Looking Ahead: February 8-20

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.


Most stats updated through Wednesday, February 6th

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

Brayden Schenn, W, St. Louis Blues (Available in 47 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – He’s a little over-owned for a free agent pickup, but Schenn has a ton of upside through the rest of February and has a great schedule along with the rest of the Blues. Schenn’s usage is very strong: 18:35/game, which is a drop-off from last season, but he’s picking up a large amount of offensive-zone starts (58%) and playing the net-front on the top power play unit for St. Louis.

He’s grabbed six assists in his past five games while adding nine shots on goal, nine hits, two blocks and even 15 faceoff wins if your leagues track those stats. He’s had a disappointing season so far with only nine goals and 22 assists on the year, but he’s also shooting 3% under his career average and his PP production has been lacking. Given his role solidifying under Craig Berube and the Blues actually winning games, pick up Schenn now while he’s still (close to) free.


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

Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, Montreal Canadiens (Available in 93 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Once he gets through the next two weeks, Kotkaniemi and the Habs have a great schedule against some terribly-poor defensive teams, and should have a very strong finish to the season.

Kotkaniemi has been seeing 10+ minutes of 5v5 time every game – he’s averaging 14:06 overall per game, but has surpassed that in four of his past five games – and has been a force at 5v5 for the Canadiens. When Kotkaniemi is on the ice at 5v5, Montreal owns 58.7% of the shot share and 59.5% of goals, and he’s creating 0.84G/60 (which is okay) and 1.22A/60 (which is good) – ranking 78th of qualified forwards in Pts/60.

Beyond excelling at even strength and being a mini-Barkov, Kotkaniemi is also playing on the top power play where he’s added four PP assists. He’s not much of a shooter at any strength (1.72/game), but he’s trending up and is available in essentially every non-keeper league.


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

Josh Anderson, W, Columbus Blue Jackets (Owned in 43 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – He’s picked up three points (2G/1A) over his last five games to push him to the 25-point mark on the year, but Anderson doesn’t pick up assists and doesn’t offer value outside of leagues that track peripherals.

Anderson is used in a shutdown role in Columbus – although that’s a little more fluid than a straight-forward