So we’ve finally hacked and slashed our way through the forest of fantasy hockey and found a clearing to rest in. We’re in for a break from all of this, and whether or not you’re happy about this, it’s here and you can use it. Call your mothers, your siblings, and your LGBT friends. Finish building that cabinet. Finally take your dog to that dog beach he or she loves so much, and then get on one knee and remind yourself that in most parts of this continent, many of us have forgotten how to pronounce the word "beach." Do it all; just don’t get antsy and make a bunch of moves in your pool that you might regret when players actually begin to play back in old North America again. To help, I’ll only offer up a couple of FAs and TTs this week in each depth level, if that. They will be the ones to really consider right now; nothing high-flying or crazy, because, you know, the Olympics could really change a whole lot. Good luck to your homelands.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK:
Troy Brouwer - Was - RW - 43% owned with 14+13=27
Some of you might want to get on my case for this because you don’t count penalty minutes or hits and because there are hype-clad freaks out there like young Nyquist, for example, but Brouwer really is this week’s best all-category Pickup. It’s important to give multi-cat guys the attention they deserve, because sometimes they fall between the cracks of points-centric rubrics. Check this out: in this week’s 3 Washington games, Brouwer netted 3 goals, as well as a +2 rating, 6 PIMs, 10 shots on goal, and 12 hits. That’s what people want from a player like Brouwer, and he has been providing it relatively consistently over the last while. He’s had a few ups and downs this season, but over his last 8 games, Brouwer own 5 goals, 2 assists, a +4, 15 penalty minutes, 2 PPP, 22 shots on goal, and 21 hits. He’s 17th overall in the NHL for hits with 162 and 21st in penalty minutes with 84. I know that doesn’t sound very impressive, but you have to consider that Brouwer also has 27 points, which is not something most PIMs and hits horses can say. And he’s been playing with Marcus Johansson, the 29 assist passer, who will surely help him with goal production. All these points make him a good pickup right now for those in multi-category leagues.
SHALLOW LEAGUE FREE AGENTS and TRADE TARGETS (owned in over 50% of Yahoo! leagues)
Jonathan Bernier - Tor - G - 78% owned with 22 W, 2.55 GAA, and .927 SV%
If you’ve been wondering about the goalie situation in Toronto, Bernier has started 10 of the Leafs’ last 11 games. Moreover, Bernier has won 7 of his last 10 starts, giving the team 11-2-1 in their last 14 games. Bernier now has a .927 SV% on the season and has been enjoying some real offensive support. The Leafs have scored 46 goals in their last 12 games, which averages out to just under 4 goals each game, and given that Bernier’s GAA on the season is 2.55, Bernier is looking like a great goalie to have on your team right now.
Jaden Schwartz - StL - C,LW - 50% owned with 19+23=42
After an unreal bout of production, Jaden Schwartz cooled off for a week or so. This might have caused impatient people to drop him, so I’m saying his name here now because there might be a chance that he’s still available in your league. If he is and you’re not in too shallow of a league, Schwartz might be able to help you with points and +/-. Schwartz has 19 goals and 42 points in 55 games played. He also has a +22 on the season, which ties him for 7th in that category. This might slip a little since he’s no longer on that top line, but St Louis is still a very responsible team defensively, and in his last 9 games, Schwartz has locked down 3 goals and 9 points, and to make things even sweeter, he’s currently on a 4 game point streak, in which he’s clocked 3 goals and 6 points with a +2 rating and 13 shots on goal. It’ll be work for him, but I wouldn’t even be too surprised if the 21 year old hits the 30 goal mark.
MEDIUM-DEPTH FREE AGENTS and TRADE TARGETS (25-50% ownership in Yahoo! leagues)
Gustav Nyquist - Det - C,RW - 32% owned with 14+10=24
I wouldn’t have had a choice but to hold up Gus as this week’s top pickup if his big 4-point game happened a day later. But, unfortunately for him (because he’s been waiting for me to give him that honour, I know), that game was last Sunday, and therefore is out of the picture for this week. That said, if we are to decide upon the PotW based upon the consideration of the best player to pickup, despite what numbers they put up, it would probably be Nyquist now that he’s showing the kind of talent and effort on Detroit’s top line with Henrik Zetterberg that led the Wings to make the decision to keep him in the big leagues. Nyquist has 14 goals and 24 points in just 33 games, and 9 of those goals have come (along with 13 points, a +3 rating, and 30 shots) in his last 10 games. His ownership has spiked, to say the least, with an 18% rise this week alone. If he’s still available in your league, he wont last long, and Gussy looks to be one you’ll want to have for the rest of the season.
Troy Brouwer - Was - RW - 43% owned with 14+13=27
See above ∆ ∆ ∆
Tyson Barrie - Col - D - 29% owned with 7+15=22
Barrie’s name has been on the positive side of Yahoo! transaction trends for a little while now, and it’s near the top today because Barrie registered 3 assists and a +3 rating in Saturday night’s 5-2 victory. He has a +15 on the season, but in his last 8 games, he’s put up a +9, only falling minus in one of those games. That +9 sits beside 2 goals and 6 points, which is pretty snazzy for a defenseman’s 8 game stretch. He won’t get you many hits, which is a nice bonus on the blue line, but Barrie’s been on the back end the Avs’ 2nd PP unit, which also makes use of Rookie Wonder Nathan MacKinnon, who’s been ranked in the top 10 of Yahoo! fantasy rankings over the last week, 14 days, and 30 days alike.
DEEPER LEAGUE FREE AGENTS (25% ownership or less in Yahoo! leagues)
Olli Maatta - Pit - D - 10% owned with 6+17=23
Maatta was a big name a couple of months ago when he was given a real chance at being a part of the 1st place team, but he’s been mostly overlooked until Friday night’s loss to the Rangers in which Olli scored a goal and an assist, a +1, 1PPP, 4 shots, and 1 hit. He’s now been noticed, and his ownership will rise. Mattaa has 6 goals, 23 points, and 92 blocks in 57 games, but also 2 goals and 7 points in his last 9 games. He’s a keeper, obviously, but he’s also looking pretty good in standard leagues right now.
Beau Bennett - Pit - LW,RW - 6% owned with 1+2=3
Young Beau Bennett is slated to return after the Olympics are over with, and there’s a very good chance that he will be placed on Pittsburgh’s top line with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, who will be all fired up after winning a gold medal (yeah, I said it). This is a great opportunity for the young, talented, and dual-eligible winger. A gamble, sure, but with high yield potential.
THE MIDNIGHT SPECIALS (5% ownership or less in Yahoo! leagues)
Drew Stafford - Buf - RW - 4% owned with 10+12=22
I’d think twice about recommending a "who?" player on the Buffalo Sabres, but after missing 4 games with an UBI, Stafford played 3 games to gather 3 goals, 1 assist, a +1 rating, 2 PIMs, and 11 shots. If you include a look a little further back, you’ll notice that Stafford has scored 6 goals and 9 points in his last 7 games played. The 26 year old Stafford usually plays with Steve Ott on the second line, but has moved up to the 1st line with Tyler Ennis since Matt Moulson’s arm took a good whacking. Deep leaguers wait for guys like this.