Taking a look at the fantasy schedule for Week Two...
It’s early in the season and we’ve only had three nights of games so far. The NHL should have more than six games in the first two days of the season, but that’s just my opinion. Most fantasy managers are still getting a feel for their teams and figuring out if their draft was truly as good as they thought it was (Braden Holtby owners are panicking – I own him in two leagues, he’s killing me!). Some of you may not be looking to make moves quite yet, but others may be ready to cut bait already or get some fill-in players for guys while they are on the IR. Take a look at these teams to target for the coming week or two.
Vancouver Canucks = Target
Games: 6 (4H/2A)
- vs. Edmonton – Gave up five goals in their opening night loss to Winnipeg
- @ Calgary – Let in four goals and surrendered a 3-0 lead in their season opening shootout loss and were a bottom three team in goals against last year and are predicted to be near there (or worse!) again this season
- vs. New Jersey – Older, weaker team that is going to struggle all season long to compete
- vs. Montreal – Allowed four goals in their opening night loss to Toronto
- @ Philadelphia – Bottom eight team in goals against last year and they have Steve Mason
After opening up their season with a tough loss in San Jose, the Canucks have a promising stretch of games from a fantasy standpoint. They play six games in 11 days, with four of those games being at Rogers Arena. In addition to those home games, the away games are against Calgary and Philadelphia, so your Canucks should be able to put up some points during this time.
Minnesota Wild = Target
Games: 6 (3H/3A)
- vs. Anaheim – Gave up six goals in their opening night loss to Colorado
- vs. Winnipeg – Four goals against on opening night and finished in the bottom six in goals against last year
- vs. Dallas – Finished in the bottom ten in goals against last year
- @ Buffalo – Finished in the bottom ten in goals against last year
Just like Vancouver, the Wild have six games in 11 days. And very much like Vancouver, their schedule contains some promising matchups, as seen above.
St. Louis Blues = Avoid
Games: 4 (4H/0A)
- vs. Chicago – Top defensive team last season
- vs. NY Rangers – Fourth best defensive team last season and they have this guy called Lundqvist
- vs. San Jose – Sixth best defensive team last season
Yes, St. Louis chased Pekka Rinne in under ten minutes in their home opener, but you can’t expect them to have that same intensity every game (it was their home opener) and do that against every all-star goaltender they face. They have one favorable matchup when Florida comes to town, but that’s still only a single promising game in a span of 13 days.
Dallas Stars = Avoid
Games: 4 (1H/3A)
- @ Minnesota – Held Stanley Cup contender L.A. Kings to two goals and have potential to be a good defensive team
- @ Colorado – Looked like a totally different team while laying the smack down on Anaheim on Wednesday night (Patrick Roy will flip out and break something for every goal that Colorado allows)
Dallas’ matchups actually aren’t that bad, it’s just the fact they only have four games, three of which are on the road, in 13 days.
Here’s a list of some players, owned in less than 30% of Yahoo leagues, to target for the upcoming Monday to Sunday schedule.
Los Angeles: Matt Frattin (5%) – Playing on a line with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter right now and assisted on Carter’s goal last night. Second line minutes on this team with those two players is a pretty sweet gig, if you ask me.
New Jersey: Damien Brunner (22%) – New Jersey isn’t going to score a lot of goals this season, but playing alongside Patrik Elias and taking eight shots in one game is a good way to put some points on the board.
Phoenix: Radim Vrbata (23%) – Was on a 29-goal pace last season and got an upgrade with Mike Ribeiro coming to the Desert, and adding more offense to the squad, even if they don’t play together regularly. Really surprised he’s owned this little. That should change after his hat trick last night.
Florida: Kris Versteeg (10%) – Not much fantasy talent in South Florida, but one of the ones that should be owned is this guy. 54 points in 71 games his last full (if you want to call 71 full) season. Missed most of last year, should be in line for a bounce back season. Plus, Florida doesn’t have many players to look to for offense.
Carolina: Nathan Gerbe (2%) – Carolina is the only team in this list that hasn’t played at least one game so far this season. Using Frozen Pool, it looks like Gerbe was seeing a lot of powerplay time in the pre-season as well as a good amount of time alongside Jordan Staal. I assume Carolina won’t mess with their top line combination of Eric Staal, Alex Semin and Jiri Tlusty, so the second line spots are the ones up for grabs, especially with Tuomo Ruutu injured to start the season.