I’m new in these parts and I forgot to introduce myself in last week’s post. I think that might have only been because I decided to advise you all to grab Sergei Gonchar after only a few good games played by him this season, and I was unknowingly protecting myself, maybe. I was a little worried about it, especially after I took a jab from a fellow FHSer, until a few days later when NHL.com released an article that revealed the fact that Gonchar almost always starts slow after joining a new team, and that he should be picked up now that he has probably broken out of his predictable, slumpy start. So I was all like, yeah I knew that (I didn’t), and everything was moving along until Gonchar took a puck to the face Saturday night. I’m really pulling for the guy, and I hope he’s good to go for Monday’s game. Really.
But then again. . . if he misses a couple of games, his stats will remain frozen as promising and if he is to prove me wrong, he can’t just yet. I can still give a little jab back.
Don’t look at me like that. We all know too well how Fantasy Sports can weirdly and grossly blend what someone wants in that world with what they want in real life for these real, living people. Even if it’s only a passing mental fist pump when your opponent in the last round of the playoffs loses his best goalie to injury. You know, that lapse before you remember that that’s a real dude with a life and everything, which, all things considered, is only a minor offense of this kind. You know what I’m talking about. We can all be creeps sometimes.
So, uh, hey! My name’s Mike, except on here it’s seagulll, and I’ll be the one offering you up some Free Agents and Trade Targets for the next few Sundays. (Get well, Gonchar.)
PICKUP OF THE WEEK:
Chris Stewart - StL - 53% owned in Yahoo! leagues with 13+8=21
The Blues played 4 games this week, and in those 4 games Chris Stewart collected 6 goals and 7 points, which includes his stunning hat trick (plus one assist) in Saturday night's romp in Edmonton. These points paired nicely with his +5 rating on the week. In his last 6 games, this sometimes Goal Guy, sometimes Bruiser has 8 goals, 2 assists, a +9 rating, a fighting major, and 11 shots. He’s already owned in over half of Yahoo! leagues, but before this week he wasn’t, and those people who were able to nab him at the onset of his hot streak probably look like better versions of themselves in the eyes of those who dropped him when he ran cold. On that note, this section is called Pickup of the Week, not Pickup up the Month, or Season, and all human history up to this point suggests that he won’t keep up this unreal pace (Stewart, pointless in October, is one of the most notorious streakers in the NHL). But hey, we’ve been wrong before. Just ask the landfill wholly dedicated to Furbies. It’ll tell you.
SHALLOW LEAGUE FREE AGENTS and TRADE TARGETS (owned in >50% in Yahoo! leagues)
Chris Stewart - StL - 53% owned with 13+8=21
See above. Get him while he’s (still) hot.
Jaromir Jagr - NJ - RW - 71% owned with 13+20=33
Jags is playing so well you’d swear his hair had grown out! Not quite, but the new Devil has amassed a very respectable 33 points in 37 games, which becomes even more impressive when you consider the offensive struggles of the club earlier this season. Fortunately, things have picked up. Jagr has 2 goals and 11 points in the last 7 games, and hasn’t been held pointless once in that stretch. He’s no young gun anymore, and so there is a risk of him slowing down later in the season, but he should be grabbed right now, if possible. If you’re in a deep league and there’s no way Jagr is out there, try Travis Zajac, who centers Jagr and Zubrus and has a nice 7 in his last 7.
Matt Niskanen - Pit - D - 60% owned with 3+14=17
Niskanen is a +20 rated player, which is a shit-eating grin on the face of owners in leagues that count +/-. Matty Boy has found 3 points in his last 3 games and fires a good number of pucks at the net, suggesting that he might be one to pick up while he’s still hung out on a lot of leagues’ wires. He also makes appearances on the Pens’ top power play unit and should continue to while Letang is out.
Jakub Voracek - Phi - RW - 73% owned with 9+14=23
I touted this guy last week, as well, but he still hasn’t stopped producing. With 17 points in his last 19 games, Voracek is looking real, real good out there. His ownership has climbed 8% in the last week. Grab him.
Evgeni Malkin - Pit - C,RW - 100% with 9+32=41
41 points in 32 games! I don’t get the people who try and claim that he’s just not that good. Like, what’s up? Maybe one of these people own Geno in your league, or maybe whoever does roster him is starting to get antsy looking at that old red DTD tag Malkin has been wearing lately. This might be the only time you’ll be able to pry him away. It didn’t work for me, but I thought I’d put the idea out there.
Chris Kunitz - Pit - LW - 97% owned with 20-19=39
And can we just take a moment here and agree that the remaining 3% of leagues must consist of people who were all put in jail, or something?
MEDIUM-DEPTH FREE AGENTS and TRADE TARGETS (25-50% ownership in Yahoo! leagues)
Antti Raanta - Chi - G - 47% owned with 7W, 2.22 GAA, and .920 SV%
With all of the injuries to goalies all around the league, you’d think Raanta would be owned in more leagues. He only has the best setup a goalie could ask for. This is good news, though, because it means you might still be able to fill out your G-bench with him. By now, his short-term value has proven and it looks like Crawford will be out for at least another week or two longer.
Derek Roy - StL - C - 30% owned with 8+19=27
Roy has become a consistent producer after his sluggish start to the season. He’s managed 13 points in his last 12 games, although his peripherals aren’t anything to brag to your mom about (+3, 22PIMs, a puny 6 hits, and 65 shots on goal). Like I said, though, his game has improved over the last while and could be a good add in many leagues.
Valtteri Filpula - TB - C,LW - 42% owned with 12+14=26
Filpula’s stats aren’t overly impressive on first glance (26 points in 36 games with only 8 PIMs and 63 shots), but it should be noted that 6 of his points have come in the last 4 games. During that time, he also brought a downward-spiraling +/- back above water with a +6 rating (+2 on the season). If you have a hole, you could take the chance on him possibly becoming more consistent again after breaking a colder stretch (only 1 goal in 7 games). That dual eligibility is a good colour on him, too.
Troy Brouwer - Was - RW - 41% owned with 7+8=15
I’d argue that Brouwer belongs to the same class of players as Steve Downie, and with Downie out with an UBI for a week or so, Brouwer could be a great add in a league that values PIMs and hits (52 and 103 on the season, respectively). This to go along with 15 points (10 on the power play) in 36 games and, more importantly, 4 points (2 PPP) in his last 3.
Steve Downie - Phi - LW,RW - 39% owned with 3+16=19
Or you might now have the opportunity to pick Downie up off the wire in your league. His ownership has been falling since he was put on the IR, but if you have a dedicated (and empty) slot for that, and if you count PIMs, then he could prove to be a good add. He has been playing pretty well with Matt Read and Sean Couturier, but Downie owners have been waiting patiently for him to regain some of that PIMs-monster form that has been more or less MIA since the concussion he suffered earlier in the season. He has 67 in his 31 game season, and that combined with 19 points is nothing to complain about in many leagues. Still, we all know what he is truly capable of.
DEEPER LEAGUE FREE AGENTS (<25% ownership in Yahoo! leagues)
Mark Scheifele - Wpg - C - 9% owned with 6+11=17
Scheifele was sparked by something about a week and a half ago, and he has been burning hot since, scoring 3 goals and 7 points in 5 games, really putting together a case for our Pickup of the Week section. However, it’s important to note that these 5 games were against Florida, Buffalo, Columbus, Dallas, and Colorado, as well as the fact that his peripherals could be better (6 PIMs, 2 PPP, 50 SOG, 34 hits on the season). Regardless, the 2011 7th overall pick is worth a pickup in deeper leagues as long as he keeps putting up stellar performances with linemates Evander Kane and Michael Frolik.
Chris Higgins - Van - LW - 23% owned with 11+11=22
The Healthy Kesler, Higgins, Santorelli (last week’s Pickup of the Week) line has been awesome. As long as Kesler remains Healthy Kesler, Eight Points in Eight Games Higgins is worth picking up deepish leagues.
Olli Maatta - Pit - D - 7% owned with 3+8=11
Fantasy players like to own top-4 Pittsburgh defenders, and I don’t blame them. So when a young feller like Maatta rises through a pile of injured blueliners and enjoys a juggernight (right? sorry) like he did on Thursday (1G, 1A, +3, 2PIMs, 4SOG), people take notice. In deeper leagues, you can either take a chance on him or watch someone else take a chance on him. You should also know that he has 2 goals and 7 points in the last 10 games.
Tyson Barrie - Col - 20% owned with 2+5=7
Barrie let a lot of deepish league drafters down, but he might be primed to make it up to them or those willing to gamble on him. Barrie only has 7 points in 21 games, but 4 of them (2 goals, 2 assists) have come in the last 4 games (1 point each game). Talk about micro-sample consistency, right? To add to that, in these 4 games, Barrie has 8 PIMs and 6 hits. Oh, and 3 of those points came on the man-advantage, which he is seemingly quarterbacking at the moment. He might be worth another shot, deepies.
THE 1% SPECIALS (1%ish owned in Yahoo! leagues)
Michael Raffl - Phi - LW - 2% owned with 2+7=9
Raffl is playing on the Flyers’ top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek (see above for how I feel about the latter). If you have a disposable LWer, he could be worth a grab. At only 2% ownership, people must be waiting for him to have a really good night or something, one that isn’t last Sunday’s 3 assist +2, 2 PIMs outing. That one was practice. Just be prepared to drop him if he gets bumped back down.
Kyle Palmieri - Anh - C,RW - 3% owned with 6+7=13
Speaking of top lines, Kyle Palmieri was spotted flying with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on Saturday night while Dustin Penner watched from the stands. Not only that, but he scored a goal and added an assist while up there. This is the second game in a row that Palmieri has done that for the scoresheet, which makes for 4 points in 2 games, not to mention a +5 rating. He also threw 9 shots at the net over those two games, so he’s clearly working hard. If this line remains intact, the 2009 first round pick should be snapped up. We all remember what happened to Dustin Penner’s stats after he landed that gig.
Dwight King - LA - LW - 3% owned with 10+7=17
This old top line thing again? Dwight King is playing with Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter, which should encourage him to keep on keeping on with the whole scoring points thing. King has pulled together 3 goals and 3 assists for 6 points in his last 5 games. With his promotion, King of Kings (?) is edging into fantasy relevance.