The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
by Ian Gooding on 11/15/11 at 03:21 AM ET
For the next Pick Six, I’m doing what the NHL Board of Governors do in changing the rules a little (will hits on goalies outside the crease be the next item on the agenda?) I realize that fantasy owners need to make roster decisions on both busy and non-busy nights; plus, some of the players I’d like to mention happen to play on the non-busy nights. So I’ve listed the player, recommendation, and day of next game for this version of the Pick Six. Hopefully my roster recommendations help you regardless.
By the way, my next Pick Six will be for Saturday, as I’ll be attending the Canucks/Blackhawks game on Wednesday night (my usual writing time for Thursday articles). I’m looking forward to the fierce battle in what might be the league’s most intense rivalry right now. Feel free to debate that point with me below.
Derek Stepan, C, NYR – add/start Tuesday
Stepan recorded a hat trick in his first NHL game last season, then virtually disappeared from fantasy relevance. However, his recent play (nine points and a +8 over his last seven games) might go a long way in proving that he is more than a one-hit wonder. Having Marian Gaborik as his right wing can’t hurt Stepan’s production either, although a Stepan slump will probably mean that he would trade places with Brad Richards.
Milan Hejduk, RW, COL – start Tuesday
Hejduk was named the Avalanche’s captain on Monday, but that is hardly his only recent accomplishment. The new captain has scored goals in three consecutive games and has five points over that span. The Avs play four times this week, so Hejduk could be one of your most noticeable players on the scoresheet this week.
Semyon Varlamov, G, COL – bench Tuesday
One Av to start; another Av to sit. After being pulled in the second period against Detroit on Tuesday, Varlamov looked shaky against Calgary on Saturday, allowing four goals in the first period and a half. Varlamov’s numbers in November are abysmal (0-4-1, 4.26 GAA, .835 SV%), so you won’t want him in on Tuesday when the Avs face one of the top teams in the NHL: the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Kurtis Foster, D, ANA – add/start Wednesday
It’s time to add Foster to the people on your fantasy team. Okay, that was a lousy pop culture reference, but Foster could be the player that should benefit the most from the recent Lubomir Visnovsky injury. The offseason acquisition from Edmonton played in only his fourth game on Sunday, playing 15 minutes while not recording a point. These numbers aren’t fantastic, but the good news is that he received some power-play time. Fantasy teams that carry 5+ defensemen could consider the one-time 40-point scorer as a speculative add.
Jannik Hansen, RW, VAN – add/start Wednesday
What would you consider a player’s fantasy value to be if I told you that he is playing alongside the last two Art Ross Trophy winners? Alex Burrows’ recent injury allowed the Canucks to experiment with Hansen alongside the twins, and he didn’t look so bad in the role. Even when Burrows returned on Friday, Hansen still scored two goals that were assisted by Daniel. As the Canucks attempt to find their way after a long and disappointing end to last season, don’t be surprised if Hansen is back in that role – at least part-time. If nothing else, the recent play could mean more time on the scoring lines for the Great Dane.
Cam Ward, G, CAR – bench Wednesday
Ward was a godsend for fantasy teams that counted saves last season, but his numbers this season are hurting. Ward’s November goals-against average is well over 4.00, with him being pulled in the second period against Philadelphia on Monday in his most recent effort (four goals on 17 shots). Wednesday’s test against the Canadiens might be a little easier, but sometimes it’s easier still to bench a goalie until he and his defense show signs of turning things around.
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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.