The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
by Ian Gooding on 10/14/11 at 11:00 AM ET
Even though Sidney Crosby is not one of my Pick Six players for Saturday, the big news of the week has to be his official clearance for contact by the Penguins. If you asked me when he will return, I would have to place the over/under at three weeks. I think he’ll be back in two weeks, but why rush him now when a return is now officially not far off?
Even though Crosby is not on any of my fantasy teams this year, I will be ecstatic to see him return. Most hockey fans will no doubt feel the same way (except for maybe Philadelphia fans, but apparently they don’t like Santa Claus either). Let’s cross our fingers … but until that day comes, let’s concentrate on what’s on the schedule for Saturday, a day in which all but two teams are in action.
Roberto Luongo, G, VAN – start
Is there a more polarizing player in the NHL right now than Luongo? No doubt fed by the media and the legions of other team’s fans who hate the Canucks (as well as a few playoff catastrophes), many Canucks fans are now calling for the Canucks to make Cory Schneider the starting goalie. Those emotions are likely forcing Luongo owners to second-guess his fantasy value after he allowed eight goals over two games. Step away from the ledge, though. Luongo is still one of the top fantasy goalies around, even if he and Schneider have alternated starts in the first four games. Lu is also a notoriously slow starter, as he has never recorded a goals-against average of below 2.79 in October dating back to 2007. We know he has rebounded in the past, so there’s no need to panic. If your league’s Luongo owner wants to sell, try to nab him for less than he’s worth. And for heaven’s sake, start him against Edmonton on Saturday.
Johan Hedberg, G, NJ – add/start
Uh oh, Martin Brodeur owners. The 39-year-old goalie left Thursday’s game after the first period with what is being called a “minor shoulder injury.” The injury may be minor, but the Devils know that it’s probably not worth their while to rush back a 39-year-old goalie. Enter the Devils’ 38-year-old backup, who played very well when called upon last season. The Devils play their first road game on Saturday in Nashville, a team not known for scoring. If you’re not happy with your team’s current goaltending options, you might want to become the first in your league to get to Johan.
Craig Anderson, G, OTT – bench
Cover your eyes if you’re an Anderson owner, because you’re not going to like what you’re about to read. With his seven goals allowed on Thursday against his former Colorado mates, Anderson has allowed an awful 19 goals in just four games. I’ve mentioned before that Anderson can handle a high number of shots, but the Senators team in front of him looks like it will win the draft lottery and not much else this year. It doesn’t get any easier on Saturday, when the Sens face the Washington Capitals. Anderson simply can’t be trusted enough right now.
Milan Michalek, LW/RW, OTT – start
There is one silver lining in this otherwise dreadful Ottawa season thus far. Michalek, a onetime standout with the San Jose Sharks, has scored three goals and has points in all four games this season. I haven’t been big on Michalek since he moved to Ottawa, but someone has to do the scoring there, especially since Nikita Filatov was recently sent to the AHL (hopefully you picked up on my sarcasm). Michalek is a decent play as a second LW or RW for fantasy teams at this moment. I can picture him keeping the streak alive by recording a point or two in garbage time on Saturday against Washington.
Tim Connolly, C, TOR – drop
Different season, different uniform, same story. Connolly has told Toronto reporters that his upper-body injury is a little more than day-to-day. If healthy, Connolly would have been able to take advantage of being the Leafs’ first-line center alongside Phil Kessel. Instead, one of the league’s most injured players post-lockout (he was actually an ironman pre-lockout) is just taking up space on fantasy rosters. Leave him on IR if you have the room, but don’t waste your time otherwise.
Sean Couturier, C, PHI – add
Like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, this is a deep league recommendation for a high first-round pick with tremendous upside. Flyers fans are already puzzled as to why Couturier fell to the eighth slot in the draft. During Wednesday’s game against Vancouver, Couturier logged 17:45 of icetime, most notably helping to kill the five penalties that the Flyers drew in the third period. I don’t normally chase shorthanded points, but it was interesting to see an 18-year-old spend over seven minutes on the penalty kill as well as take key faceoffs. The penalty minutes and the faceoffs alone tell me that he is another rookie who is here to stay, meaning that he needs to see his ownership rise above 2 percent (Yahoo leagues).
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Tags: craig+anderson, fantasy+hockey, ian+gooding, johan+hedberg, milan+michalek, pick+six, roberto+luongo, sean+couturier, the+goods, tim+connolly
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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.