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 January 9th
The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)
J.T. Miller, RW, New York Rangers (Available in 63 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – The Rangers’ right-winger has seen an uptick in both ice time and role thanks to the unfortunate Chris Kreider blood clot situation, and has a ton of value these days. Since Kreider went down, Miller has seen between 17 and 21 minutes of ice time (six games) and potted two points on 11 SOG. Although those numbers don’t jump off the page, Miller has put up 8G-19A as a second/third line tweener, and as he finds chemistry with Mika Zibanejad, that total should climb. Miller’s seen at least two minutes of power play time in five of those six games as well, but that one game where he missed the Rangers had only one opportunity.
The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)
Vinnie Hinostroza, LW, Chicago (Available in 92 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Although “My Cousin Vinnie” has only played a few games alongside Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad, he’s already the best fit that line has seen this season. Since moving up, Hinostroza is better than a point-per-game, with 2G-6A in six games. One thing going against Hinostroza currently is his lack of special-teams time, which hurts his overall ice time quite a bit – he’s only playing between 13-14 minutes a night, all at even strength. If the ‘Hawks struggles on the PP continue (against teams better than the Senators), then look for Joel Quennville to try Hinostroza on a unit to let the obvious chemistry continue. Given Hinostroza’s AHL numbers – 51pts in 66 in his AHL rookie year, 22pts in 23 this season – and NCAA numbers (1.00PPG), he does have some scoring pedigree, and should be owned in deeper leagues even if he loses his spot on the first line.
The Odd Man Out (His short-term value is cause for concern)
Vladislav Namestnikov, LW, Tampa Bay (Owned in 85 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – This is definitely more of a “situation to keep an eye on” than anything more drastic, but in recent games (both Tampa wins) Namestnikov has been relegated to third-line duties. Going from playing alongside