Early in the season, it appeared as though no one could catch Nikolai Khabibulin
and his all-star point-totals. An injury to the number one goaltender helped to close the gap, but some incredible performances from the top Oilers defenceman provided the true wind of change.
Whitney captured the top spot on the leaderboard two weeks ago and has been steadily expanding his lead since that time. With now having earned 476 points and establishing a somewhat commanding 52-point lead over second-place Khabibulin, Whitney looks poised to further widen the gap as we conclude 2010 and enter the new year.
Whitney enters the new week with a brilliantly executed past seven days in his pocket. Although Edmonton’s last three games ended in defeat, Whitney was again a leader and provided some outstanding point-totals. His week was punctuated with his second goal of the season this past Sunday, which helped earn him top marks among all Oilers skaters with 31 Fantasy points.
With 34 games in the rearview mirror, Whitney has accumulated two goals and 27 points that highlight his stellar season. With two goals in his past three games, his scoring touch and offensive confidence appears to be on the rise as well.
Up until this point, the Fantasy Hockey Forecast has been about providing a complement of information to your already masterful knowledge of the game. But when it comes to Ryan Whitney
, there’s no debate. Get him into your lineup if you haven’t already. Game LeaderboardSeason LeadersPlayer StatsNot a member? Sign up!POST-HOLIDAY REVERSION
As most of you know, Taylor Hall
, Nikolai Khabibulin
and the aforementioned Ryan Whitney
were all discounted last week as a Christmas gift to all our players. Of course that, like all good things, will come to end tonight.
No more than one-hour following the conclusion of tonight’s game, the above players’ salaries will be reverted back to their standard $4 million cap-hits. In addition, our newly highlighted players’ salaries will be activated. Here are this week’s salary adjustments:LINUS OMARK ($1M > $2M)
Since his recall on December 8, Linus Omark
has dazzled Oilers fans with some incredible offensive creativity. The dynamic Swede has now recorded one goal and five points in seven games since his arrival and looks ready to take on a different role with the re-addition of Ales Hemsky
to the lineup.
Omark brings a unique skill-set to the Oilers roster that most certainly relies on offensive production. But with that having been said, his wide range of offensive abilities have helped to establish him as one of the team’s up-and-coming Fantasy dynamos.
With the ability to work his offensive magic both on the powerplay and at even strength, Omark provides more diversity than a simple one-touch offensive game. The return of Ales Hemsky
could have an affect on his ice-time, but his proven track record of success with the man advantage should help him remain as one of the team leaders in powerplay opportunities.
The influx of talent returning to the lineup could potentially have a positive impact on his game as he looks to further improve and secure his spot on the Oilers roster. For the time being, his offensive game is flourishing as he finds his feet in a new league. For the next week, Omark’s salary will double as a point of reward. TOM GILBERT ($4M > $3M)
Defenceman Tom Gilbert has been playing excellent of late. Paired with rugged blueliner Theo Peckham, the pair has formed a duo that has regularly played against the opposition’s top offensive lines. Gilbert in particular has seen a rise in his defensive game and offensive production as he looks to recover from a slow start to the season.
While Gilbert has been playing well and is deserving of a raise, the smooth defenceman is going on a game-by-game basis as he recoups a nagging injury. His on-ice production could potentially be affected, but this drop in salary is intended to reward his loyal Fantasy owners. In addition, it helps to cover any last-minute lineup changes that may arise due to his condition.
Either way, Gilbert is a solid choice. Although he has to play behind the heroics of Ryan Whitney, the kudos are well deserved as he continues to rise the standings and further establish himself as one of the game’s elite. Gilbert has now accumulated 301 Fantasy points on the season and a firm position in the leaderboard's top ten.
RYAN O'MARRA ($1M > $2M)
If you want to talk about a player who’s continually showing improvement as he grows into his role, Ryan O’Marra is your man. The 23-year old forward is making the most of his recall, as he recently scored his first career NHL goal this past Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks.
While the offence is a nice addition, O’Marra’s duty is to provide more than that if he hopes to remain on the roster. One of the main reasons that O’Marra received the call from the big club a few weeks ago was because of his solid defensive game and prowess in the faceoff circle. At times, he’s struggled with the role but has been developing nicely into a reliable two-way centreman.
His workload in the faceoff dot as been relieved, which seems to have helped boost his confidence in that area. On Sunday, O’Marra took only three draws but won all cleanly. With an increase in confidence and NHL ability, chances are his responsibilities will rise as we progress into a new week.
O’Marra has now accumulated 48 Fantasy points on the season, which has been the result of a diverse skill-set that helps him succeed across the board. While O’Marra is still considered an underdog of the game, his rising efforts in all areas could make him an extremely valuable addition to your game-night roster.
For his effort and subsequent production, O’Marra’s salary will double for the next week. Even with the raise, it would be wise to give him a chance if you’re looking for a reliable forward at a reasonable cost.LAST CALL
Only two games remain before we wrap up the month of December and award two new prizes to our monthly winners. This is your last opportunity to do some damage and climb the charts. Remember: Always consult the Fantasy Forecast before making your selections. Good luck, everyone!
Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com