Every Monday, NHL.com contributor Matt Sitkoff identifies waiver wire pickups, roster trends, schedule notes and a prospect to watch in fantasy hockey.
The fantasy pre-draft talk focuses on whom to take with the first pick, and that conversation usually starts with Sidney Crosby vs. Steven Stamkos. On Monday, we won't see the 15th head-to-head matchup between these two because of Crosby's illness. This will be the ninth time in this matchup that one of the superstars did not suit up. In the previous 14 head-to-head matchups the Penguins have won 10, with Crosby scoring 10 goals and 12 assists. Stamkos has been productive despite the losses to the Penguins, with eight goals and 10 assists. Yet, when Crosby misses the matchup, Stamkos only has four assists in nine games.
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
FANTASY HOCKEY ANALYSIS
The 2014-15 NHL season is in full swing, so NHL.com has you covered with weekly fantasy hockey positional rankings, real-time spin updates and waiver wire advice.
Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers (owned in 6 percent of Yahoo Leagues) -- The Philadelphia Flyers are finally getting some depth scoring, and leading that charge is this fourth-year center. Couturier is on a career-high six-game point streak that has seen him score three goals and four assists with eight shots on goal, four hits and five blocked shots. The Flyers have a busy schedule this week with four games scheduled (home vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers and on the road vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets). Expect the No. 8 pick from the 2011 NHL Draft to continue his red-hot play.
Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets (owned in 56 percent of Yahoo Leagues) -- The 20-year-old got off to a very slow start this season with only one point in his first 12 games and fell out of favor for many fantasy owners. Flash forward to his next 19 games, and Trouba has three goals, eight assists, 43 shots on goal, a plus-5 rating, 12 penalty minutes, 21 hits and 39 blocked shots. The second-year defenseman is playing in all situations and leads the Jets with 750:33 time on ice, taking advantage of it finally with some production.
Jhonas Enroth, Buffalo Sabres (owned in 37 percent of Yahoo Leagues) -- The Buffalo Sabres are playing better hockey, winning seven of their past 10 games. Leading them to victory is the Swedish netminder Enroth. After winning two of his first 11 games with a 3.63 goals-against average and .900 save percentage, he is 7-2-0 with a 2.08 GAA and .939 save percentage in his past nine games. The Sabres have four games scheduled this week (home vs. the Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche and on the road vs. the Jets and Boston Bruins) and we expect Enroth's improved performance to continue.
Ottawa Senators new coach -- The Dave Cameron era is off and running in Ottawa, and with a new coach usually comes different fantasy options. The first two games under Cameron have seen an increase in time and production for right wing Mark Stone (about 19 minutes per game), who has a goal, an assist and five shots. Center David Legwand also has two points in two games despite seeing his ice time reduced. Some other trends to watch: Defenseman Erik Karlsson has played almost 29 minutes a game while firing 14 shots, and forward Mika Zibanejad has eight shots and a goal while playing four minutes more than his season average in those two games.
Power play specialists --
Defense - STL
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 22 | PTS: 26
SOG: 72 | +/-: 13
The usual suspects are near the top of power play scoring; Claude Giroux
, Evgeni Malkin
, Crosby and Stamkos, but there are other players making an impact on fantasy teams in the special teams department. St. Louis Blues
defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk
has 16 of his 26 points on the man advantage. Anaheim Ducks
power-play quarterback Sami Vatanen
has 13 of his 23 points on the power play. Columbus Blue Jackets
left wing Nick Foligno
has over 50 percent of his points (14 of 27) on the power play. New York Islanders
power forward Brock Nelson
is having a breakout season with eight power-play goals, tied for the League lead. If your team is struggling to win the power-play point category, these are the players to target in trades to make your luck turn around.
Sven Andrighetto, Montreal Canadiens -- The 21-year-old has burst onto the scene in Montreal, becoming the first Canadiens player with a point in each of his first three NHL games since Pierre Mondou did it in 1977-78. The third-round pick in 2013 has taken advantage of an injury to Lars Eller and filled in nicely, playing 12:18 per game on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Jiri Sekac. The Swiss forward is coming off his first professional season, which saw him score 44 points in 64 games in the American Hockey League. His nine goals and nine assists in 21 AHL games this season led to his promotion. With Eller expected to miss another week with an injury and three games scheduled at home (vs. the Carolina Hurricanes, Ducks and Senators), Andrighetto is worth picking up for the short term.