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.
The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)
Erik Haula, LW, Vegas Golden Knights (Available in 74 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Due to an undisclosed injury to Alex Tuch – who was placed on IR – Erik Haula is the recipient of the better ice-time that opens up and should see an uptick in value over the next week or two. With Vegas’ schedule heavy in the first two weeks of the season, Haula will have some games on a potent PP1 and play alongside Max Pacioretty and Paul Stastny at even strength, which qualifies as an upgrade over Oscar Lindberg and Tomas Nosek.
The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)
Pavel Buchnevich, RW, New York Rangers (Available in 80 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – There are certain things people need to remember about Pavel Buchnevich that may have slipped through the cracks during the off-season: he took 6.93 SOG/60, has scored 2.11Pts/60 and 1.77Pts/60 in his first two seasons, and is on the top line of the Rangers without the shackles placed on him from ex-coach Alain Vigneault. Buchnevich has always been a top-tier talent, but playing on the third- or fourth-lines and seeing 11 minutes of EVTOI/game never displayed it. Pick him up ASAP, and either hang onto him (recommended) or use the Rangers’ good scheduling start to the year and trade him in two weeks after extracting value.
The Odd Man Out (His short-term value is cause for concern)
Martin Marincin, D, Toronto Maple Leafs (Owned in 51 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – This is Yahoo-specific, and is basically just screaming into the void, but if you’re in a league where Marincin got auto-drafted – be a good league-mate and explain that Marincin has as good a shot of playing a game in the NHL this year as you or I do.
And if you’re one of the 51 percent reading this…well, have you considered buying the 2018-19 Dobber Fantasy Hockey Guide?
The Anchors (They’ll do nothing but disappoint even over the long haul)
Darnell Nurse, D, Edmonton (Owned in 54 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Fair warning to those who are in leagues that don’t count peripheral categories like hits and blocks: Darnell Nurse will do nothing by disappoint you this season. Nurse missed a portion of camp waiting to sign his RFA contract, so how he starts the year off is a question mark, but more importantly is that he’s still playing behind Oscar Klefbom on the power play and at even strength – so much of the Oilers’ value from defensemen will come from picking up peripherals or getting McDavid-related points. Tough to do from the second unit.
Love ‘Em (These squads are sure to pay dividends in the coming days)
Vegas – Their opponents aren’t exactly a cakewalk – tough games against the Capitals, Penguins and Flyers are in this period – but Vegas makes it into the Love ‘Ems on volume. Five of their games are on the road, but they have six games in this stretch in total and get to face Minnesota once and Buffalo twice.
NY Rangers – With six games between the 6th and 17th, the Rags are a good team to roll out with impunity. Not only do they have a good amount of games, but they also face some weaker competition by playing at Buffalo and Carolina, and get Edmonton (still expected to be weak defensively) and Colorado at home. The one watch-out here will be that their Buffalo/Carolina games are road back-to-backs, and they play a home/road back-to-back against the Avs followed by the Caps.
Toronto – If you have Maple Leafs players, they’re not sitting on your bench most likely, but if you’re debating picking up a lesser-light (Josh Leivo, Connor Brown, etc.) now would be the time to do it. The Leafs play six games in this period, but most importantly they play defensive tire fires such as Ottawa, Chicago (who probably won’t have Corey Crawford back), and Detroit. Beyond those games, they do also play Dallas, Washington and Los Angeles.
Leave ‘Em (These squads will leave fantasy owners sorely disappointed in the short term)
New Jersey – One of two teams that will be opening the season in Sweden – surprise, surprise that their opponent is also a Leave ‘Em this week – the Devils play only twice between the 6th and the 11th, and although they have all home games in the back half of this stretch, their opponents are tough: Washington, San Jose, Dallas and Colorado.
Edmonton – The Oilers also play only twice between the 6th and 11th thanks to the Gothenburg game, but where they’re in a worse spot than the Devils are is that all their games are road games when the Oilers come back to North America – their home opener isn’t until October 18th! They play Boston, Winnipeg and the Rangers beyond their game against New Jersey.
Arizona – With only five games in twelve days, the Coyotes have a tough start to the year scheduling-wise; although none are back-to-backs, the Desert Dogs play Anaheim in a home/road split, Buffalo at home, and Minnesota and Chicago on the road. Their worst stretch will be the 6th to 10th with just the two games against Anaheim.
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