Looking Ahead: Week Three (2016-17)

Mike Schmidt


Why Sean Couturier makes a solid fantasy hockey pick up and other hot takes for the week a head.


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)


Sean Couturier, C, Philadelphia (Available in 90 percent of Yahoo leagues) – It may come as a surprise to some fantasy owners that Couturier is just 23 years of age. It seems like he’s been in the NHL for some time now. But that’s mostly because HAS been in the NHL for some time now. A first-round draft pick by the Flyers in 2011, Couturier made his NHL debut a few months later at the tender age of 19 and quickly established himself as a valuable, defensive-oriented forward.  While he’s long been one of those better-in-real-life-than-fantasy-type players, he’s starting to evolve into a genuine asset on the offensive end of the ice. It certainly doesn’t hurt that so far this season Couturier has been seeing action on the same line as talented teammate Jakub Voracek. The lone problem? He’s not seeing a ton of ice time on the man advantage. In fact, NINE Flyers are seeing more power play action per game than he is so far on the young season. It’s (very) but early, poolies should keep tabs on how Couturier is being deployed moving forward. That being said, he’s more than capable of totaling more than 50 points on the season. After all, he scored 39 in 63 games a year ago. Given how advantageous his schedule is in the short term, give him a look as a plug-and-play option in all but the shallowest of formats. Doing so will likely pay off.


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


Nikolaj Ehlers, LW/RW, Winnipeg (Available in 66 percent of Yahoo leagues) – Take notice, fantasy owners. Ehlers, a first-round selection by the Jets in 2014, has found himself skating on the same line as Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele to start the 2016-17 campaign. It’s difficult to imagine Ehlers being placed in better position to produce offensively than that, and he see more than enough ice time and power play time to justify being a speculative add in all leagues. Consider this: Wheeler, Scheifele and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien are the only three players on the squad averaging more time on the man advantage per game so far on the young season.  All systems are a go for Ehlers to have a standout sophomore campaign for a Winnipeg squad looking to develop its young talent and build toward the future. The young winger is off to a solid enough start with a pair of points in four games played, but it is more than reasonable to suggest