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, February 5
The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)
Valeri Nichushkin, W, Colorado Avalanche (Available in 97 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – The Avalanche’s reclamation project has been a dynamite acquisition this season in scoring 9G-12A in 46 games this season. While those numbers on the surface don’t scream “must-add”, Nichushkin was relegated to a fourth-line role for the first two months of the season and had all of one assist prior to late-November. Once Nichushkin scored his first goal on November 23, everything clicked: all nine of his goals and 11 of his assists came from that point forward, which puts him at a pace of 20 points in 29 games (0.68pt/game).
Beyond re-finding his scoring touch, Nichushkin has also been blessed with a tremendous opportunity thanks to an unfortunate concussion to Joonas Donskoi. Nich has been moved all the way up to a second line with Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky, and in a small sample this year (67m) they’ve been electric with nine goals at 5v5. With the Avs’ great upcoming schedule, now’s the time to grab Nichushkin if he’s available.
The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)
Pavel Buchnevich, W, New York Rangers (Available in 86 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – There’s a stigma around Buchnevich that’s never been his fault, but has helped repress his value for fantasy owners, and that stigma has been “playing for David Quinn”. Coach Quinn is notoriously hard on younger players in terms of role and minutes – see Kaapo Kakko, Lias Andersson and