Kukla's Korner

The Goods on Fantasy Hockey

Pick Six: Saturday February 25

Another two days, another two deals with fantasy hockey implications. Saturday’s Pick Six highlights the two recent trades, although Saturday features 22 of the league’s 30 teams in action. Chicago, Florida, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, San Jose, and Tampa Bay all play two games this weekend, while all other teams play one game.

Here are the confirmed starting goalies for Saturday, according to Left Wing Lock: Dwayne Roloson, TB; Jaroslav Halak, STL; Alex Auld, OTT; James Reimer, TOR; Jimmy Howard, DET.

Don’t forget to check back on Monday night, when I will highlight at least six key players who will be moved at Monday’s trade deadline and how the change in addresses will affect fantasy values of those involved.

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Pick Six: Thursday February 23

Continuing with the special trade deadline coverage, the Pick Six features three players with present or past fantasy relevance that were traded this week. I have also squeezed in three players that could be recognizable on a Thursday that features nine games on the schedule, which includes a matchup of the top two teams in the Western Conference. Will the Wings’ home winning streak continue against a Canucks squad that is breathing down its neck for first overall in the NHL?

Kyle Quincey, D, DET – add
Could the Wings do to Quincey’s value what they did to Ian White’s? Quincey was in the middle of a slump with only three points in his last 19 games at the time of his trade back to Detroit, although he got off to a strong start and has demonstrated offensive prowess in the past. White already has Nicklas Lidstrom as his partner, which would explain his success this season. However, Quincey’s offensive upside and the fact that he now plays for a fantasy-friendly team could make him rosterable for the rest of the season.

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Pick Six: Tuesday February 21

We’re less than a week away from Trade Deadline Day, which is already a national holiday in Canada and may soon one day be a holiday in the States too (cross your fingers).

So far there haven’t been any trades that have stolen any of the thunder away from next Monday, although the day will probably be remembered more for the quantity of deals made rather than the quality. Either way, I will attempt to target my coverage in the Pick Six over the next week toward players who have been traded or are on the trade block, although not all of my picks today will fall into that category. If anything, the Pick Six is defense-rich, and who couldn’t use help on defense?

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Pick Six: Saturday February 18/Sunday February 19

Let’s get started with what you need to know fantasy-wise for the weekend:

Teams playing both Saturday and Sunday: Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Vancouver

Teams playing neither Saturday nor Sunday: Ottawa

Goalie starts Saturday, according to Left Wing Lock: Corey Crawford, CHI; Brian Elliott, STL; Cam Ward, CAR; James Reimer, TOR; Roberto Luongo, VAN; Mathieu Garon, TB; Kari Lehtonen, DAL

The emphasis of the weekend Pick Six seems to be on slumping players, which is the situation facing four of the six players listed today.

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Pick Six: Tuesday February 14

If you have to take a pass on watching hockey on Tuesday because of dinner reservations with the significant other, then I’m here to fill you in on what you’re about to miss. Valentine’s Day features nine NHL games, with two in particular that stand out: the top two teams in the Eastern Conference face off, and a perennial Western Conference powerhouse attempts to make history in front of its home fans. Two players that I have chosen for the Pick Six have been plucked from these matchups.

Here are the confirmed starting goalies for Tuesday, according to Left Wing Lock: Martin Brodeur, NJ; Jaroslav Halak, STL; Kari Lehtonen, DAL; Joey MacDonald, DET; Craig Anderson, OTT; Ray Emery, CHI.

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Pick Six: Saturday February 11

A total of 12 games are on the Saturday schedule, so it’s not the busiest Saturday night on record. However, all of your players on Canadian teams will be action, since it is Hockey Day in Canada. The Jets, who were an American team last season, are the only Canadian team not to be facing a team north of the border, as they face off against Pittsburgh. No doubt the CBC executives were thinking Sidney Crosby when they scheduled that game!

To help you plan for the weekend:

Teams with two games: Columbus, Florida, Los Angeles, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

Teams with no games: Carolina

All other teams play one game this weekend on either Saturday or Sunday.

The following goalies have been confirmed for Saturday (Goalie Post): Martin Brodeur, NJ; Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT; Nikolai Khabibulin, EDM; Craig Anderson, OTT; James Reimer, TOR; Semyon Varlamov, COL; Brian Elliott, STL; Steve Mason, CBJ.

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Pick Six: Thursday February 9

I’ll kick off the Pick Six for Thursday with a list of confirmed starting goalies, courtesy of Goalie Post: Scott Clemmensen, FLA; Cory Schneider, VAN; Leland Irving, CGY; Johan Hedberg, NJ. The other goalies listed have not been confirmed, but they might be wise starts given recent play and matchups.

Evgeni Nabokov, G, NYI – start
Avoiding Islanders goalies may now officially be a thing of the past. Nabby has won six of his last seven starts, including a 1-0 shootout shutout against the Flyers on Tuesday. The punchless Canadiens could provide an even easier test on Thursday. Keep in mind that his value for the remainder of the season is very difficult to project. The Islanders may decide to trade him to a contender, who may employ him as a backup.

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Pick Six: Tuesday February 7

Can fantasy hockey players learn something from the New York Giants’ Super Bowl victory? Absolutely!

The football Giants were not exactly overwhelming during the regular season, becoming the first 9-7 team to ever win a Super Bowl. The Giants were also the last NFL team to clinch a playoff spot, needing a win in their final game against Dallas to get in. None of that mattered to the Giants, who knocked off opponents who clearly appeared to be better on paper.

In fantasy hockey head-to-head leagues, it doesn’t matter whether you are the first team or the last team to clinch a playoff spot. Some league reward the top two teams with first-round byes so that they face less competition, but after that there is no home field advantage for the team with the better record. Once you get into the fantasy playoffs, then all bets are off. You can never guarantee victory, but you can continually be looking for ways to bolster your team through trades and waiver-wire adds. I prefer the waiver-wire adds myself, since I control the entire transaction and don’t have to negotiate with another owner who could be looking to gain the upper hand in any deal.

Focusing on the here and now, Tuesday features 11 NHL games, which is a typical schedule for what is usually one of the league’s busier nights (Thursday and Saturday are the two other busy nights). We’ll start off with two names that should be gimmes for fantasy teams, but some recent numbers should reinforce why they should be in starting lineups.

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Pick Six: Saturday February 4

If a player can accomplish the highest single-game point total since 1988, then he should at least be worthy of mention in this little blog.

On Thursday, Sam Gagner shocked the hockey world with an eight, count ‘em, 8-point game against the Blackhawks. Suddenly Sam finds his name alongside two other names that probably ring a bell – Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey – in the Oilers’ record book. If he happened to be in your lineup, go buy yourself a lottery ticket. If he happened to be on your bench or you “almost” picked him up from the waiver wire, hopefully you had a box of tissues nearby.

Yet Gagner has slowly trickled down the Oilers’ depth chart in recent seasons, as the Oil has drafted clone-type forwards in Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Gagner had even been pushed down to the third line, often playing less than 15 minutes per game. Slowly he had turned into the forgotten man in the rebuilding effort - but not anymore.

I’ll return to Gagner in a moment as one of my Pick Six players for Saturday, but first here’s what you need to know for this weekend as you plan your lineup.

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Pick Six: Tuesday January 31

After a five-day layoff, it’s back to fantasy hockey mode on Tuesday. All teams are back in action, with the exception of Dallas, Florida, Los Angeles, and St. Louis. With the other side of the All-Star break signaling the stretch run, roster decisions become that more important for fantasy teams who have an eye toward a league championship.

Here is your Pick Six for Tuesday, the last day in January:

Brendan Morrison, C, CHI – add/start
Even with Jonathan Toews set to return to the Blackhawks’ lineup for Tuesday’s showdown with Vancouver (ESPN), new acquisition Mo could see top-6 minutes against his former team. He recorded only 11 points in 28 games this season for Calgary, but trades more often than not increase a player’s short-term value. Morrison is expected to center the Hawks’ second line alongside returning All-Star Marian Hossa. If you have the roster space in a deep league, he’s worth a flier.

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About The Goods on Fantasy Hockey

My name is Ian Gooding, and this is The Goods on Fantasy Hockey. Given my ability to understand numbers, write sentences, and follow hockey, it’s not a surprise to those who know me that I became a fantasy hockey writer. I started writing about fantasy hockey in 2006 for fantasyhockey.com and became the site’s content editor in 2007. Looking to expand my audience, I joined Kukla’s Korner in the summer of 2011 to create the site’s first fantasy hockey blog.

A few times each week, I’ll provide an article called “Pick Six” where I will write about six players that should either be in your fantasy team’s starting lineup or bench for the upcoming game. As well, I’ll provide the fantasy takes on important hockey developments. You can also email me your questions or comments to gooding74@shaw.ca, or follow me on Twitter.

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