Fantasy Six Pack: About A Beaver, A Pickle And A Rat
Welcome to this week’s edition of Fantasy Six Pack. Fantasy Six Pack In Week 7 we take a look at each position and suggest five players you might want add to your team. We than pick a sixth player that we don’t see paying poolies immediate dividends but we expect will be helpful down the road. We hope you find these articles useful and gain a competitive advantage over your opponents. Feel free to discuss omissions and critique our selections in the comments section. We love discussion here at PuckPuckGoose.com.
Matt Read, Center/Right Wing, Philadelphia Flyers
Who? It’s okay if you don’t know who Matt Read is, after all only 16% of Yahoo! leagues know of him. The 25 year old, Bernidji State Beaver alumnus is playing in his second year of pro hockey and his first NHL season. In 11 games this season, he’s tallied 13 points (7-6-13) playing on the Flyers’ third line. Read started the season playing both the point on the power play and up front on the penalty kill. After a lack of production on the first unit, (2 power play points in 6/7 games) he was dropped from the power play entirely and used as a primary penalty killer. Read is a good all-round producer, he puts up points while playing physical. He averages one block shot and two hits a game while consistently being a plus player. His dual eligibility doesn’t hurt either.
Honourable Mentions: Alex Burmistrov (WPG), Derek Stephan (NYR) and Adam Henrique (NJD)
Brooks Laich, Center/Left Wing, Washington Capitals
Another dual eligible player, Laich is another multi-faceted player that contributes in all categories. Laich is the picture of consistency, in each of the last three season he has tallied 30+ assists, 45+ points, averaged close to 200 shots, takes the body and is willing to block shots. If you’re worried about Laich’s limited ice-time because he center’s the third line, don’t fret. Laich plays a lot. He plays on the power play and on the penalty kill. He’s averaged more time on ice per game in the month of November than Alex Ovechkin in all but 3 games. In 18 games this season, Laich has tallied 11 points (3-8-11) and he’s never gone more than 3 games without a point but when he’s not scoring you know he’ll be getting you faceoff wins, hits and block shots.
Honourable Mentions: Ray Whitney (PHX), Chris Kunitz (PIT) and Viktor Stalberg (CHI)
Martin Erat, Right Wing, Nashville Predators
Erat only has 9 points (5-4-9) in 11 games. Wait a second … Erat has 9 points in 11 games and he’s only owned by 18% of Yahoo! leagues. More people own Rene Bourque (6-0-6) and Chris Stewart (3-2-5). No offense to Chris Stewart or Bourque, both are 50 point producers and off to slow starts but Erat has 7 49+ point seasons under his belt. In 11 games this season, Erat has gone been held off the score sheet twice, once in October and once in November, that stat most likely won’t hold up much longer and its worth noting that Erat’s longest scoring drought in the last 3 years was 9 games back in 2008-09. Since then he’s had two 5-game droughts in 2009-10. If you do pick up Erat from waivers, be weary of his injury history as he’s played less than 75 games in each of the last 3 seasons.
Honourable Mentions: Bryan Little (WPG), David Clarkson (NJD) and Jakub Voracek (PHI)
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Defense, San Jose Sharks
Entering Week 6, Vlasic only had 4 points (1-3-4) in his first 15 games at the end of Week 6, Vlasic now has 11 points (2-9-11) in 17 games and now leads the Sharks blueline in points. Vlasic tallied an impressive 7 points in 3 games over 4 nights but more impressive than that, is that he only tallied points in 2 of the 3 Shark’s games. In a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, Vlasic factored in on 4 goals. He scored the game-winning goal in the second period, was credited with 2 secondary assists and 1 primary assist on the night. On Sunday’s 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche, Vlasic was credited with the primary assist on each one of Patrick Marleau’ s 3 goals. Vlasic has ability to put up points, he’s done it before. He ended the 2008-09 season with 36 points and more than half his points came on the power play (21). After two disappointing fantasy season, Vlasic looks like he’s back and ready to contribute as a 4-5 defensemen on any fantasy team.
Honourable Mentions: Jared Spurgeon (MIN), Slava Voynov (LAK) and Eric Brewer (TBL)
Curtis Sanford, Goaltender, Columbus Blue Jackets
I know, I know. Columbus is 28th in goals against and 27th in goals for, so why pick up Sanford? Because Columbus is a better team when Sanford is in net than when Steve Mason is. It’s early, like two games played early but Sanford and Columbus have played well in both their games this weekend. Sanford is sporting a 1-0-1 record with a 1.65 GAA and a .933 Sv%. On the flip side, Mason has a 3-16-0 record with a 3.63 GAA and a .875 Sv%. In all of Mason’s wins, he only allowed one goal, in Sanford’s only win this season, he allowed three goals. The difference between the two is when the team needs a key save, Sanford has made those saves while Mason has let them in. The current situation in Columbus is no different than the situation in Toronto last year, when the team player better in front of Reimer than they did Gustavsson. Reimer played with confidence and battled every night, even after letting in bad goals he fought through the rest of the game and his team rallied behind him. Mason struggles aren’t new but they typically show up midway through the season or near the end, this year though, they were front and center. It’s early but Sanford has faced two playoff contenders and has played well but he’s never been a number one goalie and how he does over the long haul is questionable. In the meantime though, Sanford and the Blue Jackets are playing well, pick him up and ride him while he’s hot but don’t hold onto him if the team starts to struggle again.
Honourable Mentions: Jacob Markstrom (FLR), Tomas Greiss (SJS) and Ben Scrivens (TOR)
David Perron, St. Louis Blues, Left Wing
Late last week it was announce Perron was cleared for contact. Great news for the left winger after being away from the game for a full year. It’ll still be some time before her returns to the Blues’ lineup and the young winger is taking it very slowly but when he’s healthy he’s shown he knows how to put the puck in the net. When he returns to the Blues’ lineup, Hitchcock will likely start him out on the second or third line until he’s up to speed. At which point whether Perron plays with Berglund or Backes will depend on how the team is doing. If the top line of Steen-Backes-Oshie continue to click, he’ll stay on the second, if they are struggling expect to see Perron play lots of time on the first line and on the first unit of the power play. Perron likely won’t break 50 points this season but don’t be surprised to see him come close. If you have an open IR slot, picking up Perron and holding onto him until he returns could pay dividends for you two or three weeks down the road.
Honourable Mentions: Andrei Kostisyn (MON), R.J. Umberger (CBJ) and Travis Zajac (NJD)