Four Games This Week
When two evenly matched fantasy hockey teams square off, having an extra 2 -3 man-games in your favour can make the difference between winning and losing. The following teams play four games this coming week:
Nashville / Phoenix / San Jose / Carolina / Anaheim / Montreal / Philadelphia / Edmonton / Colorado / Calgary
Two Games This Week
While players on these teams should be avoided, I will point out any exceptions to that rule.
Minnesota – exceptional players – none.
Vancouver – exceptional players – anyone named Sedin.
Centers – Mike Fisher – (last 8 – 3G / 4A / +7) – Nashville has quietly enjoyed a great season to date, and they are showing no signs of slowing down. Fisher is an integral part of their attack up front and plays 4 games this week. Patrick Elias – (last 10 – 4G / 7A / +3) – the Devils are one of the hottest teams in the league, and are surprising teams with a potent offense of late. Elias is a consistent producer and is still capable of a dominant week.
Wingers – Blake Wheeler – (last 9 – 6G / 8A / +8) – Wheeler is finally justifying his shocking 5th overall selection in the 2004 draft. His size and speed ratio is rare, and has been on display in the Jets surge towards a playoff spot. Gabriel Landeskog – (last 10 – 4G / 7A / +4) – it is difficult to trust a rookie, but Landeskog has been brilliant this season, and is improving each month. He plays an honest, grinding game with an impressive skill set to cash in on the opportunities he creates.
Defensemen – Tobias Enstrom – (last 9 – 1G / 4A / +7) – he may finally be back to his superb form of the previous two seasons after returning from a broken collarbone. He is controlling the play and is displaying excellent vision and anticipation with the puck. Niklas Kronwall – (last 9 – 2G / 6A / +2) – his reputation for devastating hits is well deserved, but Kronwall is also a crafty offensive defenseman. He is getting more offensive opportunities with the injury to Nicklas Lindstrom.
Goalies – Semyon Varlamov – (5W – 3L / 1.64 GAA / 0.942 SPct) – Varlamov is now running with the number one job in Colorado, and playing like a franchise goalie. Ilya Bryzgalov – (6W – 2L / 2.19 GAA / 0.920 SPct) – with two shutouts and six wins in the last three weeks, Bryzgalov has turned the jeers into cheers in Philly. He looks very confident right now, and may be the hottest goalie in the league.
Centers – Tomas Plekanec – (last 8 – 1G / 2A / -8) – Montreal is struggling team right now, and Plekanec has been exposed as a number two center forced into a number one role. Cody Hodgson – (last 12 – 1G / 0A / -1) – Hodgson is clearly going through an adjustment period with increased ice time, responsibilities and expectations. He could turn it around quickly but should be avoided until he shows some consistent chemistry with his linemates.
Wingers – Ales Hemsky – (last 10 – 1G / 4A / +1) – many eyebrows were raised at the contract Edmonton offered Hemsky, and he hasn’t exactly rewarded his GM since the signing. Ryan Clowe – (last 10 – 2G / 0A / -4) – typically a consistent performer, Clowe has been caught up in the team wide struggles in San Jose.
Defensemen – Dan Boyle – (last 10 – 0G / 4A / -4) – Boyle is usually a safe start, but is also struggling for the Sharks. Avoid using him if you have solid alternatives. Drew Doughty – (last 10 – 3G / 0A / -4) – another name that is hard to see on your bench, Doughty never sustained any long term momentum after missing training camp in a contract dispute.
Goalies – Carey Price – (1W – 6L / 3.29 GAA / 0.892 SPct) – despite an impressive win over the Canucks on Saturday, the Canadiens look disinterested and disheartened at this point, and you shouldn’t count on more than one win per week this season from Price. Cam Ward – (2W – 1L / 3.29 GAA / 0.899 SPct) – Ward is starting to get his game back after a recent injury, but the Canes are still an inconsistent team.