NHL Fantasy Hockey Pool Strategy Guide

Hot and Cold

Welcome to Hot and Cold: the article that shines a spotlight on the latest performance trends in fantasy hockey. To start, here’s who’s hot…

Joffrey Lupul (TOR – L) and Nazem Kadri (TOR – C) Since returning from injury, Lupul has tallied at least a point in every game.  Although his scoring streak is only at six games, the point total over that span is impressive: 13 points.  His line-mate Kadri is reaping the benefits (or is it the other way around?).  Since Lupul’s return on March 16th, Kadri has 14 points – including his second career hat trick on March 30th.

The Minnesota Wild – Ever since the midway mark of the shortened 2013 season, the Wild have found cohesion and now look like a serious contender from the Western Conference.  Zach Parise (15 points in the last 12 games), Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter (now 1st in D scoring) lead the charge, but the team’s third line of Matt Cullen, Devon Setoguchi and Pierre-Marc Bouchard - as well as goaltender Niklas Backstrom – have been lighting it up too.  We’ve delved into their exploits in our news headlines and strategy articles over the past three weeks, so suffice it to say: all are currently fantasy relevant.

Alex Ovechkin (WAS – L) Guess who’s back in the top-20 in NHL scoring?  That’s right.  Just when the naysayers were nay-saying their loudest, Ovechkin has gotten hot over the past two weeks, putting up 14 points in his last 9 games.  His “new” line-mate Nicklas Backstrom has 9 points over that same span. 

James Reimer (TOR – G) Reimer has re-taken the reigns of the starting job in Toronto and, plain and simple, it’s because he’s winning.  The team that Brian Burke built (#rehirebrianburke) is primed for its first playoff appearance since 2004, and Reimer will be the man between the pipes.  He’s 10-1-4 in his last 15 games. 

Now, let’s turn our attention to a group of players frustrating fantasy owners…

 

COLD

Marian Gaborik (NYR – R) What is going on in New York?  The team that made it all the way to the Conference Finals last year, is 3-6-1 in its last ten games, and barely hanging on to the final playoff spot in the East.  Gaborik has gone ice cold, with just 2 goals in his last 20 games.  Saturday he was demoted to the Blue Shirts’ fourth line.  Without Gaborik’s offensive leadership, the Rangers are more likely to miss the playoffs this year than make a run at the Cup. 

*Note:  just when the Rangers were looking more solid thanks to their patience in developing talent from within, they traded away two key components to that (Dubinksy, Anisimov) in exchange for another superstar brought in via trade or free agency.  It’s a strategy that Sather has been using unsuccessfully in New York for years (Theo Fleury, Bure, Gaborik, Richards, Nash, etc.).

Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk (STL – D) Despite it being a contract year for both, Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk have gone soft of late.  They both had great starts to 2013, but since February 15th they each have just 7 points in 19 games.  GMs that employ separate starters on defense are hoping for an offensive outburst, but this duo may fall victim to the shortened season.  They’re running out of time to get their offense back up to the statistical norm.

Nathan Horton (BOS – R) and Milan Lucic (BOS – L) Ten goals on the season for Horton isn’t bad, but two points in his last seven games, as well as just 18 total points are disappointments.  Milan Lucic has just two points over that same seven game span, and just five goals on the year.  What is going on here?  The answer is that the Bruins’ top line of Seguin, Bergeron and Marchand are making the most of their offensive opportunities, and receiving more because of it.  Horton, Lucic and Krejci make up a terrific second line in “real” hockey, but in the fantasy world they’re languishing.

Justin Schultz (EDM – D – Rookie) The year started with so much promise, but Schultz is starting to show his lack of experience and the grind of the NHL schedule is getting to him.  His assist on March 30th was his first point in 9 games, and only his third in 14.

There you have our latest Hot and Cold, login to post your thoughts and comments.