The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
by Ian Gooding on 03/20/13 at 12:12 AM ET
In an abbreviated season, there were bound to be even more players than normal that would be performing well beyond their preseason projections. Some of these players may be available in your league, although this is more of an assessment of whether these players will continue a pace that is simply out of their minds, as well as a comparison with other noteworthy players. Just like an all-star team, I’ve selected a goalie, two defensemen, and three forwards.
Sergei Bobrovsky, G, CBJ
Don’t look now, but the supposedly lowly Blue Jackets are the current version of the first-half Blackhawks, having gone without a regulation loss in 11 games and counting. The number one reason for that unexpected run of success is Bob, who could be found in the leftovers pile in the late rounds of fantasy drafts. But here’s a case for not getting involved in a goalie run:
Bobrovsky: 10-6-5, 2.05 GAA, .931 SV%, 2 SO
Jonathan Quick: 10-8-2, 2.56 GAA, .896 SV%, 1 SO
Gravity will eventually force the Jackets back down to earth, which will affect Bobrovsky’s numbers. But at least your friends won’t laugh at you for starting a Blue Jackets goalie - at least for the rest of the season, anyway.
Jake Muzzin, D, LA
Speaking of comparisons, here’s another one (as of the second period of Tuesday’s game):
Muzzin: 6 G, 7 A, 13 PTS, +15, 5 PPP
Drew Doughty: 1 G, 11A, 12 PTS, +1, 5 PPP
There isn’t a marked difference in the point totals, but it is worth mentioning that Doughty finally scored his first goal of the season on Tuesday and Muzzin probably doesn’t have the onerous task of facing opposing teams’ top lines. However, it’s always interesting to see these scenarios unfold. Muzzin is certainly worth an add, since he’s still available in over half of Yahoo leagues. These numbers could also be an indication of how overrated Doughty is in fantasy right now, in spite of his many abilities.
Patrick Wiercioch, D, OTT
You couldn’t be blamed if you had never heard of Wiercioch prior to this season, let alone pronounce his name. However, the Erik Karlsson injury has created real opportunity for the rookie defenseman. A comparison to the aforementioned Norris Trophy winner wouldn’t make sense here, considering that Karlsson usually logs a lot more minutes than Wiercioch has (never more than 19 minutes per game this season). Three assists on Tuesday against the Islanders, along with 14 points in 26 games this season should grab your attention though. With Karlsson out for the season, expect Wiercioch to log increased minutes as the season goes on, which should only mean steady offensive totals going forward.
Chris Kunitz, LW, PIT
There are probably a very high percentage of fantasy league leaders who employ Kunitz on their roster. After all, the mid-to-late-round pick is tied for second in league scoring with 40 points, only trailing linemate and runaway scoring leader Sidney Crosby. Perhaps an honorable mention is in order to the third member of the Pens’ top line, Pascal Dupuis, who has 14 goals and 21 points of his own. Sid the Kid hasn’t always shared top-drawer numbers with his linemates, but Kunitz (and Dupuis, for that matter) should continue to be must-starts in fantasy as long as Dan Bylsma doesn’t shuffle his lines.
Brad Boyes, C/RW, NYI
Brad Boyes, Brad Boyes, whatcha gonna do… whatcha gonna do when they come for you. Boyes donning an Islanders jersey probably wasn’t your idea of fantasy hockey sleeper, but points in five straight games and 25 points in 29 games has moved him back onto the fantasy radar. The Islanders have him on their radar too, as they have interest in adding him to the list of veterans that they want to sign to extensions (Lubomir Visnovsky and Evgeni Nabokov, for example). Remember that this is Brad Boyes we’re talking about, so a dry spell could be imminent. But if John Tavares can make Matt Moulson into a fantasy star, then he might be able to do the same with Boyes. Just don’t hesitate to drop at the first sign of a slump.
Chris Stewart, RW, STL
Speaking of streakiness, Stewart is at it again. Although he was held without a goal and on the ice for all three Canucks goals on Tuesday, Stewart had piled up five goals and seven points in his previous three games. His 14 goals and 28 points in 29 games is reminiscent of the streak that he went on when he was first acquired from the Blues from the Colorado Avalanche. (I mean, wasn’t that one of the most one-sided deals in recent memory?) Maybe this streak is Stewart proving himself as one of the league’s top power forwards, but I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to sell high on Stewart. After all, he won’t see the light of day from Ken Hitchcock’s doghouse if he manages to pile up a series of bagels on the scoresheet.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter.