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Fantasy All-Access: Thankful for Klingberg, Panarin

by Sean McCullen /

Every Monday, staff writer Sean McCullen identifies potential waiver-wire pickups and points out lineup moves and schedule impacts for fantasy hockey.

It's Thanksgiving week here in the United States.

Some of you are thankful for taking Alex Ovechkin, not Sidney Crosby, with the No. 1 pick of your league's draft.

Many of you are thankful you had the foresight to draft the Dallas Stars' John Klingberg, whose 19 assists are tied for first in the NHL and 23 points are tied for fifth in the League after he was selected on average after 30 other defensemen in Yahoo leagues, or Chicago Blackhawks rookie forward Artemi Panarin (Yahoo average draft position: 154.7), who has seven goals, 14 assists and 51 shots on goal in 21 games.

Others are thankful they saw enough in St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (ADP: 106.9), despite the prevailing notion that he and Brian Elliott were destined for a true time-share. Allen has emerged as the clear No. 1 in St. Louis because of his 2.04 goals-against average (fifth in the NHL) and .930 save percentage (sixth) in 15 games.

Then there are those of you who are thankful it’s still early in the season; I'm thinking of you, Jakub Voracek owners. Don't worry, though. There's plenty of time left to make your way up the standings and into a playoff spot in your league.


Rasmus Ristolainen, D, Buffalo Sabres (43 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) -- As the Sabres' play has improved in recent weeks, so has Ristolainen's. The 21-year-old has three goals, six assists and a minus-2 rating in his past 11 games after he had one goal, two assists and a minus-5 rating in his first nine. His 55 shots on goal are tied for eighth among NHL defensemen, and on the power play he has two goals and five points while averaging 2:26 of ice time per game with the man-advantage.

Melker Karlsson, C/RW, San Jose Sharks (9 percent owned) -- The 25-year-old has been playing with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski on the Sharks' top line since returning from a lower-body injury that cost him the first 15 games of the season. Karlsson has three goals, four points and a plus-6 rating in seven games. The one drawback is he hasn't been getting much power-play time (0:32 per game).

Oscar Klefbom, D, Edmonton Oilers (12 percent owned) -- Klefbom's 11 points in 20 games are tied for 21st in the NHL among defensemen. He’s been much better in recent weeks, with three goals and three assists in the past seven games, and is minus-1 for the season.

Mathieu Perreault, C/LW, Winnipeg Jets (15 percent owned) -- If you're in a competitive league, your chances of adding Mark Scheifele (58 percent owned) or even Drew Stafford (31 percent owned) at this point aren't great. So why not add their linemate? If you need a boost in the assists category, Perreault's 13 assists are tied for 20th in the NHL. Though he has scored one goal, he's the same player who had 13 goals in a 16-game stretch last season. Plus he's getting time on the Jets' top power-play unit; in a 3-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday he got 4:57 of ice time on the man-advantage.

Tyler Bozak, C, Toronto Maple Leafs (11 percent owned) -- The much-maligned Maple Leafs center has three goals and nine assists in 17 games, and six of his 12 points have been on the power play, where he averages 2:18 of ice time per game.


-- Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom were reunited Wednesday when the Washington Capitals visited the Detroit Red Wings. Ovechkin had played this season on a line centered by fellow Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov before the game at Joe Louis Arena. But with Ovechkin held without a goal in three games between Nov. 10 and Nov. 13, coach Barry Trotz figured it was time to put the longtime linemates back together. It paid off the next night against the Stars, when Backstrom got the primary assist on Ovechkin’s 484th career goal to pass Sergei Fedorov for the most by a Russian-born player in League history. The two then combined for three points in a 7-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

-- The Philadelphia Flyers moved Brayden Schenn to left wing on the top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings. The move paid immediate dividends; Giroux had a goal and an assist and Voracek had two assists. Schenn, who was a healthy scratch the previous game, had a season-high eight shots on goal in 20:11 of ice time in the 3-2 shootout loss to the Kings. It remains to be seen how long the three stay together, though, after the Flyers were shut out in their next two games, Thursday against the San Jose Sharks and Saturday against the Ottawa Senators. Coach Dave Hakstol vowed he would not make any drastic lineup changes.


-- There are no NHL games Thursday, which is Thanksgiving in the U.S.

-- The Capitals, Flyers, Jets, Sabres, Oilers, Nashville Predators and New York Rangers each play four games this week. All of the Oilers' games will be on the road.

The Maple Leafs, Sharks and Vancouver Canucks each play two games, and the rest of the League plays three.

-- The Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils play a home-and-home Friday and Saturday. The Predators and Sabres play each other twice, as do the Jets and Avalanche.

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