Looking Ahead: Parise Still Producing

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, March 4

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

Vladislav Namestnikov, W, Colorado Avalanche (Available in 88 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – His stats on the year aren't very pretty – just 15 goals and 13 assists in 61 games – but Namestnikov has been jumped up to Colorado's top line since getting traded from Ottawa, after starting his first three games in a third-line checking role. That's paid immediate dividends, as Namestnikov has managed two goals since moving up to the big line, although his ice time is still fairly low at around 15 minutes/game.

Getting second-line power play minutes and playing the PK should mean that Namestnikov's ice time trends up, and he's shown enough scoring prowess previously (53 goals in 259 games in a Tampa Bay jersey) that he should be a contributor given his role on the Avs. As the schedule section below will lay out, Colorado has a tremendous schedule upcoming and all of their depth pieces should be in play as late-season adds – none more so than the one that gets to skate with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog at 5v5.

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

Zach Parise, W, Minnesota Wild (Available in 74 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Even at the tender old age of 35, Parise has still been a very solid contributor for a surging Minnesota Wild team, as Parise's picked up 24 goals and 19 assists so far this year – including 17 power-play points. Since Bruce Boudreau was fired as head coach, Parise's picked up three goals and three assists in nine games while taking two shots/game.

Those numbers don't jump off the page as an elite contributor, but the Wild have scored 33 goals in the nine games under new coach Dean Evason. Parise's mostly been unlucky to not pick up more points – he's been on the ice for 13 of those goals, an IPP percentage of just 53.85%. There's been no reduction in role or ice time that would indicate Parise should slow down any time soon and he's still playing key power-play minutes, so players in leagues that track PPP where Parise is available would do well to add him for the stretch run.

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

Matt Duchene, W, Nashville Predators (Owned in 51 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Given the Predators' upcoming schedule (see below), Duchene would be in consideration to get dumped regardless, but there are some troubling trends that really cement it: in February and March (16 games), Duchene has scored only one goal to go with four assists, and has played below 16 minutes in nine of those 16 games – including a game with only 13 shifts.

Another troubling trend for Duchene is his lack of shot volume as he's struggled to get pucks to the net with the lack of ice time, averaging only 1.5 shots/game in that 16-game time frame. He's shooting "only" 9.1 percent as a Predator, which is a drop from his career average of 12.7 so there's maybe a chance for positive regression, but not enough to hang on to him for.

On the season, he's picked up only 12 goals and 28 assists (nine power-play points) and doesn't hit or block at any great rate. He could probably be dropped in shallow leagues, but deeper leagues can keep him benched for the next two weeks.

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

Andreas Athanasiou, W, Edmonton Oilers (Owned in 34 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – This late in the season, every player owned above 50 percent is either a repeat or should be hung onto, so dropping down to 34% ownership is cheating a little – but if you're one of the 34 percent of Yahoo! owners who are hanging on to Athanasiou, or even worse, traded for him at the deadline, it's time to cut losses on him.

After breaking out last year in limited minutes, putting up 30 goals and 24 assists in 76 games, Athanasiou had higher expectations given the lack of forwards in Detroit, but still only managed to score ten goals in 46 games. He did see a slight increase in role and had a small uptick in ice time, but in general Athanasiou's defensive difficulties have kept him low in the lineup on both Detroit and now on Edmonton; the Oilers have been quick to take responsibility and ice time for AA, moving him quickly to a fourth-line role after scoring a goal and adding an assist in his first game as an Oiler. Athanasiou got to play his first game alongside Connor McDavid, but is now playing below ten minutes (13 to 14 shifts) with players like Gaetan Haas and Jujhar Khaira.

The tools are definitely there for Athanasiou to generate fantasy production, but given no coaches seem to be willing to give him that chance, he can be dropped immediately.

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

With playoffs kicking off, there's no more important time than now to pay attention to the schedule. This period runs from March 6 to 18

Carolina – The Hurricanes play the maximum seven times, but with the added bonus of playing each of the next two Sundays – which tends to be a key day for standard Yahoo! pools, as it's the default last day of the week. Having extra Canes on the roster can be a real bonus in a tight match-up, and their opponents on both Sundays will be the Penguins and Sabres, which isn't incredible but is still two strong match-ups. Carolina's other opponents will be the Islanders, Red Wings and Devils, as well as one more game against both the Pens and Sabres.

Vancouver – Vancouver's schedule isn't as enticing as Carolina's in terms of opponents, but it's even better in terms of off-days: the Canucks have games on the next two Sundays and the next two Fridays and will finish the period on Wednesday the 18th. Unfortunately, they'll be playing against Colorado (twice), Columbus, the Islanders, Arizona, Winnipeg and Tampa Bay – not much of a fantasy boost outside of the game against the Jets.

Colorado – Although Colorado is now missing Cale Makar and Andre Burakovsky (neither are making this upcoming road trip) on top of the already-hurt Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen, the Avs' schedule is juicy enough and there's some value to be had in Colorado's secondary scoring (Tyson Jost, Valeri Nichushkin as examples). Colorado plays Vancouver and San Jose twice each, as well as games against the Kings, Golden Knights and Rangers.

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

Columbus – Although the Jackets have found some scoring recently – they topped three goals in three of their past five games after not hitting their number in the ten games previous – but only have five games with which to get production, and are still beset with injuries. Columbus will play road games in Edmonton, Vancouver and Boston, as well as home games against Pittsburgh and Nashville.

Nashville – The Predators will be stymied against some tough competition on the docket, as Nashville has to play Dallas, Columbus and Minnesota during this period, as well as games against Montreal and Toronto. Even worse is that all five games come on the road, with the Minnesota game the second half of a back-to-back. Don't count on any Preds.

Toronto – While the Maple Leafs have a couple appealing matchups upcoming (home to Nashville and the Devils) as well as a game against the Ducks, the game against Anaheim loses some shine as the second half of a road back-to-back, and the rest of Toronto's schedule is tough as they'll play Tampa Bay and Boston. The Leafs haven't struggled to score recently, but given where the team is defensively, expect a lot of minuses; that combined with the lack of volume (five total games) make them a Leave 'Em team.

March 6 to March 12
Best Bets
VAN 4.1525 – Away ARI- Home COL CBJ NY Islanders
DET 4.0525 – Away WSH- Home CHI TBL CAR
TBL 4.0425 – Away BOS DET TOR – Home PHI
COL 4 – Away VAN SJS LAK – Home NY Rangers
NJD 3.99 – Away NY Rangers – Home STL PIT CAR
Steer Clear
BOS 1.895 – Away PHI – Home TBL
OTT 2.7075 – Away SJS ANH LAK – Home
MIN 2.8075 – Away LAK ANH – Home VGK
TOR 2.845 – Away ANH – Home TBL NSH
BUF 2.945 – Away PHI MTL- Home WSH
March 7 to March 13
Best Bets
SJS 4.2575 – Away CHI STL- Home OTT COL
EDM 4.1475 – Home CBJ VGK WPG NY Islanders
NYI 4.1375 – Away VAN CGY EDM- Home CAR
COL 4.115 – Away SJS LAK – Home NY Rangers VAN
VAN 4.0475 – Away ARI COL- Home CBJ NY Islanders
Steer Clear
TOR 1.9425 – Away – Home TBL NSH
WPG 2.095 – Away EDM – Home ARI
CGY 2.1 – Away – Home VGK NY Islanders
ARI 2.11 – Away WPG – Home VAN
ANH 2.1525 – Away – Home MIN OTT
March 8 to March 14
Best Bets
TBL 4.3475 – Away DET TOR – Home PHI DET
CHI 4.1575 – Away WSH- Home STL SJS OTT
COL 4.115 – Away SJS LAK – Home NY Rangers VAN
SJS 4.095 – Away CHI STL DAL- Home COL
VAN 4.0475 – Away ARI COL – Home CBJ NY Islanders
Steer Clear
MTL 2.1525 – Away – Home NSH BUF
PHI 2.7975 – Away TBL – Home BOS MIN
OTT 2.8025 – Away ANH LAK CHI – Home
TOR 2.845 – Away BOS- Home TBL NSH
VGK 2.85 – Away CGY EDM MIN – Home
March 9 to March 15
Best Bets
TBL 4.305 – Away TOR – Home PHI DET NJD
COL 4.215 – Away LAK – Home NY Rangers VAN VGK
WPG 4.1375 – Away EDM CGY VAN- Home ARI
EDM 4.0475 – Away PHI- Home VGK WPG NY Islanders
BUF 4.0425 – Away MTL – Home WSH BOS CAR
Steer Clear
CBJ 1.9425 – Away – Home PIT NSH
CGY 2.0475 – Away – Home NY Islanders WPG
DET 2.8075 – Away WSH TBL – Home CAR
TOR 2.845 – Away BOS – Home TBL NSH
VGK 2.8975 – Away EDM MIN COL- Home
March 10 to March 16
Best Bets
TBL 4.305 – Away TOR – Home PHI DET NJD
DAL 4.1525 – Away ARI- Home NY Rangers FLA SJS
BOS 4.1475 – Away PHI BUF – Home TOR CBJ
FLA 4.09 – Away STL DAL DET- Home NJD
NYR 4.0425 – Away DAL COL ARI – Home CGY
Steer Clear
VGK 1.8525 – Away MIN COL – Home
LAK 2.205 – Away – Home OTT ANH
CBJ 2.845 – Away BOS- Home PIT NSH
TOR 2.845 – Away BOS – Home TBL NSH
SJS 2.9925 – Away CHI STL DAL – Home
March 11 to March 17
Best Bets
COL 4.41 – – Home NY Rangers VAN VGK SJS
MIN 4.1525 – Away PHI – Home VGK NSH CHI
WPG 4.1375 – Away EDM CGY VAN – Home FLA
CAR 4.095 – Away NJD BUF – Home PIT BUF
FLA 4.09 – Away DAL DET WPG- Home NJD
Steer Clear
ANH 1.9575 – Away LAK – Home MTL
NSH 2.8025 – Away TOR CBJ MIN – Home
OTT 2.8025 – Away LAK CHI STL – Home
DET 2.8075 – Away WSH TBL – Home FLA
CBJ 2.845 – Away BOS – Home PIT NSH
March 12 to March 18
Best Bets
ARI 4.515 – – Home VAN NY Rangers DAL VGK
TBL 4.4 – Away VAN- Home PHI DET NJD
MIN 4.1525 – Away PHI – Home VGK NSH CHI
BOS 4.1 – Away BUF ANH- Home TOR CBJ
CAR 4.095 – Away NJD BUF – Home PIT BUF
Steer Clear
LAK 2.1 – Away – Home ANH MTL
NSH 2.8025 – Away TOR CBJ MIN – Home
DET 2.8075 – Away WSH TBL – Home FLA
CBJ 2.845 – Away BOS – Home PIT NSH
MTL 2.9125 – Away ANH LAK – Home BUF



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