Every Monday, NHL.com contributor Matt Sitkoff identifies waiver wire pickups, roster trends, schedule notes and a prospect to watch in fantasy hockey.
STATS PRIOR TO NOV. 17 GAMES
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 13
SOG: 37 | +/-: 6
Fantasy hockey is all about matchups and exploiting the good ones. Monday marks the return of former New York Rangers
captain Ryan Callahan
to Madison Square Garden as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning
. It is also the first game for Martin St. Louis
, the player Callahan was traded for, against his former team. Expect them to make an impact Monday.
Other notable examples of players playing their former teams this season include Vancouver Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller and Pittsburgh Penguins wing Patric Hornqvist. Miller won during his return to St. Louis, and Hornqvist had an assist against Nashville. In addition, Predators forward James Neal got a penalty when he faced off against Pittsburgh, and most recently Columbus Blue Jackets forward Scott Hartnell had six shots on goal and one hit in his victorious return to Philadelphia.
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.
Marcus Johansson (owned in 21 percent of Yahoo Leagues), Washington Capitals -- The Capitals are no longer a one-line team, thanks to the success of their scoring second line of Johansson, Troy Brouwer and Andre Burakovsky. In the past eight games Johansson paces the Capitals with five goals and is third with eight points. After being shut down by good goaltending from the St. Louis Blues and New Jersey Devils in their past two games, the Capitals have three games this week (@ARI, @COL, BUF) against teams ranked near the bottom in goals against.
Cody Franson (owned in 43 percent of Yahoo Leagues), Toronto Maple Leafs -- Franson is the hottest fantasy defenseman not named Mark Giordano. He is currently on a seven-game scoring streak in which he has accumulated two goals and seven assists. The 6-foot-5 right shot has also seen his ice time increase, playing over 20 minutes in six of his past eight games on the top pairing with Dion Phaneuf. Added bonus for fantasy owners is his five power-play points and 29 shots on goal this season. The Maple Leafs have three games scheduled this week (NSH, TBL, DET), and with all at home expect Franson to add to his 57 career points at Air Canada Center.
Devan Dubnyk (owned in 6 percent of Yahoo Leagues), Arizona Coyotes -- Mike Smith's early struggles have opened up a window of opportunity for the 2004 first-round pick. On his fourth organization in the past two seasons, the 6-foot-6 goaltender has won his past three starts, stopping 100 of the 106 shots. The Coyotes have four games scheduled this week (WSH, @DAL, @SJS, @ANA) with one back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday, so expect Dubnyk to get two more starts as Smith works through his early kinks.
Number one goalie -- As we inch closer to the quarter mark, let's break down goalie starts this season. It can be broken down to the teams that employ the same starter for over 66.6 percent of their games (goalie who starts two out of three) and the teams under that 66-percent threshold. This season we have 18 of the teams over the 66.6 percent. In fact, of those teams, 12 are above the 75-percent start threshold for their No. 1 goaltender. This season only 10 teams are under that 66.6 percent of one starter (PHI, TOR, NYI, CAR, CBJ, BUF, CGY, CHI, STL, EDM). These numbers show finding a No. 1 goalie is not as hard this season, so when offered a top-flight offensive player for a hot goalie, make the move.
Circus trip -- The Chicago Blackhawks embark on their six-game circus trip starting on Thursday. No surprise that last season, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith led the team in scoring on the annual trip with nine points and Corey Crawford was 4-1-0 with a 2.09 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. On the upcoming trip, keep an eye on Kris Versteeg, who has five road points in 6 games this season, and Brad Richards, who has 122 career points against the six opponents the Blackhawks face.
STATS PRIOR TO NOV. 17 GAMES
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 8
SOG: 38 | +/-: 8
Mike Hoffman, Ottawa Senators -- With 43 games of NHL experience stretched over four seasons, it's hardly this prospect's first rodeo. With goals in three straight games and becoming the second rookie to have two multigoal games this season, he is finally on the fantasy hockey map. The 130th pick of the 2009 NHL Draft made his debut on Dec. 23, 2011. That season he led the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League with 49 points in 76 games. The 6-foot left wing again led Binghamton in points last season (67 in 51 games), earning his first extended call-up in March. He finished the season with three goals and six points in the last 21 games of the season for the Senators. This season, playing on the "kid line" with Mark Stone and Curtis Lazar, Hoffman's seven goals pace the Senators and he should be owned in more than six percent of Yahoo leagues.