Fantasy All-Access: Preparing for Stadium Series

Monday, 01.20.2014 / 1:26 PM
Matt Sitkoff  - NHL.com Contributor

The end of the week is highlighted with the start of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series with a game at Dodger Stadium between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings, and at Yankee Stadium between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils. The Kings and Ducks will be playing Thursday this week before going outdoors. Players to watch are the Kings' Anze Kopitar, who has 43 career points in 41 games played against the Ducks, and his teammate Mike Richards, who has 17 points in 16 games played against Anaheim.

On the other side, Ducks veteran Teemu Selanne has haunted the Kings for years with 118 career points in 103 games played. His teammate, Ryan Getzlaf, has 39 career points in 46 games played against Los Angeles.

The goalies have prevailed in the Devils-Rangers series with Henrik Lundqvist's career-best 28 wins against New Jersey and Martin Brodeur's 49 wins against New York the second-highest of his career. Former Rangers star Jaromir Jagr has 83 career points against his former team and Brad Richards leads the Rangers with 39 career points against the Devils.

WAIVER WIRE WATCH

Vladimir Sobotka (owned in 11 percent of Yahoo Leagues) – The St. Louis Blues got a big boast with the return of Alexander Steen into the lineup this past weekend, but under the radar on this great Western Conference team has been the steady play of the 26-year-old center. The Czech Republic Olympian is only four points away from tying his career-high for a season (29 in 2010-11) and playing in every situation for Ken Hitchcock with a plus-15 rating and 44 penalty minutes this season. St. Louis has four games this week (Detroit Red Wings, Devils, Rangers, New York Islanders) and all on the road, where Sobotka has 11 of his 25 points this season.

Andrej Meszaros (owned in 6 percent of Yahoo Leagues) – It is amazing that a player who has only played in 57 percent of his team's games in the past three seasons (102 of possible 179), and was a healthy scratch for 19 games this season, is making an impact in the fantasy world. But the 28-year-old defenseman is turning heads. The Slovakian Olympian has points in five of his past six games including his first multi-goal game since April 9, 2011. The Philadelphia Flyers have four games this week (at the Islanders, home against the Carolina Hurricanes, at the Columbus Blue Jackets and home against the Boston Bruins), which makes this former first-round pick a great play in all formats.

Karri Ramo (owned in 24 percent of Yahoo Leagues) – The Calgary Flames goalie finally recorded his first career NHL shutout last week, breaking the mark of most career starts among active goalies to not post a shutout (58), and should play a factor in fantasy this week. If you were not one of the lucky ones to grab the recently traded Devan Dubnyk or Ben Scrivens, then look toward Ramo this week. The Flames have three games this week (at the San Jose Sharks and home against the Phoenix Coyotes and Nashville Predators), but on light work nights (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Ramo has grabbed the number one job from Reto Berra, starting six of the past nine games and should get two if not all three of those starts this week.

ROSTER TRENDS

Team leader – A rarity around the League is to have one player lead their team in goals, assists and points. In fact, there are only six players currently leading or tied for the team lead in all three categories. Four of them are in the East: Islanders John Tavares (Islanders), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins), Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Phil Kessel (Toronto Maple Leafs). Two of them are in the West: Taylor Hall (Edmonton Oilers) and Tyler Seguin (Dallas Stars). If you are lucky to own these six superstars enjoy the run. This should continue for all of them if you don't own them well good luck trying to acquire them.

Back-to-Back – Back-to-back scheduled games are great for your fantasy forwards extra day of stats but could also be feast or famine for your fantasy goalies. Of the 247 instances of back-to-back starts for goalies we have seen 76 goalies start on back-to-back nights. Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky is 3-0-0 in the second game stopping 77 of 83 shots faced. On the other side, Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec is 0-2-0 and giving up 10 goals in the second game of back-to-backs.

PROSPECT RUMBLINGS

Aleksander Barkov – The trivia answer of who was taken between junior teammates Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, and before star defender Seth Jones, is starting to find his scoring touch. The 18-year-old second pick of the 2013 NHL Draft has 13 points in his past 21 games to move him into the Florida Panthers lead in points with 23. The 6-foot-3 center, who was the highest NHL-drafted Finnish skater, will also participate in his first Olympics just one year after playing in the World Junior Championships. Keep an eye on this talented forward. A successful Olympics could put him on the fantasy must own list.

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