Fantasy Hockey ONE (3/13)


Sometimes we roll out old footage for a reason and last night was just one of those nights up until the Nashville-Phoenix game.  Maybe it was just us but every other game had some excitement but just did not wow us, maybe aside from the Buffalo ending with Tyler Myers scoring the game winner. However, there were a few fantasy standouts from last nignt and we should get started with naturally the Fantasy POTN.



Semyon Varlamov, G, Colorado Avalanche — Varlamov has really been on fire of late for Colorado and its just what Colorado needed at the most crucial time. Okay fantasy hockey fans probably needed it more considering how many still chose to suffer with Varlamov during the dog days of the hockey season.  In a game that featured 73 combined shots and yet only two combined power plays, Semyon Varlamov stood tall stopping 38 of 40 shots, all in regulation.  He kept Colorado in this game and when Gabriel Landeskog scored the game winner, Varlamov had won again. This gave him seven wins in his last nine starts and every start but one he has given up two goals or less.  Tack in two shutouts along the way and Varlamov has been a steal in this critical stretch.



Tyler Ennis, C, Buffalo Sabres — The Sabres never get to overtime without Ennis, who notched two goals and looked every bit like the fantasy upside we had projected for him at the start of the year.  Sure injuries and poor play have ravaged his season but Ennis has looked better of late.  For your stretch run, this could be a guy that may at least merit a look.  There is a very low ownership rate of a guy who has just had one of those years.  Maybe he can at least help your team in this crucial 11th hour, err playoffs.

Martin Erat, RW, Nashville Predators — Something just was in the water last night in Phoenix as goals were coming from all over it seemed in the 5-4 Nashville win.  However, Martin Erat was very good last night with a goal and two assists.  Honestly he could have had a few more points as it was that kind of wide open hockey.  Also the forward is on pace for a 60+ point season including 20+ goals which cannot be a complaint for his owners.  If you add in that he potentially could amass 17-20 power play points, one has the very nice makings of a solid second RW option in fantasy leagues.  Just imagine when Alex Radulov comes back.



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Teams Notes
Washington at NY Islanders 7:00 PM | Gameday
New Jersey at Philadelphia 7:00 PM | Gameday
Boston at Tampa Bay 7:30 PM | Gameday
Carolina at NY Rangers 7:30 PM | Gameday
Toronto at Florida 7:30 PM | Gameday
Dallas at Minnesota 8:00 PM | Gameday
St. Louis at Chicago 8:30 PM | Gameday
San Jose at Calgary 9:30 PM | Gameday
Detroit at Los Angeles 10:30 PM | Gameday

Its the niner here on a Tuesday in your fantasy hockey leagues.  Ian Gooding gives us the lowdown on his Pick Six for tonight done with a Wassel twist.



So Sidney Crosby is poised to return on Thursday and hey Alex Radulov seems to be ready to come back as well.  Is a Sean Avery sighting up next?  Oh wait, that is not going to go over well.  Again it is often said the fantasy landscape has some interesting wrinkles.  This is the first impact night and the goal is just to give an idea of what is going on with a little commentary as well. 

Detroit has the back to back and could not be more banged up.  However they do get a major return in net.  Expect Jimmy Howard to only play tonight and not on Wednesday against Anaheim.  Nick Lidstrom (bone bruise on ankle) is not expected to play both games and is even questionable headed into the weekend.  Sure Detroit insists there is improvement but these are the same people that insisted Henrik Zetterberg did not have a MCL strain when he clearly did.  So wait and be vigilant.

There is no time better than the present to hop into this so let’s hit the ground running…..shall we?

Sidney Crosby, C, PIT — START/ADD

In case there was doubt, Crosby is playing Thursday night against the New York Rangers and the impact is expected to be very high.  Keep in mind that Crosby had 12 points in eight contests in return number one before a David Krejci “hit” sidelined him for the last three months.  Yes this game is Thursday but is something necessary to mention right now so that fantasy hockey GM’s get on the horn and do what they have to do.  What will he do against the Rangers?  A point or two seems like a safe bet and nothing like the four point (2 G 2 A) outburst against the New York Islanders in November.

Marty Turco, G, BOS — WATCH

It will be interesting to see how Turco fares in a full game at Tampa Bay tonight.  Yes he gave up two goals in relief duty on Sunday against Pittsburgh but honestly did not look that bad and his puck handling did lead to some extra scoring chances.  Yes he is still likely rusty but with the injuries in Boston at a season high and Tim Thomas’s poor play, this start is very important to fantasy owners and at least worth a watch.

Alex Pietrangelo/Kevin Shattenkirk, D, STL — START

The best defensive duo lies in St. Louis and not whatever Ottawa throws out with Erik Karlsson or Shea and Weber in Nashville.  It may just be Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk who have developed a unique chemistry (Seabrook and Keith like) and are over a point a game in their last five as a pair.  Their +/- is very good and both will finish with over 45 points and 175 shots on goal along with a +20 (Shattenkirk may be a +30 or more).  They are must haves on your blueline in this March of uncertainty with injuries.

Evgeni Nabokov, G, NYI — WATCH/BENCH

There are better goalie options out there at this point even if you did not climb aboard the Semyon Varlamov bandwagon.  Nabokov tends to play well for stretches in games but almost always has those frustrating brain cramps.  Everyone should remember his last game against Washington where he played great for 57 minutes then gave up three goals in the next several minutes in a crushing loss that likely ended any Islander playoff hopes.  Yes the Russian is a good goalie but just has too many of those “Bryzgalov moments” on the ice.

Joe Pavelski/Patrick Marleau, W/C, SJ — BENCH

Yes San Jose needs the two points desperately but on the tail end of a back to back in the “Red Mile” is not exactly conducive to fantasy goodness.  Add in these players have combined for 4 points in their last eight games and you have the recipe for another frustrating night in the fantasy hockey chase for a crown.  It is a fantasy sprint now and having players that are dragging your team down can be very agonizing.  Until they produce, it is time to let Pavelski and Marleau ride the pine.  Hell you may want to consider giving Joe Thornton some pine splinters as well.

Stephen Weiss, C, FLA — BENCH

Weiss is struggling at the wrong time and some of it could be the injury to Kris Versteeg but whatever it is could be attributed to a “March Flop” that seems to happen to Weiss and maybe it is because normally this is the time where Florida drops out of playoff contention.  After all they have missed the playoffs since 2000.  He does traditionally heat up at the end of the month going into the end of the season however so its a temporary benching until he gets his fantasy act together.

Dmitri Orlov, D, WSH — START/ADD

Sometimes you just have to go a little outside the box and go with the hot hand.  Orlov has four points in his last four games and seems to finally be realizing some of his pretty big upside in Washington.  Sure he still has some very inconsistent stretches but his game overall has improved quite a bit from the start of the year.  Going against an Islanders team who lost in very deflating fashion Sunday Night may be a good thing.  Get him in your lineup and on your team before someone else does.


As always we have the Weekly Slapshot tonight at 9:30pm ET on BTR’s Fantasy Sports Channel.  I hope everyone can take a listen as we get into those fantasy hockey playoff questions few have the guts to answer.  Thanks again for reading.

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!