team league. Dubinsky has long operated as a stat category filler in TTMI type fantasy leagues contributing in all categories. Since returning from injury exactly one month ago, Dubinsky has tallied 10 points (8 assists) in 14 games along with 17 PIMs, 31 hits, and a 50.2% won rate at the dot. Holding Dubinsky back in the goal scoring department is a 5.7 shooting%. He’s always been around a league average goal scorer when it comes to shooting% at 8.9%, but obviously there is room to improve in the interim while skating on the Jackets’ second line both at even strength and the man advantage.
– Jonathan Huberdeau is awarded his second appearance on this list as the result of his 4 goal, 5 assists, +3 performance over Florida’s last 7 game stretch. Huberdeau currently operates on Florida’s second line with Nick Bjugstad and former Blackhawk/Icehog great, Jimmy Hayes, both at even strength and the second PP unit where he earns just over 2.3 minutes per game. Perhaps a bit of a surprise is that Huberdeau averages nearly a hit per game, but alternately, it appears he has officially been moved to LW permanently as he’s only attempted 3 face-offs all season long.
– Petr Mrazek as noted in Goalie Watch above, will become the de facto starter in Detroit while Jimmy Howard’s groin is on the mend. In replacement of the perennially injured Jonas Gustavsson, Mrazek has already seen 7 starts and 2 relief appearances where he’s looked pretty solid with a well above league average 2.29 GAA and a slightly above league average .916 save%. If you are in need of some goalie help, this week is a good opportunity as Detroit is set to face Buffalo twice, though one of those contests against the Sabres is the back end of a back to back next weekend so that start may go to new backup Tom McCullom. The other two Detroit starts for the week will be a bit more difficult with matchups against Central Division heavyweights in the Blues and Predators.
– Ben Scrivens, also as noted above in Goalie Watch, is on a bit of a roll with a 3-3-1 record and only 14 goals allowed over his last 7 starts. His full season numbers are still largely awful so they keep his ownership% low at 32% owned.
Deep (League) Cuts
– Andre Burakovsky has been moved to Washington’s first line opposite Backstrom and Ovechkin at even strength. Unfortunately that isn’t the case for Capitals’ first PP unit as Burakovsky merely occupies a spot on the second unit flanked by some relative non-entities in Joel Ward and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Burakovsky skates about 1.2 minutes per game on the second PP unit but also of note is Burakovsky’s lack of shots attempted as in 32 games he’s only attempted 37 shots despite a nice 13.5 shooting%.
– David Pastrnak in his second game since returning from his stint with the Czech Republic World Junior team,,recorded two goals (1 PP) against the Flyers while skating on Boson’s first line and first PP units alongside Krejci and Lucic amassing 16 minutes of total TOI. Boston’s first line RW slot has been a revolving door this season with the departure of Iginla so as long as Pastrnak maintains a slot in Boston’s top six he’s worth an add in deeper leagues. Even during his initial run with the Bruins earlier this season, he averaged just over 2 minutes per game on the man advantage though he doesn’t offer much else with 3 hits and 0 blocks in 7 games.
– Teemu Pulkkinen in a proactive selection makes the cut after just one 3 shot, pointless effort for the Red Wing prospect. Pulkkinen was immediately thrust into a second PP unit role though he was deployed on the third line at even strength. Prior to being recalled by the Wings, Pulkkinen ranked third in the AHL in points with 39 points in 33 games and was tied for the league lead in goals with 20.
– Brett Richie has come out firing after being awarded the coveted first line RW slot on the Stars’ first line unloading 16 shots in his first 6 games while recording 3 goals (one game winner), an assist, and a +3 rating. In addition to his even strength first line minutes, Richie has also taken the same spot on the Stars first PP unit good for an average of 2.2 minutes on the man advantage per game. Richie has also come out swinging in the hits category averaging nearly 3 hits per game.
Fantasy Hawk Factor
Second Line Heroes Watch (for the week)
- Kane – 1 goal, 4 assists, 12 shots. -1
- Richards – 1 goal, 4 assists, 12 shots, -1
- Bickell – 3 goals, 1 assist, 6 shots, +2
- Toews – 5 assists, 10 shots, +3
- Hossa – 1 goal, 3 assists, 13 shots, +2
- Saad – 3 goals, 1 assist, 4 shots, +2
– Bryan Bickell now has 103 hits in 43 games. That is 38 more than the next closest Blackhawk (Andrew Shaw). In addition, Bickell also leads the team in shooting% with 9 goals on 61 shots good for a 14.8 shooting% which would be his highest rate since 2009 if the season ended today.
– Patrick Kane, currently tied for third in the league in points with Evgeny Malkin, has recorded 16 goals and 21 assists over Chicago’s last 27 games and is now on pace for a 40 goal season.
– Duncan Keith has 8 points (all assists) in Chicago’s last 10 games. That places Keith in a tie with Doughty, Letang, Yandle, and Sami Vatanen for 12th place in points from defensemen with 26 points (6 goals, 20 assists).
– Jonathan Toews has been held to 4 goals on 52 shots over the last 23 games. He does have 16 assists over that span.
– Teuvo Watch: An uneventful week on the scoresheet with 0 points on 6 shots and also includes a healthy scratch in Edmonton on Thursday. Teravainen’s placement on the second PP unit was also erased for the duration of the week’s calendar.