Looking Ahead: Add Schmaltz While He’s Available

by Adam Daly-Frey on December 7, 2018
  • Looking Ahead
  • Looking Ahead: Add Schmaltz While He’s Available


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, December 5

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

Kevin Hayes, C, New York Rangers (Available in 86 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Now that the Rangers schedule has improved slightly – it’s still light (see below) but the end of the month is loaded – Hayes should have some value. With Vladislav Namestnikov expected back, the Rangers should reform their “second” line of Hayes between Chris Kreider and Filip Chytil, who have been dynamite together: in 81 minutes together, they’re putting up a Goals For rate of 3.67/60, firing 30+ shots/60, and generating a ton (16/60) of high-danger chances. Hayes has gone cold if you only look at game logs – three assists in his last five games – but that was with constantly changing line combinations and a cut in ice time. When he plays with Chytil and Kreider, Hayes typically sees 20+ minutes of ice time, and should have a ton of value the rest of this month.

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

Nick Schmaltz, C, Arizona Coyotes (Available in 80 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Since getting traded to Arizona, Schmaltz has played in four games for the Coyotes, and he’s put up 2G-3A while playing just under 17 minutes a night. More importantly, Schmaltz has increased his iCF from 9/60 to 13/60 – which was always the big issue with Schmaltz, that he wouldn’t shoot. He’s managed to get 11 shots on goal since the move playing alongside Clayton Keller and Alex Galchenyuk, but it’s the increase in power-play time that will really make him stand apart. Add him now before everyone else catches up.

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

Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Philadelphia Flyers (Owned in 90 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – It’s okay to be worried about the fourth-year stud, as he’s having an incredibly disappointing start to the season: 3G-8A in 25 games so far, while seeing about half a minute of ice time less than last year and well on his way to win Mike Commodore’s Masters Championship with a -15. In points-only leagues he’s worth stashing on the bench until he gets right, but in leagues that track plus/minus, he could be dangled with something else in a 2-for-1 upgrade situation. He should get on track eventually, but if someone makes an offer or you can improve other areas, jump on it.

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

Kasperi Kapanen, W, Toronto Maple Leafs (Owned in 50 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – There’s no question that Kasperi Kapanen has had a great start to the year, with 10G-9A in 28 games, but so much of his production has come with Auston Matthews – nine of his 19 points so far have either been assists on Matthews goals or goals assisted by Matthews. With the return of William Nylander, Kapanen will find himself for most of the rest of season on the third or fourth lines, and Kapanen isn’t in line to get any power play time. He’s a strong player and would be an asset to hang onto in keeper leagues, but Kapanen should be shopped to the Leafs fans in your league for something of value.

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

Winnipeg – The Jets have an incredible schedule upcoming: seven games between the 7th and 19th, with all but two coming at home where they’re averaging 3.84 goals per game (0.7 more than on the road.) Jets players and fantasy owners should both be salivating at the sight of Winnipeg’s opponents in December, with games against the Blues, Flyers, Blackhawks (twice,) Oilers and Kings looking extremely inviting. They have one tough game against the Lightning.

Edmonton – Just a few games into the Hitchcock regime, the Oilers look like they’re playing Hitchcock hockey – after the first game under Hitch (4-3 win,) Edmonton has scored two or less in five of seven games, and only managed three in the other two games. That being said, they have seven games in this stretch with four at home – the Wild, Flames, Flyers and Blues – with the remainder coming against Vancouver, Winnipeg and Colorado.

Arizona – Most of their games in this period come on the road – only two of the six coming at home – but the Coyotes still have a strong schedule upcoming. They’ll get to face the Sabres, Rangers, Hurricanes and Islanders as well as games against San Jose and Boston, with only one back-to-back on the docket.

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

Vancouver – The Canucks have struggled to score – they sit 17th in Goals For but have scored three or less in 73% of their games so far – and have a fairly tough schedule even with six games: they’ll be on the road against the Blues, Blue Jackets and Predators, and home against Philadelphia, Edmonton and Tampa Bay.

New Jersey – With only five games between the 7th and 19th, the Devils have a very light schedule, but even worse is that they have a game against Vegas at home on the 14th, followed immediately by a game in Nashville on the 15th. Beyond that, the Devils play the Ducks and Sharks in California, and finish this period back at home against Toronto – no easy competition here.

NY Rangers – The Rags also suffer from a light schedule during this stretch, but on the plus side they’ve got games against the Ducks and Panthers to look forward to. Their three other games aren’t appealing though, as the Original Six team will have to face Tampa Bay, Arizona and Vegas.

December 7 to December 13

Best Bets

WPG 4.305 – – Home STL PHI CHI EDM

SJS 4.1525 – Away DAL ARI – Home NJD DAL

LAK 3.995 – Away DET BUF CBJ- Home VGK

EDM 3.895 – Away COL WPG- Home MIN CGY

DAL 3.8525 – Away VGK ANH SJS- Home SJS

Steer Clear

NYR 1.805 – Away FLA TBL – Home

NJD 1.8525 – Away ANH SJS – Home

COL 1.905 – Away TBL – Home EDM

WSH 2.015 – Away CBJ – Home DET

VAN 2.6125 – Away STL CBJ NSH- Home

December 8 to December 14

Best Bets

WPG 4.3 – Away CHI- Home PHI CHI EDM

PIT 4.1375 – Away OTT NYI CHI – Home BOS

ARI 4.09 – Away BOS BUF NYR- Home SJS

DET 4.005 – Away WSH – Home NYI LAK OTT

EDM 4 – Away COL WPG – Home CGY PHI

Steer Clear

ANH 2.205 – Away – Home NJD DAL

MIN 2.205 – Away – Home MTL FLA

VAN 2.6125 – Away STL CBJ NSH – Home

DAL 2.8025 – Away VGK ANH SJS – Home

COL 2.855 – Away TBL STL- Home EDM

December 9 to December 15

Best Bets

MTL 4.315 – Away CHI MIN – Home CAR OTT

WPG 4.3 – Away CHI – Home PHI CHI EDM

OTT 4.0425 – Away NSH DET MTL- Home BOS

EDM 4 – Away COL WPG – Home CGY PHI

CHI 4 – Away WPG – Home MTL PIT WPG

Steer Clear

NYR 1.905 – Away TBL – Home ARI

SJS 2.205 – Away – Home NJD DAL

TBL 2.205 – Away – Home NYR TOR

BUF 2.7975 – Away WSH- Home LAK ARI

CGY 2.855 – Away EDM MIN- Home PHI

December 10 to December 16

Best Bets

WPG 4.195 – Away CHI – Home CHI EDM TBL

ARI 4.18 – Away BOS BUF NYR CAR- Home

CAR 4.09 – Away MTL – Home TOR WSH ARI

EDM 4.0425 – Away COL WPG VAN- Home PHI

PIT 3.985 – Away NYI CHI – Home BOS LAK

Steer Clear

CGY 2.855 – Away MIN STL- Home PHI

ANH 1.91 – Away CBJ – Home DAL

FLA 2.855 – Away STL MIN – Home TOR

DAL 2.85 – Away ANH SJS COL – Home

NJD 2.855 – Away SJS NSH – Home VGK

December 11 to December 17

Best Bets

NSH 4.51 – Away OTT- Home OTT VAN NJD

COL 4.205 – Away STL – Home EDM DAL NYI

WPG 4.195 – Away CHI – Home CHI EDM TBL

MTL 4.32 – Away MIN – Home CAR OTT BOS

ARI 4.18 – Away BOS BUF NYR CAR – Home

Steer Clear

NJD 1.905 – Away NSH – Home VGK

TBL 1.9525 – Away WPG – Home TOR

NYR 2.1 – Away – Home ARI VGK

SJS 2.1475 – Away CHI – Home DAL

LAK 2.7075 – Away BUF CBJ PIT – Home

December 12 to December 18

Best Bets

NSH 4.4 – Away OTT CHI- Home VAN NJD

ARI 4.3325 – Away BUF NYR CAR – Home NYI

NYI 4.205 – Away COL ARI- Home VGK DET

PHI 4.2 – Away CGY EDM VAN – Home DET

EDM 4.095 – Away WPG VAN – Home PHI STL

Steer Clear

WSH 2.295 – Away CAR – Home BUF

LAK 2.66 – Away CBJ PIT – Home WPG

TOR 2.8025 – Away TBL FLA NJD- Home

CBJ 2.94 – Away – Home LAK ANH VGK

FLA 2.95 – Away MIN BUF- Home TOR

December 13 to December 19

Best Bets

MTL 4.4625 – Away COL- Home CAR OTT BOS

NSH 4.4 – Away OTT CHI – Home VAN NJD

ARI 4.3325 – Away BUF NYR CAR – Home NYI

COL 4.31 – Away STL – Home DAL NYI MTL

EDM 4.095 – Away WPG VAN – Home PHI STL

Steer Clear

LAK 2.66 – Away CBJ PIT – Home WPG

ANH 2.7075 – Away CBJ PIT NYR – Home

CGY 2.8025 – Away MIN STL DAL – Home

TOR 2.8025 – Away TBL FLA NJD – Home

VGK 2.85 – Away NJD NYR CBJ – Home