Looking Ahead: A Wild Time

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 14

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

Troy Stecher, D, Vancouver Canucks (Available in 99 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – The Vancouver schedule isn’t anything to write home about, but with all the injuries Vancouver’s seen recently – most importantly Alex Edler and Chris TanevTroy Stecher has immediate fantasy relevance and should be picked up in every league.

It’s Stecher and not Ben Hutton that’s taken the top spot on the Canucks’ top power play with Edler on the shelf, and in the past five games he’s played 25:45, 22:49, 26:16, 22:14 and a whopping 29:04 (although Tanev got hurt mid-game). That hasn’t translated to much in the way of points yet, but he managed to put up 8G-21A in 43 games in his junior year at North Dakota. Stecher is 16th of qualified defensemen (500+ minutes) in 5v5 Assists/60.

On the year, Stecher has put up only 1G-17A in 54 games, but he’s added two assists in the past five games and his two SOG/game in those games are a huge jump over what he’d been doing previously (1.10 SOG/game). With no fear of getting shipped out, the only concern for Stecher is the status of Edler.

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

Luke Kunin, W, Minnesota Wild (Available in 99 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Over his last five games, Kunin has been a force on the third line for the Wild: 3G-4A with 12 SOG and three hits. This wasn’t *as much* of a surprise given how strong the sophomore looked earlier in the season in his previous call-up, but it’s still surprising given his ice time and lack of power-play production.

Kunin was just over a point-per-game in college with the University of Wisconsin (where he was also the captain) with 70pts in 69 nice games, and his 0.59PPG in the AHL doesn’t scream elite production, but he should be good through the rest of the season at a 0.65-0.7pt/game pace. From a fancy-stats perspective, Kunin is 49th in 5v5 Pts/60, ahead of players like Elias Lindholm, Brendan Gallagher and Mark Stone, and he’s a plus-possession player even alongside Marcus Foligno and Joel Eriksson-Ek.

With Mikko Koivu gone for the year and Eric Staal possibly getting shipped out