Ryan Kesler, Alex Edler and Cory Schneider: two of these things are not like the other...
A wacky week it was in terms of Canucks Fantasy Hockey as in three games Vancouver had three different players emerge as fantasy threats – two of which likely weren’t on your radar.
Ryan Kesler has been having a great season offensively as he’s second only to Henrik Sedin in team scoring with five goals and 11 assists in 18 games. Kesler is second to no one in terms of fantasy scoring though, his 318 points is a whopping 56 more than Hank’s 262. Henrik may have more real points, but Kesler adds hits and blocks to his impressive fantasy total.
Kesler put together a gem of a game to start the week with three assists in a 4-1 win over the Rangers; he also had a game-star to finish with 46 points.
Following his fine showing, Kesler went pointless in back-to-back games for just the third time this season, which opened the door for others to contribute. Alex Edler and Cory Schneider waltzed on through and each had their moment in the spotlight as a fantasy stud to close out the week.
THE WEEK THAT WAS
After starting the week with a thrashing of the Rangers, the Canucks set out on an 11-day road trip that began with back-to-back games in Minnesota and Dallas.
Let’s be honest here: put your hand up if A- you thought Vancouver and Minnesota would combine for seven goals, or B – you expected Edler, Johnson, Burrows, Pettinger or Hordichuk to be major fantasy contributors. Anyone?
That’s how things played out in Vancouver’s 5-2 win as Edler led the way with a pair of helpers, a plus-two rating and a game-star for a 34 point outing. Ryan Johnson, playing in his first game since October 27, was second with 27 fantasy points, largely because he collected his first assist of the season and was a plus-two, but also as a result of his five blocked shots and 7-for-9 showing at the faceoff dot.
Alex Burrows had his first multi-point game of the season to finish with 26 fantasy points, while Matt Pettinger and Darcy Hordichuk both scored for the first time this year to give them 23 and 22 points each, respectively.
If you thought the Canucks and Stars were bound for an offensive shootout and made picks based on a high-scoring tilt, you likely didn’t fair too well in Vancouver’s 2-1 loss in Dallas.
If you went with Cory Schneider in his first start of the season, you were heavily rewarded as he stopped 45 shots en route to a 32 fantasy point performance, including a game-star. In a game of surprising contributors, Shane O’Brien, Tanner Glass and Ryan Johnson had 13, 11 and 10 points, even though none of them found the scoresheet.
WE HAVE A WINNER
It turns out Susie Q is more than just a dance step in the Lindy Hop as SuzieQ came up big in Vancouver’s win over New York by picking Kesler (46), Samuelsson (34) and Raycroft (30), who all had game-stars, in 169 point fantasy performance, good for first place.
SuzieQ had only seven players on their roster for what was only their third fantasy game of the season; lukekim employed a vastly different strategy spreading the love between 12 players in Vancouver’s win over Minnesota.
Ten of the 12 players picked up at least two points for lukekim, six accumulated at least 20 points for a grand total of 167. JakeEllis was a close second finishing with 163 points.
Cory Schneider certainly wasn’t the most popular pick when the Canucks played the Stars, but for only $2 million there wasn’t much risk in buying him. Schneider led 103 fantast competitors to 100 points or more, including winner james48, who edged out GForbes 137-135.
Other than Schneider, james48 put his eggs in the baskets of Raymond and Bieksa and they combined for 37 points.
For the second consecutive week tarzan is holds down the season leader position with 1877 points through 18 games.
Click here to check out the leaderboard, it's a jumble of 5,105 fantasy fanatics.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Canucks continue their five-game, 11-day road trip in St. Louis on Tuesday in their first game against the Blues since the playoffs last season.
Vancouver will use Remembrance Day to get to Detroit where they will play the Red Wings on Thursday; the Canucks then have Friday off before traveling to Denver on Saturday to play the Avalanche in the second game of the Hockey Night in Canada double-header.
Ryan Johnson - $1 million - In case you haven’t noticed, it’s time to add Vancouver’s hardest working player to your fantasy roster. At only $1 million, Ryan Johnson is well worth the price right now and it isn’t because of his offensive fortitude. Johnson has only one assist this season, his true fantasy value lies in the thankless jobs of blocking shots (23), hits (10) and faceoffs won (22).
Mason Raymond - $2 million – Hot, hot, hot is the only way to describe Raymond’s play over the last five games. The third year forward came into the season wanting to be more consistent and through 13 games that wasn’t the case as Raymond had only three points. Asked to play a bigger role on offence due to the injuries, Raymond has responded with four goals and two assists over his last five games; his current five-game streak is a career best. Just 18 games into the season and Raymond is only four goals off his career best and 14 points off his career high.
Christian Ehrhoff – $3 million – Only five Canucks have eclipsed 200 fantasy points this year and Ehrhoff is the only defenceman to accomplish the feat. He’s done this by being aggressive offensively and responsible in his own end, he’s got 12 points and 39 shots to go along with 14 hits and 16 blocks. Plus, he’s had a plus-rating in eight games and in fantasy it’s rating x 2 = big points.
Alex Bolduc (shoulder), Jannik Hansen (broken hand) and Pavol Demitra (shoulder) are all on injured reserve, while RW Michael Grabner is out indefinitely.
Roberto Luongo (ribs) and Daniel Sedin (broken foot) are both with the team in St. Louis and could factor into the line-up this week.
While I claim to be the Canucks Fantasy Hockey swami, the man with all the answers and a crystal ball as clear as they come, this is very self-described. Most of my picks are backed by stats, while others come from the gut. Use with caution!