Fantasy Hockey ONE (2/18)





Sometimes a goal is really not a goal.  Anaheim had celebrated like they had a goal.  Ryan Getzlaf fans at first sure thought they had a game winner.  Referee Tim Peel almost presumed that Getzlaf had his stick down on the ice but New Jersey Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov kept his stick off the ice.  Thankfully a coach spotted the kick and sure enough the review had to be done.  Once it was seen on the Jumbotron, there was no doubt.  Goals and assists were going to be taken away fantasy wise right down to the shot on goal.  Sure enough, no goal was ruled and the Devils would eventually win the game in the shootout.  Call this a fantasy lesson learned.




Martin Brodeur, G, New Jersey Devils — It was not just the 36 saves made by Brodeur, it was also the fact that he had to work a little overtime and even in the shootout to earn the victory.  Anaheim was relentless even down 2-0 last night.  Watching that game last night was a lesson in why the Devils need a somewhat physical defenseman with a puck mover.  The one to offset the size advantages teams like the Ducks enjoy and the puck mover to get it the heck out of there so Brodeur does not face so many close chances.  It is those scoring chances and the saves that made Brodeur our Fantasy POTN.  It also did not hurt that he won this game.




Blake Wheeler, RW, Winnipeg Jets — It just seems that Wheeler has had a pretty good season for the Jets.  Wheeler’s three points (1 G 2 A) gave him 42 points on the season.  Projections suggest about a 55 to 60 point season for the forward and that could be a sign of things to come.  Pleaes note his elevated ATOI (Average Time On Ice) was 20:48 last night which is encouraging for fantasy owners.  Those who were calling for another line change were proven wrong as Wheeler set up Bryan Little for two goals.  The Jets are on to something but the question remains can this duo go on a run?

Ryan O’Reilly, C, Colorado Avalanche — O’Reilly really can do a little of everything and it does have some in fantasy circles going Matt Duchene who?  That is right the Center for the Avalanche tallied three assists in the 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers last night.  With 44 points on the year, O’Reilly may very well be on his way to a 60 point year.  This would not have been possible if not for the Duchene injury.  He will be back soon and that is when things will get interesting for fantasy as well as Colorado.



Saturday, February 18, 2012

Teams Notes
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia 1:00 PM | Gameday
Chicago at Columbus 1:00 PM | Gameday
Minnesota at St. Louis 2:00 PM | Gameday
Carolina at NY Islanders 7:00 PM | Gameday
Washington at Tampa Bay 7:00 PM | Gameday
Toronto at Vancouver 7:00 PM | Gameday
Dallas at Phoenix 8:00 PM | Gameday
Calgary at Los Angeles 10:00 PM | Gameday

We have “The Ocho” as far as amount of games on Saturday.  Now it is time to bring in Ian Gooding and his Pick Six for a very interested fantasy weekend.



Let’s get started with what you need to know fantasy-wise for the weekend:

Teams playing both Saturday and Sunday: Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Vancouver

Teams playing neither Saturday nor Sunday: Ottawa

Goalie starts Saturday, according to Left Wing Lock: Corey Crawford, CHI; Brian Elliott, STL; Cam Ward, CAR; James Reimer, TOR; Roberto Luongo, VAN; Mathieu Garon, TB; Kari Lehtonen, DAL

The emphasis of the weekend Pick Six seems to be on slumping players, which is the situation facing four of the six players listed today.

And remember, you’ll have to look for Jeremy Lin “Linsanity” puns somewhere else. This is a fantasy hockey blog! (I probably instantly quadrupled the number of hits on my article by including his name, though.)

Rick Nash, LW, CBJ – start
As of this week, the most-asked question over the next week and a half will be, “Will Rick Nash be traded?” Nash is deservedly the hottest commodity on the trading block, but his season totals (18 goals, 39 points, -22 in 57 games) resemble good but not great. Nash’s plus/minus alone stands to improve with a trade to, well, anywhere. His goal and assist pace could also improve with a move to the right team, since one (of many) of the Blue Jackets’ problems has been finding linemates with the right chemistry. My feeling is that he will be dealt eventually but not this month, since this kind of trade will need to be carefully planned if GM Scott Howson has any designs on keeping his job.

David Booth, LW, VAN – start
Booth is finding his niche alongside Ryan Kesler on the Canucks’ second line with goals in three consecutive games and points in five of last six games. He has a very healthy 22 points (11g-11a) in 31 games with the Canucks, which makes it somewhat surprising that he is available in over 75 percent of Yahoo leagues. Booth’s acquisition could also spell the end for the underachieving Mason Raymond in Vancouver.

Milan Hejduk, RW, COL – bench
Hedjuk was on pace for yet another 30-goal season when he was named Avalanche captain in mid-November. Since that time, Hejduk has been allergic to the twine with just six goals in 43 games. The good news is that he has points in three of his last four games and that he has received more than 20 minutes of icetime per game recently. However, at this pace he will be lucky to hit 20 goals, let alone 30, this season.

Mike Richards, C, LA – bench
As far as fantasy leagues go, Richards has been more bust than elite performer this season (28 points in 50 games). Richards’ modest point total has a lot to do with his recent slide, as he has just one goal in his last 23 games and two points in his last 13 games. Richards was counted on to provide the Kings with a wealth of scoring, but the Kings are currently dead last in team scoring (120 goals – an average of two per game). His value could be replenished if the Kings pull the trigger on a Rick Nash deal, since Jarret Stoll and Dustin Penner aren’t getting the job done either.

Ryan Smyth, LW, EDM – bench
After a point-per-game pace in his first two months back in the city that he adores, Smyth has been pushed aside in favor of the youth movement. Captain Canada has a meager two points in his last 19 games while being the subject of trade rumors. Now is a good time to look at other options at the left wing position, unless Smyth’s fantasy value drastically improves with the right deal. But then you’ll have to listen to him tell you how much he will miss Edmonton again.

John-Michael Liles, D, TOR – bench
Since his return from a concussion, Liles has not scored a point with a (-5) in eight games. He is a notoriously streaky player dating back to his days in Colorado, so expect him to pick things up eventually. But he probably isn’t the best option on Saturday playing against a Canucks team that has made steady improvements in the goals-against department as the season has worn on.


Trade Deadline Musings:

It just seems a little strange that we may hit a calm period in the trade deadline.  Rick Nash does have a double audition this weekend as Columbus plays twice.  Minnesota and Dallas also play twice this weekend and they are two teams who could potentially become sellers or teams that make lateral moves at the very least.  Think of this realistically, the Hal Gill move did at least open things up a bit.  While this still does not have the makings of a blockbuster trade deadline, the chatter sure feels like it, doesn’t it?

There may be a few more minor deals in the coming days and then a calm into next weekend when the chatter rises to a fever pitch.  It always does and then before you know it, February 27th will be here.  Then we really will see what the chatter actually brings and then we can assess the fantasy impacts.  As fantasy meshes with reality, fantasy trade deadlines are happening now so bear with us as we sort of fact from myth.


Good luck today with your fantasy leagues and remember again to try Daily Joust for your daily fantasy hockey needs.  Thanks for reading and get those lineups in.  There is less than an hour to go.


About Chris Wassel

Simply I am a hockey writer who is a jack of all trades. Whether it is draft, fantasy, NHL, KHL, AHL, etc...I probably can write about it. The challenge in hockey is to be able to step out of your comfort zone and write like you are still there. Hopefully you enjoy the humor in the writing on the site and tell your friends. Thanks for reading!

Fantasy Hockey ONE (2/18)



Welcome to a Friday edition of the Fantasy Hockey ONE here on The Program. Well, it came time for a different way to get your hockey information served for breakfast. This is served differently than most columns out there.  We deliberately want this to be easy to digest so you can get the info and get out so to speak.  The beautiful Kylie Minogue as always shows us the way with her version of “The One”.

Now it is time to get started but first it may be time to look back a bit and see what was cooking yesterday.  Here comes our TGIF edition ladies and gentlemen.

A Look Back

1. Henrik Lundqvist (NY Rangers) — Congrats to King Henrik on his 200th win and yes he gutted it out and did give up a questionable goal or two but he came up clutch when it counted in the shootout.  When you look at it this way, a win is a win but this one was big for Lundqvist owners because of some of his recent struggles.  Maybe it will be a springboard perhaps.

2. Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings) — Two goals for the guy with the amazing moves definitely helped fantasy teams last night.  Pavel Datsyuk tends to score the goal no one expects and in a game where atmosphhere was everything (right down to the octopus in Tampa), it was a big night for the Russian Forward.  The 6-2 win was a statement win for the Red Wings.

3. Nikolai Khabibulin (Edmonton OIlers) — He is an enigma wrapped up in a riddle but Khabibulin did make 36 saves in the 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens.  One has the feeling of frustration when dealing with the Edmonton Oilers fantasy wise.  The exasperation faded on this night as Ales Hemsky scored twice and Khabibulin looked like the goalie Edmonton expected to get when they signed him to that 4 year, 15 million dollar contract.  If only Edmonton was more consistent, more of their players would be fantasy viable but if you owned “The Bulin Wall”, you were well rewarded.

Schedule Time


Teams Notes
NY Rangers at New Jersey 7:00 PM 
St. Louis at Buffalo 7:30 PM 
Boston at Ottawa 7:30 PM 
Detroit at Florida 7:30 PM 
Philadelphia at Carolina 8:00 PM 
Anaheim at Minnesota 8:00 PM 
Columbus at Chicago 8:30 PM 

The schedule features seven games including a nice tilt between those wonderful cross town rivals, the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers.  That just sounds like so much fun but do not worry there is also an intriguing barnburner between Anaheim and Minnesota or a game between Detroit and Florida where you have no clue what to expect fantasy wise.  Even on nights like this, fantasy impacts can be plenty and forceful.  Of course it is TGIF!


The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils are our fantasy game of the night.  It was an obvious one from the get go and there are some storylines that are uite noticeable.  Right now we expect the goalies to be Johan Hedberg and Henrik Lundqvist, unless something changes. Lundqvist has had plenty of rest and Martin Brodeur may be back on Saturday but that is still 50-50 at best.  Back to the matter at hand, the Devils beat the Rangers last time these two met 3-2 as the Devils chased Lundqvist early in the second period.  New Jersey is 13-1-2 in their last 16 games and comes off a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.  The New York Rangers come off a 4-3 SO win over the Los Angeles Kings.

This game will be played at the Prudential Center which has been a lot more kind to the Devils than it was early in the season.  A win over the Rangers would give New Jersey an over .500 record at home for the first time all year.  Suddenly this team has become very fantasy relevant with guys like Patrik Elias, Brian Rolston, Johan Hedberg, and Ilya Kovalchuk leading the way.

The New York Rangers finally got a bit of a spark from their enigmatic superstar Marian Gaborik. Gaborik scored a goal and look more engaged in the third period than I had seen in a few weeks.  That was his first goal in eight games and really if the Rangers want to make the playoffs, #10 has to start scoring more consistently.  Yes Henrik Lundqvist can put up amazing numbers and the Callahan/Dubinsky dup can do all it can do but this team needs a resurgent Gaborik to lead the way. Too many times this season, Gaborik has looked like a spectator as opposed to the $7.5 million sniper that he is.

Suddenly Ilya Kovalchuk and company in New Jersey are having fun again and although, there have been many anxious moments, the Devils finally get it.  As a result, those who did not give up on these fantasy investments have been pleasantly rewarded.  Even Martin Brodeur was 7-1-1 with a sub 2.00 GAA before he sprained his MCL.  

The Rangers fourth line could be key to this game.  If you have Brian Boyle, you should be more than commended.  His 19 goals include stellar games every time out against New Jersey.  The size and forward momentum of the Forwards tends to cause the Devils defense a ton of fits.  Expect no differnt in this game and that could actually be the catalyst for both teams.  Anton Volchenkov will be back for New Jersey so that may negate some of the impact but Boyle pushes the scale over 250. It is hard to stop a guy like that when he gets going and that is why he is my Fantasy Key To The Game.

What is going to happen in this one?  Both teams need the two points and so many good fantasy storylines here.  This one is tough to call but I have New Jersey eeking this one out 3-2 with another clutch performance by Ilya Kovalchuk but the goalies will steal the show even if the fantasy numbers do not necessarily show it.  It will be a good one and even Marian Gaborik will make an impact in this one.


1. Ryan Miller (Buffalo) — The reality is Miller has to carry this team into the playoffs.  There is no retreat and no surrender.  Numbers have been ugly to a point for Miller who has been 3-2-1 but he gave up 7 to the Islanders at home on just 26 shots.  Also, the inconsistency that rarely reared its ugly head has done so this year.  The 3.19 GAA and .897 save percentage just are not Miller like at all.  It seems like forever since he had a shutout but St. Louis comes into town beaten and bruised.  That may be a perfect recipe for Miller to get on a roll again.

2. Johan Hedberg (New Jersey) — It may be interesting, exciting, and nerve wracking but Hedberg somehow finds a way lately to get the job done.  He was increidbly calm and cool in a third period against Carolina where 14 shots were fired at him and yes two pucks went in but the second one went off bodies in the closing seconds so that gets a pass.  The team and crowd have gotten behind the guy and has been NOW the backup goalie everyone expected to spell Martin Brodeur and then some.

3. Eric Staal (Carolina) — On a night where they retire Rod Brind’amour’s number in Carolina, this would be a perfect night for Staal to steal the show.  He has some solid games in his career against Philadelphia and the reality is Brindy and Staal did not see eye to eye.  This is one upmanship at its finest and a night made for the Captain to excel.  Expect a patented multi point night for Eric Staal and surely a much needed one for fantasy owners out there.


1. Mikko Koivu (Minnesota) — The 6.75 million dollar guy in Wild country has been a bust all month at home.  No points at home and no goals at all in abou a month have driven the fantasy natives restless.  Anaheim plays a style that often confounds and they added pest Jarkko Ruutu to the mix who will surely cover this Koivu’s every move.  That should be enough to make it a very long night for this very talented player.

2. Ottawa goalies — There is a level of uglyness that has not been seen since New York Islanders goaltending.  Just ask their team how they feel about Nate Lawson and Al Montoya.  Clearly Brian Elliott and whomever else Ottawa brings up (not named Pascal Leclaire) cannot do the job at all. Yes Boston comes off a road win on Long Island but no matter what, Boston should be able to score some goals on a team who clearly is still being blown up and does not care what happens.  Avoid Ottawa fantasy wise almost at all costs, especially their goaltending.

3. Mike Richards (Philadelphia) — On Rod The Bod night in Carolina, Richards may have a very long night.  Throw out the numbers for a second but usually retirement nights like this affect the opposing team’s Captain.  There is no real tangible scientific data on this but the several times I have seen a Captain’s number raised to the rafters, the opposing team’s C was pretty well shut down.  It will be interesting to see if it plays out but I expect Carolina to come out like a house of fire but Mike Richards not to for the Flyers.


The ONE will keep it rocking every morning on The Program. We want people to keep asking the tough fantasy questions and yes Twitter will be used along with the blog to answer any and all of the craziest and profound nuts and bolts information out there. The goal is the game and that is to make sure you have the information you actually need to gauge out your fantasy hockey night.  Good luck and the weekend is coming fast enough.

And of course a happy TGIF to everyone…….. 

About Chris Wassel

Simply I am a hockey writer who is a jack of all trades. Whether it is draft, fantasy, NHL, KHL, AHL, etc...I probably can write about it. The challenge in hockey is to be able to step out of your comfort zone and write like you are still there. Hopefully you enjoy the humor in the writing on the site and tell your friends. Thanks for reading!