Injuries keep occurring. This is why it is essential to look at weekly lineup combination as opposed to monthly or seasonal. The time is now to pay attention when many of your counterparts may not be due to the Thanksgiving holiday. It is time to take a look at what Week 7 may bring.
Vinny Prospal, C, Columbus Blue Jackets – Yes there may be some laughter here but Prospal has quietly gone off to a pretty nice start for Columbus. The buyer beware part of this is that Coach Scott Arniel has mixed R.J. Umberger on the top line with Rick Nash and Jeff Carter. The ratio is about a 10% difference both at even strength in favor of Umberger over Prospal but do not be surprised if the older forward is mixed in more in Week 7. The 31-20 split on EV and the approximately 31-22 split on the PP should begin to even out as Columbus starts to find the chemistry. Your PP may thank you if you decide to sneak Prospal into your lineup.
Tyler Bozak, C, Toronto Maple Leafs – Due to some injuries, Bozak has been moved to the top line with Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel. His ATOI has spiked to 20:36 a night for the last four games. With no fewer than eight players on the injury list for Toronto, Bozak has a chance to stick on this volatile but mostly productive line. Six points in his last five games is encouraging and eventually goals may start coming too as Lupul and Kessel allow Bozak to get a few more opportunities. The 58.5% frequency EV and 73.2% on the man advantage indicate this line will last into Week 7 and maybe a little beyond.
Zack Smith, C, Ottawa Senators – Centers are a bit of a theme this week but the Ottawa pivot is beginning to get some notice. Now his point total stands only at ten, but he does have three points in his last three games. Smith’s effort has been noticed by his teammates and media alike. With the struggles of Stephane Da Costa, Smith could finally see more power play time in Week 7. Smith is currently matched with Erik Kondra and Kaspars Daugavins at a 25.2% frequency in the last week. If Zack Smith moves up with Daniel Alfredsson and Nick Foligno then expect a modest bump in production. It is something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.
Lead Us Defenders……
Zdeno Chara, D, Boston Bruins – Sometimes we have to do the very obvious and this is the case here. Chara has four points in his last four games and comes off a game Saturday where he was rested a bit (21:58 TOI). Considering he was averaging around 27 minutes a night the last four contests, the rest should bode well for him this week. His 60.4% frequency on the power play is up from the early weeks of the year and should continue to remain steady which is great news for fantasy owners. The Boston defense has been a bit hampered by injuries as Chara’s 53.2% frequency on even strength suggests but that number was down a bit from the week before. A little rest now and then helps Chara owners down the road. Keep a keen eye on his percentages and ATOI from here on out.
Nick Leddy, D, Chicago Blackhawks – Of all the people in the Chicago defensive corps anyone expected to step up in the absence of Brent Seabrook, it was supposed to be Duncan Keith right? Well that answer was wrong. What has been strange is Chicago is 12-6-3 despite some underwhelming performances from their defense. This is what makes Leddy and his fantasy rise more surprising. The 20 year old is seeing advancements in time and frequency. Overall he has 15 points in 21 games on the year. He has four points in his last three games and defensively has been steady at a +4 (even this week). Leddy now sees 26.9% of the PP time and that number is expected to go up. Add in the 55% of frequency on even strength and Chicago likes this kid. Expect those numbers to stay steady in Week 7.
Brian Campbell, D, Florida Panthers – The Dale Tallon experiment has worked pretty well so far in Florida and the biggest beneficiary may just be Brian Campbell. The lowered expectations of Florida may be partially the reason but 18 points in 19 games clearly is an indication that the old Campbell has returned. He does play an astounding 72.9% of the time on the man advantage and 46.7% on even strength. That translates to an ATOI of 26:55 and even though he is 32, he does not look a bit over 25. Can this continue? No one knows that answer but playing younger guys like Dmitri Kulikov and Jason Garrison (more at EV) makes it possible for the foreseeable future.
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