Marleau and the Sharks have a great upcoming schedule.
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 him for the next several days)
Radim Vrbata, RW, Arizona (Available in 90 percent of Yahoo leagues) – Don’t call it a comeback, Radim Vrbata’s been here for years. Aside from last season’s underwhelming 27-point campaign with Vancouver, Vrbata has been a productive fantasy forward for the better part of the last decade. This season, one in which he returned to the Coyotes after two years with the Canucks, Vrbata has registered a respectable 15 points in 21 games played and put last year’s poor on-ice performance squarely behind him. He’s shooting percentage has rebounded after last season’s paltry .065 mark, he’s a fixture on Arizona’s power play right now, he’s seeing 17-plus minutes of playing time for the first time since his previous stint with the Coyotes. There’s a lot to like here for a short-term add, despite the fact that Vrbata is a player who just turned 35 years of age and made his NHL debut during this fantasy analyst’s senior year of high school (the 2001-02 campaign). Don’t discount Vrbata’s solid start because his value cratered a year ago. He’s a legit speculative add in any and all leagues — especially when Arizona’s schedule breaks right.
The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)
Patrick Marleau, C/LW, San Jose (Available in 54 percent of Yahoo leagues) – Since we’re on the topic of accomplished NHL players who are ancient… here’s Patrick Marleau! The 37-year-old forward was a 30-goal scorer as recently as three years ago, but he’s shown some significant signs of slowing down since then. His point total, shots on goal total and total ice time per game has dropped every season since 2013-14. So why is he someone to target? Because he’s still a pretty good player and he’s heating up as of late, having tallied three points in his last five contests. Also, this is a player who:
Hasn’t missed a single game since the 2008-09 campaign.
Is playing on the same line as Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski.
Is a key member of a deep forward corps that is capable of doing some serious damage on the power play.
Is Patrick Marleau.