As the Blackhawks continue to keep gaining points at a historic rate, we are here to answer what that means for your fantasy team.
Their leader in the 22 games in which they have gained a point is Patrick Kane with 26 points. The forward whose average draft position was 32.3 overall in Yahoo! leagues has points in all but five of those games and already has seven multi-point games. He had 15 of them last season in 82 games played.
Defensively, it's no surprise they have been paced in points by Duncan Keith (12), but more of a surprise is his time on ice per game is down, as other defenders have stepped up their play. The former Norris Trophy winner averaged 26:53 TOI/G the last two seasons (ranked first and second, respectively) and this season has averaged "only" 24:00 TOI/G. Veterans Johnny Oduya and Michal Rozsival have lightened the load and also contributed as they are a combined plus-20.
In net, both goalies have made a reality and fantasy impact and it is no surprise both are ranked in the top 10 by Yahoo! Corey Crawford, though he has gone through some injury issues, has only given up 18 goals in 13 games started. All Ray Emery did, filling in for the injured Crawford, was become the fifth goalie in NHL history to win his first nine decisions of a season. Let's not forget Emery did start the majority of Chicago's games in December last season but only saw about a third of the action the rest of the way.
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
Andrei Loktionov (owned in 1 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) -- If you are looking for an extra boost offensively this week check out the 22-year-old who is fitting in well with his new team. The former Los Angeles King has five points in the six games played since being acquired in February for a draft pick, and has points in a career-high 5 straight. With five games scheduled this week (@TOR, TBL, BUF, @CAR, WPG) and playing on the top line with Ilya Kovalchuk and former Windsor Spitfires teammate Adam Henrique, the Russian is a must-add this week.
Cam Fowler (owned in 34 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) -- Later we spotlight players who are coming back from injury and one player that recently returned and the 2010 first-rounder is one of the forgotten ones after missing eight games due to an injury. Although the points have not come yet, the 21-year-old has averaged about 22 minutes per game since returning while playing on the top power play unit. With four games this week (@PHO, PHO, CGY, STL) and the Ducks offense playing well, expect the points to come for Fowler, who has 70 career points in 169 games.
Jacob Markstrom (owned in 9 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) -- The future is now for the defending Southeast Division champions, as the 23-year-old will be asked to carry the load due to the injury to Jose Theodore. He cannot be worse than the combination of Theodore and Scott Clemmensen, who had a combined 3.61 GAA and .881 save percentage this season. With only one back-to-back scheduled this week and four games total, three at home (WPG, @WSH, WPG, MTL), expect Markstrom to continue the upward trend.
Back-to-back games -- This week is one of the busiest in the NHL, as 23 of the 30 teams have back-to-back games scheduled, and as we mentioned before the New Jersey Devils have two sets. This will affect your fantasy team mostly in net. So far there have been 40 goalie starts on back-to-back days -- they are 16-22-2 in the second game. Another aspect to keep in mind is if your goalie will start that second game -- make sure you check out NHL.com Fantasy Goalie Projections for the day.
Injury comeback trail -- Last week we saw the return of top fantasy stars Jeff Skinner, Johan Franzen and Rick Nash from injury, and each of them made an immediate impact. This week we could see the return of the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin, the Blue Jackets' Brandon Dubinsky, the Blackhawks' Dave Bolland, the Stars' Ray Whitney, the Maple Leafs' Matt Frattin and the Panthers' Kris Versteeg. Check your waiver wire, IR spot or other teams' rosters, and be ready for when injured players are back active and ready to make an impact on your fantasy team.
Jaden Schwartz -- A lot has been printed about Vladimir Tarasenko, the 16th selection of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, and for good reason. But now, with that rookie out due to injury, in steps the 14th pick of that same draft to show his fantasy value. Last season, the 20-year-old Schwartz finished a successful two-year stint at Colorado College (88 career point in 60 games) to make an immediate impact, scoring two goals in his first two games in the NHL. He was then a healthy scratch for three of the last four games and the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs, but was on the Blues' radar. The 5-foot-8 winger did not have a great offensive showing in the AHL during the lockout (19 points in 33 games played with Peoria) and was relegated to spot duty in the first 15 games he played this season, but now with injuries all over the board for the Blues expect more out of this talented forward.
Follow Matt Sitkoff on Twitter: @MSitkoffNHL
|Back to top|