The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
by Ian Gooding on 10/12/11 at 10:00 AM ET
In case you’ve noticed, I’ll admit that I have not had a great record to start. But that will be the case for many committed fantasy owners, whether they read my blog or not.
This seems to be the time of year where fantasy owners are at their most impulsive: assuming that what will happen over two or three games will reflect an entire season. Now is not the time to any sudden moves, since the season is a marathon and not a sprint. Just hang in there and take in my latest offering of the Pick Six.
David Savard, D, CBJ – start
If you’re looking for a defenseman in deep leagues who logs lots of icetime along with power-play minutes, then you might want to look into the situation in Columbus. Although Savard has not scored a point in three games this season, the 2009 Canadian major junior defenseman of the year logged 20 minutes of icetime on Monday against Vancouver along with first-unit power-play minutes. Although the Blue Jackets seem to be more confident in Savard than they are in Kris Russell right now, any success that Savard has could be fleeting. James Wisniewski has another five games of suspension to serve, meaning that Savard could be demoted upon Wiz’s return.
Jimmy Howard, G, DET – bench
Vancouver/Detroit games are fun to watch because they are track meets and not chess matches. This style of game is perfect for the shooters like the Sedins and Datsyuk and Zetterberg - just not for the goalies. Case in point: Howard, who posted a 2-2 record with a 3.17 GAA and .908 SV% vs. Vancouver last season. However, the Canucks will be playing the second of back-to-back games, so Howard still has a strong probability of earning a win. However, a shutout or anything resembling one seems unlikely here.
Evgeni Malkin, C, PIT – bench
Following ACL/MCL surgery that ended his 2010-11 season early, Malkin had reportedly worked his way back to being 100 percent. Many fantasy owners had taken advantage of Malkin’s original non-first round ranking in Yahoo leagues, pushing him up to be one of the top ten players chosen. However, Malkin did not look dominant in his first game against Vancouver, and he sat during much of the third period of his second game against Calgary. He has now missed two consecutive games with a lower-body injury (supposedly unrelated to his knee injury), and his status for Thursday’s game is up in the air. If you need to plan your lineup ahead of time, you’re probably best to use another option.
Tomas Vokoun, G, WAS – bench
After surprising all by starting Michal Neuvirth for the Capitals’ season opener on Saturday, Bruce Boudreau finally handed Vokoun his first start as a Capital on Monday. Although Vokoun earned the win, he allowed three “zero angle” goals en route to allowing five goals on 26 shots. In fairness, two of those bad goals were allowed in the first period, and Vokoun seemed to improve as the game went on. However, I’d be very surprised if Boudreau gave the nod to Vokoun again for Thursday’s 24/7 rematch with the Penguins. Even if BB did the unthinkable and started Vokoun again, fantasy owners need to see more from Vokoun before feeling confident.
Mike Smith, G, PHX – start
If the first two games are any indication (and usually they’re not), the Coyotes are well on their way to being one of the NHL’s doormats this season. If that’s the case, then it may not necessarily be Smith’s fault. He was only 28 seconds away from a shutout on Monday against Dallas, eventually losing in a shootout. Next on tap will be a trip to Nashville on Thursday against a Predators team that known for lacking scoring depth. In fact, this is the kind of game in which I would play Smith over Vokoun if I happen to own both goalies. I’m not kidding.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, EDM – start/add
In case you haven’t noticed, the “Nuge” is the real deal and will probably stick around past his ten-game trial period. He scored his first NHL goal in his first game Sunday, a game-tying goal in the third period that sparked an eventual shootout win for the Oilers over Pittsburgh. Hopkins also had 17 minutes of icetime with speedsters Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky on the aptly-named 3H Line, a nice line that could work wonders for all three players. Nugent-Hopkins is still available in three-quarters of Yahoo leagues, so there’s no better time to buy. Just don’t rush to add him in leagues that count faceoffs, as he won only 2 of 15 draws on Sunday.
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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.