Next week's NHL schedule, and the best strategy for optimizing fantasy hockey lineups (Week 13)…
All fantasy owners need help in the short term AND the long term. The Looking Ahead feature identifies one player to plug into lineups in the short term, a second to invest in for the long term, a third to bench for the coming week and a fourth who will struggle to meet expectations for some time. Without further ado…
The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)
Trevor Daley, D, Pittsburgh (Available in 85 percent of Yahoo leagues) – There’s nothing stopping this veteran from being an incredibly useful and productive fantasy defenseman… other than the inevitable return of fellow Penguins blueliner Kris Letang from injury. In the meantime, however, poolies would be well-served to add Daley. He’s currently being deployed on Pittsburgh’s top power-play unit, and he’s scored four points in three games since being acquired/saved from the Chicago Blackhawks (where he put up a modest six points in 29 games). He’s seeing almost six more minutes of ice time per game with the Pens than he did with the Blackhawks, so it is evident Pittsburgh is trying to get the most out of Daley while Letang is on the shelf. Take advantage now, as Pittsburgh’s No. 1 defenseman should be back fairly soon.
The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)
Mathieu Perreault, C/LW, Winnipeg (Available in 70 percent of Yahoo leagues) – Once upon the time, this former sixth-rounder didn’t receive enough playing time to provide anything more than middling offensive production. That changed last year, as Perreault averaged more than 16 minutes of ice time for the first time in his career. The increase led to a career-best campaign in which the Winnipeg forward racked up 41 points in 62 games played. Fast-forward to this season, and Perreault is poised for his best year yet (despite a career-worst shooting percentage that’s destined for some positive regression). Poolies looking for some scoring on the cheap should look no further than this 27-year-old, who is entering the prime of his career. Simply stated, Perreault is worth a bench spot in most leagues.
The Odd Men Out (His short-term value is cause f