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, October 16

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

Nick Schmaltz, C, Arizona Coyotes (Available in 78 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Schmaltz has never been a shooter – he’s at 10 SOG through five games – and his ice-time can be inconsistent and is currently shockingly-low, but he should still pay off through the end of October thanks to his role on the Arizona power play and the Coyotes’ soft schedule.

Schmaltz has put up 3G-2A so far (which is obviously an aberration from a shooting percentage perspective) and has found a home on the Coyotes’ third line with Christian Dvorak and Conor Garland. Although Schmaltz doesn’t get to dish to Phil Kessel on the top power play, Schmaltz has played the fifth-most PP time so far, as the Coyotes tend to split their special teams time fairly evenly. The young centre will need to produce on the power play, since he only gets ~12 minutes of even-strength ice time a night.

Given he has games against the Devils (worst PK%), Canadiens (third-worst), Islanders (tenth-worst) and Sabres (11th-worst), he should be able to find some special teams success.

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

Patrick Marleau, W, San Jose Sharks (Available in 87 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – When last seen, Patrick Marleau was the greybeard on the Maple Leafs, getting third-line minutes and paltry power-play time with Toronto’s second PP unit. That was about as low as it would get for Marleau from a value perspective, and is currently what’s helping keep his ownership so low on Yahoo! – people remember his time in blue & white, and forget how valuable Marleau is when playing with Logan Couture.

In the 3000+ minutes (all situations) Couture and Marleau played together between 2013-2018, they had 65% of the goal share and 4.53 GF/60; in the 2181 of even-strength play, that drops to 52% and 3.22 GF/60, which are both still strong numbers. Given Couture has his partner back on the top line (along with Timo Meier), it should be no surprise that Marleau has picked up 2G-1A in the three games since signing in San Jose. One of the goals came with the man advantage and he’s fired eight shots on goal while adding six hits, two PIM and three blocked shots, so Marleau should be able to contribute even in leagues that track peripherals.

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

Andrei Svechnikov, W, Carolina Hurricanes (Owned in 85 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Andrei Svechnikov was a revelation as an 18-year old last season and has kept that up with his current point-a-game pace (1G, 7A in eight GP) but will be a disappointment for the rest of October through no fault of his own. The problem in Carolina is there are three very strong wingers in the top-6, in Nino Niederreiter, Teuvo Teravainen and Svechnikov, and unfortunately Svech has drawn the short straw and plays his 5v5 minutes alongside Jordan Staal and Brock McGinn.

Through the first few games, Svechnikov got moved around at times and produced all of his points in that time, but since getting McGinn nailed to his side the scoring has fully dried up. He’s shooting at a strong rate (22 SOG so far) but typically doesn’t add much in the hits/blocks/PIM areas, so if his points slow down he really loses his value. Given the current lineup in Raleigh and their upcoming schedule, don’t expect much of anything from the young Russian.

The Anchors (They’ll do nothing but disappoint even over the long haul)

Ryan Pulock, D, New York Islanders (Owned in 66 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – A fine defenseman, Ryan Pulock has been a fantasy darling for years thanks to his heavy shot and his ability to run a powerplay, which explains why he’s 66% owned on Yahoo! even as he’s not producing or getting much power-play run.

Pulock started the year on the Islanders’ second PP unit (along with Devon Toews) while the incumbent Nick Leddy has been running the first unit, and it’s only recently that Pulock got time on the top unit thanks to the recent Jordan Eberle injury. Even then, he splits the point duties with Leddy or Johnny Boychuk which is a far cry from expectations.

Through the Islanders’ first seven games, Pulock has only one assist and 12 shots on goal, which is production easily replaced. He still picks up strong peripherals – 3.8 combined HIT/BLK per game so far – and could probably be flipped to an owner who doesn’t pay attention just on his name value, but Pulock shouldn’t be counted on for much of anything beyond those peripherals.

Love ‘Em (These squads are sure to pay dividends in the coming days)

Detroit – There’s not much to love about Detroit outside of their dynamic top line, but the Red Wings’ schedule during this period (October 18 – 30) is appealing enough that maybe some secondary scoring will finally appear. The Wings get to play the Oilers twice (home/road), Vancouver, Ottawa and Buffalo, as well as a tougher game against the Cup champion Blues.

Arizona – The Coyotes get six games during this stretch, but it’s their opponents that make them a real prize: vs. Ottawa and Montreal, and a road trip through New York State to play the Sabres, Devils, Islanders, and Rangers. Beyond the common thread of being in the Eastern Conference, all those teams share another trait – being bad defensively. The Coyotes should feast.

San Jose – After starting the year with five goals in five games, the Sharks added 13 goals in their next three games to right the ship – the addition of Patrick Marleau paying dividends quickly – and have a schedule that’s similar to what Arizona has, playing a handful of Eastern Conference teams. The Sharks will face Buffalo at home before going east and playing road games against Buffalo (again!), Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Boston.

Leave ‘Em (These squads will leave fantasy owners sorely disappointed in the short term)

New Jersey – After opening up with six straight losses, including getting shutout twice, the Devils have a mini-bye after playing the Rangers Thursday night: only three games between the 18th and 30th. All three games are home games and there are obviously no back-to-backs, but it’ll be tough to see production coming with such a light schedule. Their games come against the Canucks, Coyotes and Lightning.

Carolina – The ‘Canes also have a light schedule, with only four games this period including the last game of their California road trip. After playing in Anaheim on Friday night, Carolina goes to Columbus before heading home for games against Chicago and Calgary. While the games against Columbus and Chicago could see some fantasy gold, Calgary and Anaheim are pretty stout defensively and with only four games Carolina won’t be able to produce much.

Tampa Bay – Tampa is the “lucky” team of these three as they get to play five games in this period, although their three straight home games come against fairly strong teams defensively (Colorado, Pittsburgh, Nashville) and those games are followed by a Rangers-Devils back-to-back to end the month. While Tampa can score at will and will continue to do so, the lack of games combined with the opponents means their secondary scoring can safely be left on the bench.

October 18 to October 24

Best Bets

N.Y. Rangers 4.315 – Away WSH – Home VAN ARI BUF

CHI 4.1475 – Home CBJ WSH VGK PHI

WSH 4.1425 – Away CHI CGY EDM- Home NYR

CBJ 4.1425 – Away CHI TOR – Home NYI CAR

ANH 4.0475 – Away NSH DAL- Home CAR CGY

Steer Clear

NJD 1.2075 – Away – Home VAN

CAR 1.8525 – Away ANH CBJ- Home

N.Y. Islanders 2 – Away CBJ – Home ARI

TBL 2.0475 – Away – Home COL PIT

BOS 2.1 – Away TOR – Home TOR

October 19 to October 25

Best Bets

OTT 4.2525 – Away ARI DAL – Home DET NYI

SJS 4.195 – Away BUF MTL TOR- Home BUF

WSH 4.1325 – Away CHI CGY EDM VAN- Home

ARI 4.105 – Away NYR NYI NJD- Home OTT

BUF 4.09 – Away SJS NYR DET- Home SJS

Steer Clear

CAR 0.95 – Away CBJ – Home

TBL 2.0475 – Away – Home COL PIT

BOS 2.1 – Away TOR – Home TOR

WPG 2.1 – Away – Home EDM LAK

NJD 2.2575 – Away – Home VAN ARI

October 20 to October 26

Best Bets

WSH 4.1325 – Away CHI CGY EDM VAN – Home

MIN 4.105 – Away NSH – Home MTL EDM LAK

CHI 4.0475 – Away CAR- Home WSH VGK PHI

TOR 4 – Away BOS MTL- Home CBJ SJS

ANH 3.995 – Away NSH DAL COL- Home CGY

Steer Clear

NJD 1.05 – Away – Home ARI

FLA 1.895 – Away CGY – Home PIT

TBL 1.9425 – Away – Home PIT NSH

BOS 2.1 – Away – Home TOR STL

CAR 2.105 – Away CBJ – Home CHI

October 21 to October 27

Best Bets

DET 4.4525 – Away OTT – Home VAN BUF STL

OTT 4.3525 – Away DAL – Home DET NYI SJS

SJS 4.1325 – Away BUF MTL TOR OTT- Home

VGK 4.095 – Away PHI CHI – Home COL ANH

PHI 4.095 – Away CHI NYI- Home VGK CBJ

Steer Clear

WPG 1.995 – Away – Home LAK CGY

NJD 1.05 – Away – Home ARI

VAN 2.09 – Away DET – Home WSH

TBL 1.9425 – Away – Home PIT NSH

CAR 2.105 – Away CBJ – Home CHI

October 22 to October 28

Best Bets

DET 4.4525 – Away OTT – Home VAN BUF STL

SJS 4.1325 – Away BUF MTL TOR OTT – Home

FLA 4.0325 – Away CGY EDM VAN- Home PIT

BUF 4.19 – Away NYR DET – Home SJS ARI

CHI 3.995 – Away CAR – Home VGK PHI LAK

Steer Clear

NJD 1.05 – Away – Home ARI

DAL 1.9425 – Away – Home ANH PIT

TBL 1.9425 – Away – Home PIT NSH

COL 1.9475 – Away VGK – Home ANH

WPG 1.995 – Away – Home LAK CGY

October 23 to October 29

Best Bets

DET 4.4 – Away OTT – Home BUF STL EDM

SJS 3.99 – Away MTL TOR OTT BOS- Home

ANH 3.99 – Away DAL COL VGK – Home WPG

PHI 3.9 – Away CHI NYI PIT- Home CBJ

CHI 3.8475 – Away CAR NSH- Home PHI LAK

Steer Clear

NJD 1.05 – Away – Home ARI

COL 1.9475 – Away VGK – Home ANH

WPG 1.9525 – Away ANH- Home CGY

CBJ 2 – Away PHI – Home CAR

VAN 2.0475 – Away – Home WSH FLA

October 24 to October 30

Best Bets

EDM 4.09 – Away DET CBJ- Home WSH FLA

FLA 4.085 – Away CGY EDM VAN COL- Home

ARI 4.0475 – Away NYI NJD BUF – Home MTL

LAK 4.01 – Away STL MIN CHI – Home VAN

SJS 3.99 – Away MTL TOR OTT BOS – Home

Steer Clear

WPG 1.9525 – Away ANH – Home CGY

NJD 1.995 – Away – Home ARI TBL

PIT 2.095 – Away DAL – Home PHI

OTT 2.1 – Away – Home NYI SJS

VGK 2.1 – Away – Home COL ANH