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, November 7th
The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)
Frank Vatrano, W, Florida Panthers (Available in 100 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – With Florida’s easy schedule this month and Vatrano’s current role on a line alongside Vincent Trocheck and Jonathan Huberdeau, he could be picked up for nothing and could pay some dividends; Vatrano has always been a shooting monster, averaging 2.25SOG/game but hitting double digit SF/60 rates in his first three seasons. He averaged more than five shots per game in the AHL and is still only 24 years old, he just needs the opportunity to play top-6 minutes and for right now, he’s got it.
The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)
Sam Girard, D, Colorado Avalanche (Available in 96 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – It was around this time last year that I mentioned Girard should be added, and yet here he is only 4% owned. Although he plays at even-strength behind Tyson Barrie, Girard has usurped the point on Colorado’s potent first power play unit, and has already put up 1G-5A (including three PP assists.) Girard is averaging around three minutes more than he did last year – he’s up to 20:05/game – and is averaging one hit and one block per game.
The Odd Man Out (His short-term value is cause for concern)
Alex Galchenyuk, C, Arizona (Owned in 48 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – There’s nothing wrong with Galchenyuk per se, as he’s working his way through a top-line role alongside Clayton Keller and a rotating cast, but his time on ice combined with Arizona’s weak schedule should see Galchenyuk left on the side for the time being. Playing only 16:30 a night through six games, Galchenyuk has actually performed well with 2G-3A, but Arizona doesn’t use a “top line” and that will always hurt his fantasy value. Wait until the Coyotes have a better schedule to rely on the young centre.
The Anchors (They’ll do nothing but disappoint even over the long haul)
Max Pacioretty, W, Vegas (Owned in 59 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – It’s not fair to Patches to call his time so far in Vegas poor, as he’s barely seen any time with his two “good” line mates (Erik Haula and Alex Tuch) due to injuries to all three. At the same time, Pacioretty hasn’t done much to help himself, with only two goals and no assists through 11 games; even worse, he’s not getting done in by unsustainably-low shooting, as he’s at 7.1% which is less than his career average of 11% but just a hair behind where he was last year in Montreal (8.0%.) The goals will eventually come for Pacioretty, but he’s no longer the stats accumulator he was in the past.
Love ‘Em (These squads are sure to pay dividends in the coming days)
Florida – Due to their mini-bye and trip to Helsinki, the Panthers have a loaded schedule over the next little while – seven games in all between November 9th and 21st. They somehow only have one back-to-back in that time, both home games, and shouldn’t have much of a problem filling the net against the likes of the Islanders, Ottawa (twice), Philadelphia and the Rangers. Florida also plays Columbus and Tampa in this time.
Vancouver – The surprise of the Pacific division also have seven games during this stretch, also with just the one b2b. Unfortunately, only two games – against Montreal and Winnipeg – come at home, but the Canucks get to run through all three New York State teams and the easy competition that comes with it, and also get to play the Ducks. They also play Minnesota.
Vegas – The other surprise of the Pacific, but in a bad way, the Golden Knights also get seven games in this period. Also like the Canucks, Vegas only has two home games (Anaheim and St. Louis) but get to face the Oilers and Flames which should see some pucks go Vegas’ way. The Knights’ other opponents are Montreal, Boston (b2b after playing the Habs) and Arizona.
Leave ‘Em (These squads will leave fantasy owners sorely disappointed in the short term)
NY Islanders – The Islanders have actually been a happy surprise this year, sitting 16th in Goals For and an incredible 4th in Goals Against so far, but their schedule is light and their lack of shots on goal/reliance on the PP will hurt them. NY plays at Florida, home to Vancouver, the Rangers and Dallas, and then a “road” game against the Rangers; no back-to-backs is about the only positive here beyond getting to play the Rangers twice.
Arizona – After putting their starter on IR, the Coyotes will be in tough in November as they spend the next week on the road against the Eastern Conference. The desert dogs are currently tops in the league in Goals Against but a miserable 28th in Goals For and have some very tough opponents: Pittsburgh, Washington and Detroit on the road, and Nashville, Boston and Vegas at home.
Carolina – The Hurricanes have incredible fancy stats this season, but struggle in the fanciest stat of all: goals. The ‘Canes are currently 25th in Goals For, have the third-worst power play, and since October 13th have scored more than three goals only once (ten games played.) Carolina only has five games through Nov 21st, and although they’re all home games, they face defensive-minded teams in Columbus, New Jersey and Toronto (in addition to Detroit and Chicago.)
- Ramblings: Goalie Controversies in Calgary and Pittsburgh, The NHL’s Top Line Debate, and The Tale of Shotgun Jake (Nov 11)
- Ramblings: Parise’s projection, Galchenyuk’s impact, Anderson’s workload, Hoffman’s revenge, Ehlers’ linemates and more (Nov 12)
- 20 Fantasy Hockey Thoughts
- Top 10 under-the-radar hot starts
- The Journey: Calder Trophy Race – November 2018
- Geek of the Week: Aaron Ekblad's Weak Start to Your Benefit
- Wild West: Head-to-Head Matchups, Erik Karlsson
- Fantasy Hockey Podcast: So Chabot Right Now