The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
by Ian Gooding on 10/07/11 at 10:00 AM ET
Saturday has been hockey night for all of us as long as we can remember. So it seems fitting that this Saturday represents the first busy day of the season. Busier days mean that roster decisions become that more important – something you’ll attest to if you’ve ever seen a player rack up a huge statline while sitting on your bench. My job will be to try to help you avoid that embarrassment and to exploit the possible matchups that may be out there.
Cue the Hockey Night in Canada theme… here’s the Pick Six for Saturday. There’s lots to choose from, but these six players from my various fantasy hockey rosters seemed to catch my attention.
Craig Anderson, G, OTT – start
In Anderson’s first game as Senator last season, he kicked aside 47 shots for a shutout against the provincial rival Leafs. Wouldn’t you know it: he happens to face the Leafs again on Saturday. It is worth mentioning that in his other game against Toronto last season, he allowed four goals. However, the Leafs have injuries on the forward lines to Nazem Kadri and Tim Connolly, and Clarke MacArthur is suspended (and a win on opening night does not a championship team make). Anderson will face a ton of shots this season in Ottawa, but that’s something he’s already used to from his days in Florida and Colorado.
Cam Ward, G, CAR – start
Don’t expect Ward to post the win in Washington. However, keep in mind that he was one of the more successful goalies against the Capitals last season with a 2.16 GAA and sparkling .935 SV% in five games. Ward led the NHL with 2191 saves last season, and he could very well get an early start on that number on Saturday. Who was the leader in saves the previous season, you ask? The above-mentioned Anderson.
Matt Carle, D, PHI – start
This is another example of exploiting a matchup. Carle has scored 8 points (2g-6a) with a +4 in his last 12 games against New Jersey over the past two seasons. Carle had probably the most top-heavy goals/assists ratio last season, scoring 1 goal with 39 assists with a +30. Don’t be surprised to see Carle post another 2 or 3 helpers against Martin Brodeur and the Devils on Saturday.
Cody Franson, D, TOR – bench
Franson looked like a solid preseason sleeper to me. He was a top-4 d-man in on a strong defensive squad in Nashville last season, also earning some second-unit power-play time. For whatever reason, the Preds traded him to the Leafs, who have him listed as a… seventh defenseman? Franson was a healthy scratch on Thursday, a game in which the Leafs coasted to a 3-0 victory. With that result, don’t expect any changes on defense for Saturday. I still have a feeling that he will catch his break this year, though.
Vinny Prospal, LW, CBJ – start
I referred to Prospal a last-round “throwaway” pick in one of my drafts this week – I needed a left wing and pickings were, as expected, very thin. To my surprise, I then discovered that he will start the season on the Jackets’ top line with Rick Nash and Jeff Carter. Prospal has been productive in the past with high-scoring linemates (case in point Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis in Tampa), so he might not be such a bad late-round sleeper to get a hold of.
Mike Knuble, RW, WAS – bench
Like Prospal, Knuble is also a good pickup, since he is rumored to be starting the season on the Caps’ top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. However, a bad matchup against Cam Ward and Carolina is looming. Over the past three seasons, Knuble is goalless in 14 games against the Canes. I like Knuble’s chances to rack up some quick goals early on, but I don’t like his chances a whole lot in this particular game.
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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.