Looking Ahead: The Habs Offer Value Next Week

by Adam Daly-Frey on November 2, 2018


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 Thursday, October 25

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

Dustin Brown, W, Los Angeles Kings (Available in 65 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Although he’s constantly derided as being a plug in the same vein as Milan Lucic (who is a plug,) Brown should be added in any leagues where he’s available – immediately. Last year, Brown put up 28-33 (including 25 PP points) while firing 222 pucks on net and averaging just under three peripheral stats (hit/blk) per game; he’s healthy and playing top minutes alongside Anze Kopitar again, and saw 22:17 in his first game back which also included a goal.

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

David Rittich, G, Calgary Flames (Available in 84 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Here’s what Calgary’s ostensible starter Mike Smith has done this season: ten games started with five wins, a .871 save percentage, and five “really bad starts” – starts below .850. Conversely, Rittich has started four times (six appearances) and has a 3W-1L line with a sparkling 0.939 SV% and four quality starts to zero bad starts. Considering they play behind the exact same team, this should speak volumes about the low quality goaltending the Flames are getting from Smith. Rittich should continue to pick up more consistent starts.

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

Matt Murray, G, Pittsburgh (Owned in 92 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Much like the David Rittich/Mike Smith situation in Calgary, Matt Murray is in danger of getting Wally Pipp’ed after his tough injury issues and poor play to start the season. It never feels good to point to concussions as a possible problem, but through his first six starts – which is a lower number than it should be since he missed time with another concussion – he’s lost twice (fine!) and picked up a shutout (even finer!) but has allowed 21 goals. His save percentage is an ugly-looking 0.893, he’s at -2.977 Goals Saved Above Average, and while he’ll still pick up wins thanks to the offensive side of the Penguins, his stats could be ugly and if they stay ugly much longer he’s in danger of moving into a 1A/1B.

For comparison’s sake, Casey DeSmith is at 2-0-2 with a 0.932 SV%, one shutout, and three quality starts to zero bad starts in his four started games (five overall).

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

Patrick Marleau, W, Toronto Maple Leafs (Owned in 45 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Averaging close to what he saw last year, 17:14, Marleau is well on his way to another 82-game season where he fails to hit 50 points. With only 1G-4A through 12 games, Marleau is only on pace for 34 points – and only one of those five came on the power play. While his goal-scoring could be chalked up to a shooting percentage 9% less than his career average, Marleau is only on pace for 157 shots this season and should see a career low in goals.

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

Tampa Bay – Between the 2nd and 14th, the Lightning have six games, and they see some very soft opponents in that stretch: Ottawa (twice), Edmonton, the Islanders and Buffalo. There’s only one back-to-back (at Montreal followed by Ottawa) but Tampa still gets three home games out of the six and currently sit 5th in goals for.

Montreal – The Habs also have six games, and also get the benefit of facing some easier-than-average teams. Beyond games at home against Tampa Bay and Vegas which could pose some problems, Montreal gets to face both New York teams as well as Buffalo and Edmonton. Montreal’s currently 8th in Corsi% at 5v5 and their top-six have been clicking along well – the Habs have scored three or more in eight of eleven games so far.

San Jose – Tied with Tampa for 5th in Goals For and now with Joe Thornton back, the Sharks play six games during this period, with four coming at home and only one back-to-back. The back-to-back are both road games, coming against Dallas and St. Louis, but the rest of their schedule sees them face off against Philadelphia, Minnesota, Nashville and Calgary.

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

An apology: I didn’t realize Florida/Winnipeg played in Finland last week when I wrote about the Panthers’ horrible schedule

Winnipeg – Coming back from Helsinki, the Jets only get four games during this period. Three of the games are at home which will help (the other is in Helsinki), but they face tough shutdown opponents in Colorado and New Jersey, as well as Buffalo and Washington.

Calgary – The Flames have three days off between a home game against Chicago and the start of their California road trip, and only play four times between the 2nd and 14th. They do have a back-to-back which is good for David Rittich (see above), but not great for a team that was in a major dry spell offensively before a five-goal outburst during the third period of Thursday’s win over Colorado.

Florida – The Panthers get five days off after playing the Jets in Helsinki and then get three straight home games, but also have a back-to-back jammed in there and end their five-game stretch at Philadelphia. The Cats’ opponents should help Florida generate some offense – Edmonton, NY Islanders, Ottawa – but Florida’s had an extremely inconsistent season in terms of scoring and at a time when goals are easy to come by, Florida is averaging just three goals per game.

November 2 to November 8

Best Bets

TBL 4.2425 – Away MTL OTT – Home EDM NYI

OTT 4.1425 – Away BUF – Home TBL NJD VGK

MTL 4.1425 – Away NYI NYR – Home TBL BUF

CAR 3.895 – Away ARI VGK STL CHI- Home

EDM 3.7525 – Away DET WSH TBL FLA- Home

Steer Clear

WPG 1.05 – Away – Home FLA

TOR 1.905 – Away PIT – Home VGK

FLA 1.9525 – Away WPG – Home EDM

COL 2.0375 – Away VAN – Home NSH

NSH 2.0475 – Away COL – Home BOS

November 3 to November 9

Best Bets

TBL 4.2425 – Away MTL OTT – Home EDM NYI

OTT 4.1425 – Away BUF – Home TBL NJD VGK

MTL 4.1425 – Away NYI NYR – Home TBL BUF

WSH 3.99 – Away – Home DAL EDM PIT CBJ

SJS 3.9425 – Away DAL STL- Home PHI MIN

Steer Clear

FLA 1.05 – Away – Home EDM

WPG 1.1025 – Away – Home COL

COL 1.8475 – Away WPG- Home NSH

ARI 2 – Away PHI – Home PHI

VAN 2.0425 – Away DET BOS – Home

November 4 to November 10

Best Bets

TBL 4.3525 – Away OTT – Home EDM NYI OTT

MTL 4.2475 – Away NYI NYR – Home BUF VGK

NYR 4.21 – Away DET CBJ- Home BUF MTL

CBJ 4.015 – Away ANH WSH – Home DAL NYR

OTT 3.9525 – Away TBL- Home TBL NJD VGK

Steer Clear

WPG 1.1025 – Away – Home COL

CGY 1.71 – Away ANH LAK- Home

COL 1.8475 – Away WPG – Home NSH

NSH 1.995 – Away COL DAL- Home

FLA 2.1525 – Away – Home EDM NYI

November 5 to November 11

Best Bets

BOS 4.41 – – Home DAL VAN TOR VGK

MTL 4.2475 – Away NYI NYR – Home BUF VGK

VGK 3.99 – Away TOR OTT MTL BOS- Home

OTT 3.9575 – Away TBL FLA- Home NJD VGK

SJS 3.9425 – Away DAL STL – Home MIN CGY

Steer Clear

CHI 2.21 – Away PHI – Home CAR

NSH 1.995 – Away COL DAL – Home

BUF 2.2525 – Away MTL – Home VAN

WPG 2.205 – Away – Home COL NJD

CGY 2.66 – Away ANH LAK SJS- Home

November 6 to November 12

Best Bets

CAR 4.3575 – Away STL CHI – Home DET CHI

VAN 4.1325 – Away DET BOS BUF NYR- Home

CBJ 4.11 – Away WSH DAL- Home DAL NYR

NYR 4.2625 – Away DET CBJ – Home MTL VAN

VGK 3.99 – Away TOR OTT MTL BOS – Home

Steer Clear

NYI 1.805 – Away TBL FLA – Home

PIT 1.905 – Away WSH – Home ARI

PHI 2.205 – Away – Home ARI CHI

WPG 2.205 – Away – Home COL NJD

BUF 2.2525 – Away MTL – Home VAN

November 7 to November 13

Best Bets

FLA 4.2575 – Away PHI- Home EDM NYI OTT

VAN 4.0375 – Away BOS BUF NYR NYI- Home

SJS 3.9425 – Away DAL STL – Home CGY NSH

NSH 3.8475 – Away COL DAL ANH SJS- Home

ARI 3.7525 – Away PHI PIT WSH DET- Home

Steer Clear

STL 1.995 – Away – Home SJS MIN

WPG 2.205 – Away – Home COL NJD

CGY 2.66 – Away ANH LAK SJS – Home

COL 2.7975 – Away WPG EDM – Home NSH

NJD 2.7975 – Away TOR WPG – Home PIT

November 8 to November 14

Best Bets

CHI 4.4 – Away PHI CAR – Home CAR STL

BOS 4.305 – Away COL- Home VAN TOR VGK

FLA 4.2575 – Away PHI – Home EDM NYI OTT

VAN 4.0375 – Away BOS BUF NYR NYI – Home

VGK 4.0375 – Away OTT MTL BOS – Home ANH

Steer Clear

CGY 1.7575 – Away LAK SJS – Home

PIT 2.0475 – Away NJD – Home ARI

NJD 2.7975 – Away TOR WPG – Home PIT

ANH 2.84 – Away VGK- Home MIN NSH

NSH 2.85 – Away DAL ANH SJS – Home