Looking Ahead: Week 20 (2015-16)

Mike Schmidt

2016-02-12

Jordan Staal and the Hurricanes have a favourable upcoming schedule for fantasy hockey.

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. All players discussed are selected based on their team’s upcoming schedule. Without further ado…

 

The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use them for the next several days)  

 

Jordan Staal, C/LW, Carolina (Available in 77 percent of Yahoo leagues) – Long lauded for his ability make positive contributions on the defensive end, Staal isn’t what fantasy owners are usually looking when trying to draft a forward or acquire one on the waiver wire. At times throughout his career, though, he has been a useful and productive offensive player. As DobberHockey’s Steve Laidlaw mentioned in the Ramblings a few days back, Staal has been seeing an uptick in playing time on the man advantage. The 27-year-old has also been a monster point producer with 16 points in 14 games since Jan. 6. Look, he hasn’t suddenly turned into a superstar. He’s not his brother (or, more specifically, who his brother used to be). He’s also seeing a lot less ice time on a nightly basis than he did earlier in his career. Think of it this way… Staal is capable of putting up the kind of numbers most people expect from Minnesota’s Mikko Koivu in the season’s final months. That’s just good enough to make him a viable lineup option, especially during weeks where Carolina’s schedule dictates it (like this upcoming one).

 

The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)

 

Andre Burakovsky, LW, Washington (Available in 83 percent of Yahoo leagues) – Burakovsky enjoyed about 15 minutes of fantasy fame early on during his rookie campaign of 2014-15. It wasn’t so much because of who he was, but rather who he was playing on the same line with for some time: Alex Ovechkin. When that no longer was the case, fantasy owners were quick to forget Burakovsky (probably because he spent a not-so-insignificant amount of time in either the press box or the AHL). This season started slow for the sophomore forward, but he has been incredibly productive since the early days of January. It’s all coming together for Burakvosky. The numbers are there, as he has scored at least one point in 10 of the last 11 games. The supporting cast is formidable. Pick him up and enjoy the spoils. This 21-year-old former first rounder is just getting started.

 

The Odd Men Out (His short-term value is cause for concern)

 

Nick Foligno, C/LW, Columbus (Owned in 66 percent of Yahoo leagues) – Remember when Foligno scored 73 points in 79 games played? Those were the the days. Oh, it was just last year? It seems so much longer than that… The veteran forward is a nice two-way player, but fantasy owners were kidding themselves if they thought Foligno’s 2014-15 campaign was the new normal for him. The combination of a sky-high .172 shooting percentage and increased action on the man advantage allowed him to shine, but statistical regression was inevitable. He’s not as bad as he’s played thus far this season, though. His shooting percentage of .056 is roughly half that of his career mark, and he’s only seeing 19 fewer seconds of power play time per game than he did a year ago. Things will get better (probably). Just sit Foligno until he starts showing some signs of life. That probably won’t happen this week, though, as Columbus doesn’t play a whole lot. Just be patient.

 

The Anchor (He’ll do nothing but disappoint even over the long haul)

 

Marian Hossa, RW, Chicago (Owned in 77 percent of Yahoo leagues) Some fantasy hockey writers have a tendency to (incorrectly) announce some of the game’s oldest stars are going to let down their owners in the long term. Why quit now? Marian Hossa is a player whose game is in decline. His shooting percentage is down for the third straight year. His power play ice time per game is at its lowest since he joined the Blackhawks for the 2009-10 season. No, Hossa’s not completely falling apart (like, say, Dany Heatley did a few years back), In fact, his game and style of play is actually well suited for aging gracefully. He can still do some things at even strength. He can contribute on both ends of the ice. But both how he’s being used and his recent production suggest he’s no longer a 60-point player. He’s more of a 45-point guy or 50-point guy at this point. Expectations for what Hossa can provide moving forward need to be adjusted. Check the game log.

 

Love ‘Em (These squads are sure to pay dividends in the coming days)

 

Tampa Bay – Between Friday, Feb. 12 and Thursday, Feb. 18, the Lightning play four consecutive games at home. It doesn’t get much better than that.

 

Carolina – The Hurricanes are seeing a ton of action in the coming days. Starting Friday, Feb, 12, the team will take to the ice five times in eight days. Even better, four of those contests will take place in Raleigh, NC. That’s cause for celebration, Justin Faulk owners.

 

Washington – Would it be wrong to put the Caps in this section of the article on a weekly basis? Because it would make a ton of sense to do that. Also, the volume of games will be there for this team.

 

Leave ‘Em (These squads will leave fantasy owners sorely disappointed in the short term)

 

Chicago – After playing two of three games at home between Saturday, Feb. 13 and Wednesday, Feb 17, this squad has three consecutive days off following that. Pretty much every team in the league will see more action than the Blackhawks over the course of the next several weeks.

 

Columbus – Sure, they have a nice little home stretch coming up. But only four games in 10 days? That’s not going to cut it for most poolies.


Colorado – Like the aforementioned Blue Jackets, the Avs don’t play a ton in the coming days. Unlike Columbus, though, the games the team will play will most often take place away from home.

Friday, February 12 to Thursday, February 18

Best Bets

Tampa Bay 4.15 – four games – all at home

Nashville 4.15 – four games – TBL, FLA, DAL and BOS

Florida 4.15 – four games – all at home

New York Rangers 4.14 – four games – three at home

Detroit 4.06 – four games – COL, BOS, NYI and PIT

Steer Clear

Columbus 2.10 – two games – OTT and BOS

Edmonton 2.78 – three games – WPG, ANA and MIN

Toronto 2.85 – three games – two on road

Washington 2.89 – three games – two on road

Winnipeg 2.90 – three games – all on road

Saturday, February 13 to Friday, February 19

Best Bets

San Jose 4.21 – four games – ARI, TBL, FLA and CAR

New Jersey 4.20 – four games – three at home

Carolina 4.15 – four games – three at home

New York Islanders 4.10 – four games – CAR, DET, WAS and NJD

Minnesota 4.00 – four games – BOS, VAN, CGY and EDM

Steer Clear

Colorado 1.93 – two games – BUF and MTL

Pittsburgh 2.20 – two games – FLA and DET

Edmonton 2.78 – three games – WPG, ANA and MIN

Los Angeles 2.80 – three games – all on road

Toronto 2.85 – three games – two on road

Sunday, February 14 to Saturday, February 20

Best Bets

St. Louis 4.14 – four games – TBL, DAL, LAK and ARI

Tampa Bay 4.05 – four games – three at home

New Jersey 4.01 – four games – three at home

Dallas 4.00 – four games – NSH, STL, ARI and BOS

Anaheim 4.00 – four games – CGYx2 EDM and VAN

Steer Clear

Chicago 2.11 – two games – TOR and NYR

Columbus 2.26 – three games – BOS and BUF

Vancouver 2.74 – three games – MIN, ANA and CGY

Calgary 2.89 – three games – ANA, MIN and VAN

Colorado 2.93 – three games – two on road

Monday, February 15 to Sunday, February 21

Best Bets

Pittsburgh 4.34 – four games – FLA, DET, TBL and BUF

Carolina 4.15 – four games – three at home

Tampa Bay 4.01 – four games – SJS, WPG, PIT and CAR

Dallas 4.00 – four games – NSH, STL, ARI and BOS

Anaheim 4.00 – four games – CGYx2, EDM and VAN

Steer Clear

Columbus 2.26 – two games – BOS and BUF

Los Angeles 2.66 – three games – all on road

Colorado 2.84 – three games – two on road

Boston 2.95 – three games – all on road

Buffalo 2.90 – three games – two on road

Tuesday, February 16 to Monday, February 22

Best Bets

St. Louis 4.34 – four games – three at home

Washington 4.34 – four games – three at home

Carolina 4.15 – four games – three at home

Tampa Bay 4.01 – four games – SJS, WPG, PIT and CAR

Boston 3.90 – four games – CBJ, NSH, DAL and CBJ

Steer Clear

Chicago 1.71 – two games – both on road

New York Islanders 1.99 – two games – WAS and NJD

Florida 2.15 – two games – SJS and WPG

Toronto 2.15 – two games – NYR and PHI

Los Angeles 2.66 – three games – all on road

Wednesday, February 17 to Tuesday, February 23

Best Bets

Carolina 4.31 – four games – three at home

New York Rangers 4.24 – four games – CHI, TOR, DET and NJD

Tampa Bay 4.11 – four games – WPG, PIT, CAR and ARI

Minnesota 3.94 – four games – CGY, EDM, CHI and NYI

Arizona 3.91 – four games – DAL, STL, WAS and TBL

Steer Clear

Chicago 1.71 – two games – both on road

Buffalo 1.95 – two games – CBJ and PIT

Anaheim 2.05 – two games – VAN and CGY

Florida 2.15 – two games – SJS and WPG

New York Islanders 2.80 – three games – two on road

Thursday, February 18 to Wednesday, February 24

Best Bets

Carolina 4.31 – four games – three at home

Pittsburgh 4.25 – four games – DET, TBL, BUF and BOS

Washington 4.21 – four games – three at home

Tampa Bay 4.11 – four games – WPG, PIT, CAR and ARI

Boston 3.95 – four games – NSH, DAL, CBJ and PIT

Steer Clear

Chicago 0.81 – one game – MIN on road

Florida 2.15 – two games – SJS and WPG

Buffalo 2.76 – three games – two on road

Calgary 2.77 – three games – two on road

New York Islanders 2.80 – three games – two on road

UPCOMING GAMES

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STARTING GOALIES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
EVGENI MALKIN PIT 5 4 7 11
ADAM FOX NYR 4 1 6 7
JAKUB VORACEK PHI 6 0 10 10
NATHAN MACKINNON COL 5 2 6 8
MIKA ZIBANEJAD NYR 29 25 19 44
NIKITA KUCHEROV T.B 24 16 20 36
KEVIN FIALA MIN 11 9 7 16
KYLE CONNOR WPG 7 8 2 10
EVANDER KANE S.J 7 5 5 10
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS EDM 17 8 16 24

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency CBJ Players
26.6% NICK FOLIGNO BOONE JENNER GUSTAV NYQUIST
22.7% RILEY NASH ERIC ROBINSON KEVIN STENLUND
22.2% EMIL BEMSTROM PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS ALEXANDER WENNBERG

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