Top 10 Current Fantasy Hockey Trends
Dick Clark once said “I don't set trends. I just find out what they are and exploit them.”
Below are 10 players and teams going through both good and bad trends. It’s no guarantee these trends continue to even the next game, but it’s something to keep in mind when you are making lineup decisions.
10. Sebastian Aho
The Hurricanes right winger is in the middle of a big breakout season, but his trend comes in the goal-scoring department. He now has six goals in his last seven games and 10 in his last 14. That brings his season total to 17 and putting him on pace for 30 goals. He’s also on pace for 69 points and 243 shots. He’s also turning into a slow starter. Last year he had four goals and 13 points in his first 28 games, and then 20 goals and 36 points in 56 games. This year he went scoreless in his first 15 games and had 21 points in 30 games before putting up nine goals and 16 points in his last 14 games. Let’s hope his injury Sunday isn’t serious…
9. Cam Ward
Ward has become the number one goalie in Carolina for the time being, and while his numbers aren’t that great, he’s picking up wins. Ward seems a lock to get to 35 games (unless Scott Darling turns into Dominik Hasek) as he has already played 19. Since Dec. 1, Ward has started 13 of 21 Carolina games and nine of the past 11. Most of their underlying numbers are similar, but Ward has a much better record (11-5-2) compared to Darling (9-11-6).
8. Martin Jones
Jones has allowed at least four goals in seven of 12 games since Dec. 1. It could have been eight games, but he was pulled on Saturday night after allowing three goals and six shots in less than 14 minutes of play. By comparison, Jones only allowed four-plus goals in three of his first 17 games to start the season. He’s only won three games in that stretch, making him fantasy poison for now.
7. New York Rangers
Many of the Rangers have apparently taken a pact to all go on cold streaks at the exact time. The team has only scored more than two goals once in the past nine games, and that was a 3-2 overtime win in the outdoor game against Buffalo on New Year’s Day. Overall, the team has scored just 15 goals in those games. In those nine games, no Ranger has more than three points. Past those nine games, many a Ranger is struggling. Here is a rundown:
Mika Zibanejad: Three points in his last 11 games since returning from injury
J.T. Miller: Three points in his last 11 games
Rick Nash: Zero goals and one assist in his last 12 games
Pavel Buchnevich: Three points in his last 12 games
Kevin Shattenkirk: One point in his last 11 games and three in his last 17
Brady Skjei: Zero in his last 11
6. Oliver Ekman-Larsson
It’s been an awful couple of month for OEL and his owners. Ekman-Larsson notched a goal on Saturday night, his first goal since Nov. 28 and only his second point in his last 18 games. In that 18-game stretch, he has no power play points and is a minus-18. He’s been droppable in most leagues (I dropped him last week in a one-year head-to-head league). If you’ve held on to him for this long, you are a more patient person than I am. That said, he is a good buy-low in keeper leagues.
5. Seth Jones
Let’s all take a second to admire the great season Seth Jones is having. Since Dec. 1, Jones is tied for second among defensemen with 18 points and also tied for second with eight power play points. It’s probably no coincidence that the Blue Jackets power play has started clicking at the same time. Jones is on pace for 53 points, but more impressive is that he has improved his point production every season in the league. He’s also on pace for 255 shots, which would obliterate his previous high of 157.
The Golden Knights are easily the surprise story of the fantasy world. While many fantasy general managers didn’t expect much from the expansion squad in its first year, many of the players have become excellent fantasy options. Marc-Andre Fleury’s name should be at the top of the list. Since coming back from a concussion on Dec. 12, Fleury has eight games played and a 6-1 record with a .956 SV % and a 1.36 GAA. That’s insane. Who would have thought at the start of the season that Fleury would be that much better than Matthew Murray?
3. St. Louis Blues
The Blues’ power play has been a special type of awful since Dec. 1, going eight for 66 (a 12.1 per cent success rate). That’s the worst in the league, and has really impacted a lot of performances of the Blues players. Brayden Schenn and Colton Parayko lead the way with just four power play points in the last 21 games. Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Steen and Patrik Berglund have three each. No one on the squad has more the two power play goals.
2. San Jose Sharks
On the flip side, The Sharks have quietly become the league’s best team with the man advantage. Since Dec. 1, the team is 19 for 63 on the power play (30.1 per cent) of their power play opportunities after being one of the worst man-advantage teams in October and November. This is one of the main reasons why the Sharks’ under performing stars are bouncing back. Since Dec. 1, Brent Burns has 11 power play points, Joe Pavelski has 10, Joe Thornton has seven, Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc have six each and Tomas Hertl has five.
Hopefully you sold high on Stamkos earlier this year because his season and production are crashing big time. After posting 36 points in 21 games (a 141-point pace), Stamkos has 16 points in his last 23 games, a 57-point pace. He’s still on a 95-point pace overall, but it might be smart to see if you can still get an excellent return for him before others realize how much he has cooled off. In my points-only keeper pool, a GM who is out of the running and rebuilding on the fly last week traded Stamkos and Evander Kane for Mark Scheifele, Jaden Schwartz and Jake Guentzel. That was an excellent return for two diminishing assets.
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