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.
Note: With COVID news coming out of the blue, this article could be stale by Friday evening. It's important as always to pay attention to twitter and the site (especially the Ramblings) to keep abreast of all fantasy-relevant changes. The schedule portion of this article will continue as always, but be prepared to react quickly if games get postponed. All stats updated through Wednesday, February 17.
The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)
Ty Smith, D, New Jersey Devils (Available in 63 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Through the first ten games of his NHL career, Ty Smith has amassed a fantastic line of 2G-6A and although that's on 10.5% shooting, the first-round pick out of Spokane has always been a point producer: in 238 career WHL games, Smith put up 233 points, a rate of 0.97 points per game; if you remove his rookie WHL year, the numbers are even more eye-popping: 1.16 points per game over 172 games.
Smith brings that pedigree to a Devils team that looked set on the point – New Jersey has P.K. Subban, Damon Severson, Sami Vatanen and Will Butcher who have all had cracks at quarterbacking the top power play – but lack of production by those four have given Smith a tremendous opportunity. Smith's role has jumped from a third pair/second-unit power play guy in his first five games – never topping 19 minutes of ice time and sitting below 13 minutes twice – all the way up to where he is now, playing on the top pair and quarterbacking the top PP. Smith's last five games have seen him play between 16:39 and 23:51.
With the Devils' strong schedule (see below) and Smith's current role and production, he's a lock to contribute over the next few weeks and possibly beyond.
The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)
Chris Driedger, G, Florida Panthers (Available in 56 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – After