The American Thanksgiving caused some fantasy owners to not be very thankful at all. The jump in injuries this week was troublesome. It is time to take a look at what line combinations may bring for Week 8. Now the gloves truly come off. As always, all frequencies are for the last seven days only.
Matt Moulson, LW, New York Islanders – This is a tough choice but sometimes digging yields some fruit. Moulson only has 12 points in 21 games but scored an important goal against New Jersey on Saturday. His ATOI has been up around 20:00 and he does receive a lot of power play time (79.5% overall) plus 41.1% of even strength time. First line ice time dictates more chances but as the Isles have floundered, Coach Jack Capuano has tried other combinations a bit more. Clearly that has not worked. Going back to putting the eggs in one basket might be so take a shot at Moulson this week (BUF, CHI, DAL).
Jakub Voracek, RW, Philadelphia Flyers – The “Jagrless Effect” may be a blessing in the long run for Philadelphia. It seems Voracek and Claude Giroux do have some chemistry together as the duo was the only thing somewhat working in Saturday’s 2-0 loss to the New York Rangers. Also, the ATOI spikes when Jaromir Jagr is out as evidenced with the 19+ minutes a night he has seen in the last three “Jagrless” appearances (two points, nine SOG). His 43.9% frequency at EV and 75% on the PP is a sign of things to come especially after the second Jagr groin injury. Voracek is a very good play for low pay in Week 8.
Cal Clutterbuck, RW, Minnesota Wild – Sometimes a progression dictates a look and Clutterbuck is a chance worth taking. His 88 hits in 22 games are enough to warrant his addition on fantasy rosters in itself. Add in his increased ATOI of 17:35 per night and spike in shot total (19 shots in his last four games) and there is no surprise that Clutterbuck is a worthwhile Week 8 addition. Furthermore, his low center of gravity and good hands makes him ideal on the power play and shorthanded which has also helped. The production will come as the frequencies are up (67.9% PP, 32.5% EV). Now can Clutterbuck finish? That is the question.
Lead Us Defenders……
Keith Yandle, D, Phoenix Coyotes – This is another one of those Norris Trophy candidates that is slowly rounding into form. Six points in his last five games with a little increased rest has been very beneficial for Yandle and his owners. What is also encouraging is his shift frequency (35.1% EV, 72.5% PP) has climbed upward with a hair less ATOI. That means he will be fresher for Week 8 and going forward. What will be more interesting is who winds up paired with Yandle long term? Will it be Derek Morris or Oliver Ekman-Larsson? This has been fun to watch but ultimately Ekman-Larsson will see increased time with Yandle which will increase the value of the defenseman even more. The goals (two now) will come so be patient, especially with a guy like Ekman-Larsson on his side.
Stefan Elliott, D, Colorado Avalanche – Hey, he is a 21-year-old rookie but the kid does have talent. The late second round pick (#49 overall) showed some real promise with the Lake Erie Loch Monsters (AHL) and got the call to join the big club late last week. In his first game against Edmonton, Elliott showed an ability to handle the big boys and even tallied the game winner. His frequencies were surprisingly solid (31.1% EV, 37.5% PP) and if Jan Hejda continues to struggle, those numbers will head upward even further. Keep an eye out for Elliott in Week 8 to see how he adapts and to monitor his ice time.
Sami Salo, D, Vancovuer Canucks – Salo has been the oft-injured defenseman that has driven fantasy owners nuts for years. The potential has always been there but an injury or circumstance always seems to prevent him from taking that breakthrough step. Now at 37, Salo is on pace to enjoy his best season in his career. With injuries (Alex Edler), departures (Christian Erhoff - Buffalo), and shoddy play (Kevin Bieksa), the defenseman has the chance to capitalize on opportunity. The frequencies are rising (33.8% EV, 71.1% PP) and with the Edler injury, that is expected to trend higher in Week 8. The 12 points in 21 games are also encouraging. Take the risk while you can before the Salo train stops rolling. No one knows when that will actually happen but for another couple weeks, this investment may just be worth it.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @TheProgramBTR and fire away your questions. Thanks again.