Jason Zucker is a great pickup because of the Wild's injury situation and 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 upcoming schedule. Stats in this article updated through October 18.
The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)
Connor Brown, W, Toronto (Available in 95 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Although Brown’s outlook has improved immensely since getting moved up to Toronto’s second line – moving from lining up beside Matt Martin and Eric Fehr/Dominic Moore to playing beside James vanRiemsdyk/Tyler Bozak will do that – Brown’s short-term outlook is better than just who his linemates are. He’s taken 20 shifts or more in almost every game (19 against Montreal), has seen 13 minutes on the power play, and also kills penalties which helps his value in leagues that count blocked shots. Since moving to play on the TOR2 line, Brown has scored in back-to-back games.
The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)
Jason Zucker, W, Minnesota (Available in 82 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – With Minnesota’s Injured Reserve being able to ice a pretty good NHL team, Jason Zucker should take full advantage of extra ice time both in the short term and the long term. Zucker is already averaging a full five minutes more than any preceding season, and he saw 22 minutes in his last game (against Columbus) on the ostensible first line as well as the power play. He’s already fired 11 shots on goal in only four games – scoring twice and adding two assists – and as a player with a career 12% shooting percentage thanks to a heavy wrist shot, he should continue to contribute on the scoresheet.
The Odd Man Out (His short term value is cause for concern)
Connor Hellebuyck, G, Winnipeg (Owned in 52 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – With only four games through the rest of the month (including a back-to-back), Hellebuyck will be lucky to start three games even as Steve Mason struggles immensely. Hellebuyck is an excellent goalie, but the team in front of him is allowing 36 shots against per game and is giving up four power plays against per game. Given their struggles on the kill – 6 goals allowed in 24 chances – that bodes poorly for Hellebuyck. Even worse, three of the four games to end the month come against Pittsburgh (twice) and Columbus. Look elsewhere for a goaltender through October.
The Anchors (They’ll do nothing but disappoint even