Looking Ahead: Navigating the Holiday Break

Adam Daly-Frey


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 updated through Wednesday, December 19

The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)

Cam Ward, G, Chicago Blackhawks (Available in 85 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Nothing about Ward’s stat line this year screams “GRAB HIM” – Ward has a dismal 0.888 SV%, 3.95 GAA and only five wins in 13 starts – but with another concussion to Corey Crawford, it’ll be Ward’s net for the foreseeable future. The interesting thing about the ugly GAA is that Ward has been peppered with pucks (good for leagues that track raw saves) and has only had two “really bad starts” where his save percentage was below 85%.

He’s proven in the past to be a competent starter, and is a fine stop-gap for Crawford owners or fantasy owners in deep leagues where goalies are as scarce as hen’s teeth.

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

Ryan Pulock, D, New York Islanders (Available in 64 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – The way this section of the article usually gets written is sorting all players on Yahoo! by ownership, and then scrolling down until everyone is below 50%; the reason that’s mentioned is because of the absolute shock when I saw Ryan Pulock only 36% owned. While his 14 points (2G-12A) aren’t jaw-dropping, Pulock’s ownership is half of Aaron Ekblad’s, which is absurd – Pulock is playing 22:54 per game, and is picking up 3.4 combined hits/blocks per game, 2.15 shots per game and getting PP2 time. If you’re in a league where Pulock is available, jump on that now and right this wrong.

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