Looking Ahead: Buy Barbashev and the Blues

by Adam Daly-Frey on March 24, 2017

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.

Having just bought a house and struggling to move this week, this made for a slightly condensed version of Looking Ahead. Good luck for those of you who made it to round two of the playoffs, and back at it again next Friday!

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

Ivan Barbashev, C, St. Louis (Available in 99 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Coming off another game with an assist, Barbashev now has four points (1G-3A) in his last five games, playing with former fantasy greats Nail Yakupov and Magnus Paarjarvi. Barbashev on paper doesn’t look like much – averaging under 1SOG/game, only six points on the year, and no power play time – but has the scoring potential and opportunity to put points up down the stretch. The young Russian put up 88G-137A in 173 games in the Q, and has a tremendous wrist shot in the same vein as his teammate Vladimir Tarasenko. With the injury to Paul Stastny being the week-to-week variety, Barbashev should see a small uptick in TOI and have a better opportunity to show Mike Yeo what he’s capable of.

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

Tyler Toffoli, C, Los Angeles (Available in 42 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – With the line of Tanner PearsonJeff Carter – Toffoli fully healthy and reunited, the fact that Toffoli  is still available in 42% of Yahoo leagues is disheartening; all Toffoli has done in the month of March (10 games) is put up 2G-5A, average 1BLK, and take 2.3SOG/game. Toffoli’s ice time has been a little up and down, peaking at 19:22 at the start of the month against Toronto, and dipping as low as 11:42 against Washington. That’ll be something to keep an eye on, but with the Kings all but out of the playoffs, expect Toffoli to see more time to let summer start early on the more veteran players.

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

Ryan O’Reilly, C, Buffalo (Owned in 81 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – The suspension to Rasmus Ristolainen will have a large impact on the successful Buffalo power play over the next three games, which will be a large hit to the offensive production coming from former Masterton-nominee Ryan O’Reilly. Although ROR has six points in his last 10 games and pushed over 20 minutes of ice time in all but one, three of those six came on the power play, and two of them came directly from Ristolainen assists.

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

St. Louis – The Blues find themselves on the “Love ‘Em” list for yet another week, as they’re still approaching the meat of their easy schedule – after four straight victories, scoring three or more in all four, the Bluenotes get to face the Coyotes and Avalanche yet again this week. Matching up twice against Arizona means a bonanza for St. Louis owners in their h2h playoffs, as scoring has been coming – and will continue to come – from all four lines.

Anaheim – Anaheim doesn’t have the nicest ending to their regular season, heading into a Western Canada road trip that also has them playing Winnipeg twice (once at home) and Calgary twice (once at home). It’s those late-year matchups against a failing Jets team – especially on the penalty kill – as well as Vancouver and Calgary that will help Anaheim showcase their offensive production as they gear up for the playoffs.

Los Angeles – Another Western Conference in this section, as the Western Conference has the luck of housing both the Coyotes and Avs. LA features not because they get to play Colorado however – no such luck for the Kopitar-led Corsi Gods – but much like Anaheim, the Kings will match up against some very poor Western Canadian teams AS WELL AS the Coyotes. Play Kings with confidence!


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

Buffalo– Jake Guentzel has a large part to play in ignoring Buffalo skaters in the short term, skating out of his blue line with his head turned and getting Rasmus Ristolainen a three-game suspension. (That was a joke). After Rasmus got dinged with his suspension and the current injuries to 50% of the Sabres’ D corps, Buffalo will be in tight during their next five games. Expect to see a steep PP decline with Risto running the point, which is a shame because the Sabres get to play against the Maple Leafs twice in that period.

Winnipeg – In the Jets’ next six games, they have to play three above-average defensive teams in Anaheim, Ottawa, and St. Louis, and won’t have cakewalks against Vancouver or New Jersey.

Friday  March 24th to Thursday  March 30th

Best Bets

ANA 4.4425 – Four games – Away VAN WPG- Home WPG NYR

NYI 4.0425 – Four games – Away PIT PHI- Home BOS NSH

MIN 4.0375 – Four games – Away DET – Home VAN WSH OTT

DET 3.985 – Four games – Away CAR TB- Home TB MIN

SJS 3.9425 – Away DAL NSH EDM- Home NYR

Steer Clear

NJ 2.415 – Away – Home CAR DAL

NYR 2.5175 – Away LAK ANA SJS – Home

OTT 2.66 – Away MTL PHI MIN- Home

COL 2.835 – Away EDM CGY – Home WSH

CHI 2.85 – Away FLA TB PIT – Home

Saturday  March 25th to Friday  March 31st

Best Bets

STL 4.7475 – Four games – Away ARI COL – Home CGY ARI

CBJ 4.31 – Four games – Away CAR CHI – Home PHI BUF

WSH 4.3 – Four games – Away MIN COL ARI- Home ARI

NYI 4.2425 – Four games – Away PHI – Home BOS NSH NJ

CGY 4.09 – Four games – Away STL – Home COL LAK SJS

Steer Clear

TB 2.1525 – Away – Home CHI DET

WPG 2.1525 – Away – Home VAN ANA

OTT 2.66 – Away MTL PHI MIN – Home

DAL 2.755 – Away NJ MTL BOS – Home

DET 2.8825 – Away CAR TB – Home MIN

Sunday  March 26th to Saturday April 1st

Best Bets

ANA 4.085 – Four games – Away VAN WPG EDM- Home NYR

PHI 4.0525 – Four games – Away PIT – Home OTT NYI NJ

DET 3.9325 – Four games – Away CAR TB – Home MIN TOR

DAL 3.8 – Four games – Away NJ MTL BOS CAR

NSH 3.79 – Four games – Away NYI BOS – Home TOR MIN

Steer Clear

BUF 1.8575 – Away CBJ – Home FLA

NYR 2.7075 – Away ANA SJS – Home PIT

EDM 2.7825 – Away – Home LAK SJS ANA

CHI 2.7925 – Away TB PIT – Home CBJ

OTT 2.9925 – Away PHI MIN WPG- Home

Monday  March 27th to Sunday April 2nd

Best Bets

NSH 4.835 – Five games – Away NYI BOS STL- Home TOR MIN

STL 4.5375 – Four games – Away ARI COL – Home ARI NSH

TB 4.305 – Four games – Home CHI DET MTL DAL

LAK 4.3 – Four games – Away EDM CGY VAN – Home ARI

NYI 4.2375 – Four games – Away PHI BUF- Home NSH NJ

Steer Clear

EDM 2.7825 – Away – Home LAK SJS ANA

WPG 1.995 – Away – Home ANA OTT

VAN 2.7825 – Away – Home ANA LAK SJS

NJ 2.0425 – Away NYI PHI – Home

BUF 2.9075 – Away CBJ – Home FLA NYI

Tuesday  March 28th to Monday April 3rd

Best Bets

LAK 4.3 – Four games – Away EDM CGY VAN – Home ARI

CAR 4.21 – Four games – Away PIT – Home DET CBJ DAL

BOS 4.21 – Four games – Away CHI – Home NSH DAL FLA

MTL 4.2575 – Four games – Away TB FLA- Home DAL FLA

ANA 4.18 – Four games – Away VAN WPG EDM CGY

Steer Clear

WPG 1.995 – Away – Home ANA OTT

NJ 2.0425 – Away NYI PHI – Home

COL 2.755 – Away MIN – Home WSH STL

CGY 2.7825 – Away – Home LAK SJS ANA

EDM 2.7825 – Away – Home LAK SJS ANA

Wednesday  March 29th to Tuesday  April 4th

Best Bets

STL 4.5375 – Four games – Away ARI COL – Home NSH WPG

LAK 4.395 – Four games – Away CGY VAN – Home ARI EDM

ANA 4.3425 – Four games – Away WPG EDM CGY – Home CGY

MIN 4.315 – Four games – Away NSH – Home OTT COL CAR

BOS 4.315 – Four games – Away CHI – Home DAL FLA TB

Steer Clear

BUF 2.1 – Away – Home NYI TOR

NYR 2.205 – Away – Home PIT PHI

VAN 2.5925 – Away SJS- Home LAK SJS

FLA 2.65 – Away MTL BOS – Home MTL

EDM 2.6975 – Away LAK- Home SJS ANA

Thursday  March 30th to Wednesday April 5th

Best Bets

ANA 4.3425 – Four games – Away WPG EDM CGY – Home CGY

MIN 4.315 – Four games – Away NSH – Home OTT COL CAR

BOS 4.315 – Four games – Away CHI – Home DAL FLA TB

TB 4.2575 – Four games – Away BOS – Home DET MTL DAL

DAL 4.2525 – Four games – Away BOS CAR TB – Home ARI

Steer Clear

VAN 2.5925 – Away SJS – Home LAK SJS

FLA 2.65 – Away MTL BOS – Home MTL

EDM 2.6975 – Away LAK – Home SJS ANA

ARI 2.7875 – Away LAK DAL – Home WSH

CGY 2.7925 – Away ANA – Home SJS ANA