The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
by Ian Gooding on 02/18/12 at 03:38 AM ET
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.
And remember, you’ll have to look for Jeremy Lin “Linsanity” puns somewhere else. This is a fantasy hockey blog! (I probably instantly quadrupled the number of hits on my article by including his name, though.)
Rick Nash, LW, CBJ - start
As of this week, the most-asked question over the next week and a half will be, “Will Rick Nash be traded?” Nash is deservedly the hottest commodity on the trading block, but his season totals (18 goals, 39 points, -22 in 57 games) resemble good but not great. Nash’s plus/minus alone stands to improve with a trade to, well, anywhere. His goal and assist pace could also improve with a move to the right team, since one (of many) of the Blue Jackets’ problems has been finding linemates with the right chemistry. My feeling is that he will be dealt eventually but not this month, since this kind of trade will need to be carefully planned if GM Scott Howson has any designs on keeping his job.
David Booth, LW, VAN - start
Booth is finding his niche alongside Ryan Kesler on the Canucks’ second line with goals in three consecutive games and points in five of last six games. He has a very healthy 22 points (11g-11a) in 31 games with the Canucks, which makes it somewhat surprising that he is available in over 75 percent of Yahoo leagues. Booth’s acquisition could also spell the end for the underachieving Mason Raymond in Vancouver.
Milan Hejduk, RW, COL - bench
Hedjuk was on pace for yet another 30-goal season when he was named Avalanche captain in mid-November. Since that time, Hejduk has been allergic to the twine with just six goals in 43 games. The good news is that he has points in three of his last four games and that he has received more than 20 minutes of icetime per game recently. However, at this pace he will be lucky to hit 20 goals, let alone 30, this season.
Mike Richards, C, LA - bench
As far as fantasy leagues go, Richards has been more bust than elite performer this season (28 points in 50 games). Richards’ modest point total has a lot to do with his recent slide, as he has just one goal in his last 23 games and two points in his last 13 games. Richards was counted on to provide the Kings with a wealth of scoring, but the Kings are currently dead last in team scoring (120 goals – an average of two per game). His value could be replenished if the Kings pull the trigger on a Rick Nash deal, since Jarret Stoll and Dustin Penner aren’t getting the job done either.
Ryan Smyth, LW, EDM – bench
After a point-per-game pace in his first two months back in the city that he adores, Smyth has been pushed aside in favor of the youth movement. Captain Canada has a meager two points in his last 19 games while being the subject of trade rumors. Now is a good time to look at other options at the left wing position, unless Smyth’s fantasy value drastically improves with the right deal. But then you’ll have to listen to him tell you how much he will miss Edmonton again.
John-Michael Liles, D, TOR – bench
Since his return from a concussion, Liles has not scored a point with a (-5) in eight games. He is a notoriously streaky player dating back to his days in Colorado, so expect him to pick things up eventually. But he probably isn’t the best option on Saturday playing against a Canucks team that has made steady improvements in the goals-against department as the season has worn on.
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Tags: david+booth, fantasy+hockey, ian+gooding, john-michael+liles, mike+richards, milan+hejduk, pick+six, rick+nash, ryan+smyth, the+goods
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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.