Looking Ahead: Evander Kane Could Help Your Fantasy Team

Mike Schmidt

2016-12-16

Evander Kane could be a great addition to your squad and other thoughts for the week ahead.

 

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)

 

Evander Kane, LW, Buffalo (Available in 76 percent of Yahoo leagues) – Remember when this guy scored 30 goals in his age-20 season? It happened… way back in 2011-12. Since his breakout campaign five years ago, Kane has struggled to stay healthy, productive and in the good graces of the franchise that employ him. The 2015-16 season has been no different, as Kane missed significant time due to broken ribs,  failed to score a goal in his first 12 appearances of the year and was the subject of trade rumors. At this point in time, though, the 25-year-old winger is healthy and playing alongside franchise centerman Jack Eichel. He’s a low-risk, speculative add who should be deployed in the short term due to Buffalo’s advantageous upcoming schedule. Will he stay healthy long enough to put together a long, consistent track record of production? Probably not. Could he be traded at any moment? Sure. Until one or both happens, feel free to give the Kane Train a shot.

 

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

 

Victor Rask, C, Carolina (Available in 69 percent of Yahoo leagues) – There’s no time like right now to buy in on Rask. as the 23-year-old Hurricanes forward is quietly breaking out in his third full season in the NHL. The young centerman is one of those players who just keeps getting better with time. Consider how his per-game production and ice time have been trending since the 2011 second-rounder broke into the league in 2014-15:

 

Year

Goals Per Game

Assists Per Game

Points Per Game

Ice Time Per Game

2014-15

0.14

0.28

0.41

16:29

2015-16

0.26

0.34

0.60

16:59

2016-17

0.34

0.48

0.83

18:50

 

Despite his impressive on-ice production, Rask remains vastly underappreciated by the fantasy hockey community. Not for long, one would think, as Rask has been on a bit of a hot streak as of late. The young, up-and-coming ‘Cane has registered six points in his last three contests and seven in his last six games. He’s getting the power play time, his overall ice time is up and he’s seeing action on the same line as Jeff Skinner. There’s quite a bit to like here, and poolies need to take advantage while they still can.

 

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

 

Rick Nash, LW/RW, New York Rangers (Owned in 86 percent of Yahoo leagues) – A prodigious goal scorer for a really, really long time, Nash is now at a point in his career where his reputation far exceeds his production on the ice.  Since the beginning of 2015-16, the veteran winger has totaled 26 goals and 54 points in 87 regular season games played. That’s pretty solid, but hardly the spectacular levels of production fantasy owners were looking for from Nash even two seasons ago when posted a 42-goal campaign. Like many other thirty-something forwards, his ice time his down, as are his shot total per game. Meanwhile, he’s currently dealing with a nagging groin injury. His owners should strongly consider giving him some time to get healthy, especially because New York’s schedule coming up is best described as “not good.” Look elsewhere… at least for now.

 

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

 

Patrick Sharp, LW/RW, Dallas (Owned in 64 percent of Yahoo leagues) – It’s been a disaster of a season for this veteran winger. Sharp has scored just one goal and tallied just a single assist in 11 games played. He is averaging less ice time per game this year than at any point since the 2005-06 campaign, and is taking fewer shots on goal than he has since 2006-07. Oh, and he has a concussion. Sharp’s long been a good player, but he’s exhibiting some serious evidence of declining skills. Consider the following:

 

  • For the third straight year, he’s registered a shooting percentage well below his career mark.
  • He has scored fewer goals at even strength since the start of the 2014-15 season (21) than he did during the entirety of the 2013-14 season (24).
  • He took 313 shots on goal in 2013-14, 230 in 2014-15, 216 in 2015-16 and just 25 (through 11 games) in 2016-17.

 

Sharp isn’t healthy right now, and he’s trending in the wrong direction in terms of production. Simply stated, his long-term outlook is quite grim.

 

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

 

New Jersey – No squad is scheduled to see more action in the short term. The Devils will play five times between Saturday, Dec. 17 and Friday, Dec. 23. So what if three of those games are away from New Jersey? Fantasy owners cannot argue with all that opportunity for production from fantasy-relevant Devils.

 

Buffalo Jack Eichel is back from injury. The aforementioned Evander Kane hasn’t been an off-ice distraction in MONTHS. So yeah, things are looking up for the Sabres as 2016 comes to a close. Even better, the squad will suit up five times between Friday, Dec 16 and Friday, Dec. 23. Take advantage.

 

Carolina – Are the Canes good? Not really. Are they exciting. No, they are not. However, they are playing four of their next five at home. At the very least, they have a decent chance of being somewhat productive over the course of the next week or so.

 

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

 

Dallas – Simply stated, the Stars don’t play all that much in the coming days. Dallas will take to the ice just six times between Saturday, Dec. 17 and the end of the month. While five of those contests will take place in Dallas, the lack of volume should be disconcerting for fantasy owners.

 

Ottawa –  Like the Stars, the Sens will coast into 2017 with just two appearances over the course of the final nine days of December. That’s just not going to be enough for most poolies.

 

New York Rangers – Between Monday, Dec. 19 through Monday, Dec. 26, Henrik Lundqvist and Co. will take to the ice just twice. One of those two contests will be a road matchup with the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Don’t expect a whole lot from the Rangers during that stretch of time.

 

Friday, December 16 Thursday, December 22

Best Bets

Vancouver 4.52 – four games – all at home

Tampa Bay 4.13 – four games – VAN, EDM, DET and STL

Buffalo 4.11 – four games – NYI, CARx2 and FLA

New Jersey 4.09 – four games – OTT, NYR, NSH and PHI

San Jose 4.09 – four games – three at home

Steer Clear

Dallas 2.05 – two games – PHI and STL

New York Rangers 2.66 – three games – two on road

Boston 2.75 – three games – LAK, NYI and DLA

San Jose 2.82 – two games – two on road

Toronto 2.83 – three games – PIT, ANA and COL

Saturday, December 17 to Friday, December 23

Best Bets

New Jersey 4.90 – five games – OTT, NYR, NSH, PHI and PIT

Vancouver 4.51 – four games – three at home

Carolina 4.35 – four games – three at home

Arizona 4.22 – four games – three at home

Chicago 4.22 – four games – three at home

Steer Clear

Dallas 2.89 – three games – PHI, STL and LAK

Washington 2.94 – three games – MTL, PHI and TBL

San Jose 3.11 – three games – CHI, CGY and EDM

Calgary 3.30 – three games – two on road

Florida 3.31 – three games – BUF, BOS and DET

Sunday, December 18 to Saturday, December 24

Best Bets

Vancouver 4.51 – four games – three at home

Los Angeles 3.94 – four games – BOS, CBJ, NSH and DAL

Colorado 3.86 – four games – WPG, MIN, TOR and CHI

New Jersey 3.81 – four games – NYR, NSH, PHI and PIT

Boston 3.79 – four games – LAK, NYR, FLA and CAR

Steer Clear

Dallas 1.79 – two games – STL and LAK

Philadelphia 2.69 – three games – NSH, WAS and NJD

Philadelphia 2.69 – three games – NSH, WAS and NJD

New York Rangers 2.70 – three games – NJD, PIT and MIN

Ottawa 2.70 – three games – two on road

Monday, December 19 to Sunday, December 25

Best Bets

Arizona 3.41 – three games – three at home

Vancouver 3.36 – three games – two at home

Florida 3.31 – three games – all at home

Calgary 3.30 – three games – ARI, SJS and VAN

Carolina 3.20 – three games – two at home

Steer Clear

Dallas 1.79 – two games – STL and LAK

New York Rangers 1.70 – two games – PIT and MIN

Washington 2.05 – two games – PHI and TBL

Ottawa 1.75 – two games – CHI and ANA

New York Islanders 2.15 – three games – BOS and BUF

Tuesday, December 20 to Monday, December 26

Best Bets

Vancouver 3.36 – three games – two at home

Pittsburgh 3.09 – three games – two at home

Buffalo 2.96 – three games – FLA, CAR and NYI

Florida 3.31 – three games – all at home

Boston 2.95 – three games – two on road

Steer Clear

New York Rangers 1.70 – two games – PIT and MIN

Nashville 1.74 – two games – NJD and LAK

Philadelphia 1.74 – two games – WAS and NJD

Ottawa 1.75 – two games – CHI and ANA

Dallas 1.79 – two games – STL and LAK

Wednesday, December 21 to Tuesday, December 27

Best Bets

Arizona 3.41 – three games – all at home

Colorado 3.17 – three games – teo at home

Buffalo 3.06 – three games – CAR, NYI and DET

Washington 3.00 – three games – PHI, TBL and NYI

Pittsburgh 2.95 – three games – CBJ and NJDx2

Steer Clear

St. Louis 0.95 – one game – TBL on road

Tampa Bay 1.71 – two games – STL and WAS

Nashville 1.73 – two games – LAK and MIN

Philadelphia 1.74 – two games – WAS and NJD

Ottawa 1.84 – two games – ANA and NYR

Thursday, December 22 to Wednesday, December 28

Best Bets

Pittsburgh 4.10 – four games – CBJ, NJDx2

Florida 3.31 – three games – all at home

Colorado 3.17 – three games – two at home

Buffalo 3.06 – three games – CAR, NYI and DET

Vancouver 3.04 – three games – two at home

Steer Clear

Edmonton 0.90 – one game – SJS on road

Nashville 1.73 – two games – LAK and MIN

Philadelphia 1.76 – two games – both on road

Ottawa 1.84 – two games – ANA and NYR

San Jose 1.91 – two games – EDM and ANA

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
EVANDER KANE S.J 7 5 5 10
KYLE CONNOR WPG 7 8 2 10
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS EDM 17 8 16 24

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency COL Players
22.9% NAZEM KADRI GABRIEL LANDESKOG VALERI NICHUSHKIN
22.4% NATHAN MACKINNON VLADISLAV NAMESTNIKOV MIKKO RANTANEN
18.8% PIERRE-EDOUARD BELLEMARE MATT CALVERT MATT NIETO

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