Given the complex, never-steady landscape of fantasy hockey, each week, NHL.com Fantasy Insider Sergei Feldman will give you The Real Spiel on some of the quirks and trends that permeated your week of fantasy hockey by way of in-depth analysis.
QUICK STEP: The Real Spiel on Jonathan Quick
Los Angeles Kings
Goalie - LAK
GAA: 1.95 | SVP: 0.933
’ netminder Jonathan Quick
has had a quality career since his first full season in 2008-09 and if 34 games this go-around is any indication, he could be poised for his finest campaign yet. Look no further than the numbers: So far, Quick ranks in the Top 10 in every major fantasy goaltending category (18 wins, 991 saves and 1.95 GAA). His six shutouts, 34 games played and even two PIMs are nice bonuses. But as impressive as his stats have been, even more impressive has been his ability to shoulder the load night in, night out for the Kings, who are struggling to get their offense going. Quick has taken things upon himself to be the difference between victory and defeat. In his past five outings, victories have followed, as he has come out on top four times and lost in overtime. He also didn’t allow a goal on two occasions. Not bad – and things don’t appear to be slowing down.
IT’S STAAL COMING TOGETHER: The Real Spiel on Eric Staal
Center - CAR
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 18 | PTS: 28
SOG: 149 | +/-: -23
For Captain Carolina, the 2011-12 season has been riddled with far more lows than highs. Still, Eric Staal
is showing that the “12” part of the season could mean bigger and better things, which could mean even bigger things for fantasy owners. Since his rookie season in 2003-04, the oldest of the Staal Clan has never finished with fewer than 29 goals, 40 assists and 70 points. Given those stats, one must wonder if the more tempting question to ask is, ‘What has happened to the talented star?’ or, ‘Will he eventually regain his scoring touch?’ Of late, his play has resembled the Staal of the past. In his past four games, the 27-year-old center has amassed eight points, including three multi-point games and three goals. In that same span, he has directed 18 shots toward the net. With the Hurricanes still aiming to find their game, the Thunder Bay, Ont., native remains a plus-minus liability, but if Staal continues to play the way he has of late, at season’s end, his early struggles will be seem like nothing more than a blip on the radar.
HEART-NELL OF A LION: The Real Spiel on Scott Hartnell
Left Wing - PHI
GOALS: 18 | ASST: 19 | PTS: 37
SOG: 102 | +/-: 21
You hate him when he’s not on your team. You love him when he is. That sentiment is most applicable to Philadelphia Flyers
power forward Scott Hartnell
, who is in the midst of his most productive season since breaking into the League in 2000-01. The former first-round selection of the Nashville Predators
has been a factor every time he steps on the ice, but his recent output has made him into one of the more productive fantasy players of the year. Forget the seven-game point streak or the fact that he’s earned at least a point in 15 of his past 17 games. He’s been as consistent in all the other fantasy scoring categories. Consider the fact that he has amassed at least seven PIMs in three of his past eight games and couple that with him throwing at least two shots on net in every game since early December. The result is a force to be reckoned with. His 18 goals (10th best in the League), plus-21 (8th best in the League) and seven power-play goals are welcome bonuses. Watch as Hartnell flies high in Philly.
WIDE-MAN AMONG BOYS: The Real Spiel on Dennis Wideman
Defense - WSH
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 20 | PTS: 27
SOG: 80 | +/-: -1
’s name won’t often be mentioned in the same class as Zdeno Chara
or Shea Weber
, but of late, the Washington Capitals
blueliner has been playing at a similar level. In his past seven games, the 6-foot, 200-pounder has seven points, including two goals. What’s more, he’s been better than a minus player in nine straight games. As the Capitals continue riding a hot streak and climb up the Southeast Division and Eastern Conference standings, Wideman can be a solid option for fantasy owners looking for complementary contributors and lineup depth. Don’t forget, also, that the 28-year-old isn’t merely a recent producer. Currently, Wideman ranks fifth in the NHL in scoring among defensemen. If you’re looking for affordable options, look no further than Wideman.
RYAN AWAY WITH IT: The Real Spiel on Bobby Ryan
Right Wing - ANA
GOALS: 15 | ASST: 8 | PTS: 23
SOG: 94 | +/-: -6
It wasn’t long ago that Bobby Ryan
’s name surfaced in trade speculation. The three-time 30-plus goal scorer struggled at different points throughout the season. Since then, Ryan has dazzled for the Ducks and many fantasy owners. In his past five games, he has amassed five goals and added a helper to go along with two PIMs and 10 shots. He is now on pace for another 30-plus goal season on a struggling Ducks squad. And with a more than capable supporting cast, the future could be as bright as ever for the talented Ryan.
Author: Sergei J. Feldman | NHL.com Staff Writer