Looking Ahead: Backlund Won’t Backfire

by Mike Schmidt on January 6, 2017 | (2 Comments)

Backlund and the Flames have a great upcoming schedule and more thoughts for the week ahead.

 

All fantasy owners need help in the short term AND the long term. The Looking Ahead feature identifies one player to plug into lineups in the short term, a second to invest in for the long term, a third to bench for the coming week and a fourth who will struggle to meet expectations for some time. All players discussed are selected based on their team’s upcoming schedule. Without further ado…

 

The Immediate Fix (Grab this guy and use him for the next several days)

 

Ivan Provorov, D, Philadelphia (Available in 73 percent of Yahoo leagues) - One of the top blueliners in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Provorov seems to be everything a team would look for in an offensive-minded defenseman. He can score. He can skate. He’s intelligent beyond his years. So… can he help fantasy owners in the short term? Sure. While he’s hardly scoring in bunches, Provorov is a high-upside rookie who is contributing just enough to be considered as a plug-and-play option in the majority of leagues. Perhaps more importantly, he’s starting to see more action on the power play as the season has gone on (especially since fellow d-man Mark Streit went out with a shoulder injury). Yes, it’d be nice if he shot a little more (67 shots on goal through 40 games played), but good blueline help is difficult to come by via the waiver wire. Philadelphia’s schedule in the coming days makes Provorov a decent pickup, and he’s one hot streak away from being a regularly useful player in fantasy. 

 

The Building Block (Buy now, sit back and enjoy the production)

 

Mikael Backlund, C, Calgary (Available in 67 percent of Yahoo leagues) - If the 27-year-old Flames forward seems like he’s been around for forever, it’s because he more or less has been around forever. Backlund, Calgary’s first-round selection in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, broke into the league in 2008-09 at just 19 years of age. Offensive production has never really been his calling card, as his 47 points, a year ago, marked a career high. However, he’s always played with a maturity beyond his years and displayed an ability to play tough minutes effectively. Now Backlund’s seeing more than two minutes of power play time per game per game for the first time in his career, and he’s a decent bet to crack the 50-point barrier in 2016-17. Nine points in his past four games has put him on the fantasy radar and makes him an interesting speculative add. He’s showing some great chemistry with linemate and standout rookie winger Matthew Tkachuk (who appeared in last week’s article under the “Building Block” section). Give Backlund a look, as it looks like he’s potentially building off of last year’s banner campaign.

 

The Odd Man Out (His short-term value is cause for concern)

 

Nazem Kadri, C, Toronto (Owned in 64 percent of Yahoo leagues) - This centerman has been a sneaky good fantasy option this season. He just keeps scoring goals (14 on the year thus far). In fact, Kadri is already two-thirds of the way toward establishing a career high in goals scored through 37 games played. That being said, this Toronto pivot is never going to be confused with Auston Matthews. He’s very much a player whose defensive contributions eclipse anything he accomplishes on his opponent’s end of the ice. To put it another way, he has just one season where he reached the 50-point mark. Any and all fantasy owners who currently roster Kadri are smart for doing so, but he is, was (and likely always will be) a replaceable fantasy asset. Also, with Toronto’s schedule coming up, he’s a fantasy asset who should not be in the vast majority of active lineups.

 

The Anchor (He’ll do nothing but disappoint, even over the long haul)

 

Marian Hossa, RW, Chicago (Owned in 80 percent of Yahoo leagues) -  Hossa was a very great fantasy option for a really long time. No longer, though. Last season he totaled a modest 33 points in 64 games, and it proved to be one of the least productive campaigns of his illustrious career. The veteran winger has bounced back this year by scoring 16 goals in 34 games played prior to sustaining an upper-body injury on Dec. 20. However, his impressive production can largely be attributed to a ridiculously high 20.8 shooting percentage and an unsustainable 105.0 PDO. Things are breaking just a little too right for Hossa this far this season (well, until his untimely injury right before Christmas). Sure, he’s potted some goals this year. But Hossa is shooting less and less every year, is on pace for roughly 15 assists this season and is playing less than 18 minutes per game for just the third time since the 1999-200 campaign. Prepare for disappointment in the season’s second half.

 

Love ‘Em (These squads are sure to pay dividends in the coming days)

 

Calgary - The Flames will take to the ice six times between Friday, Jan. 6 and Saturday, Jan .14. The stretch will include back-to-back games against the unassuming Vancouver Canucks and a home matchup against the Taylor Hall-less New Jersey Devils. The going should be (quite) good Calgary in the short term.

 

Philadelphia - Fantasy owners can’t argue with the volume of games afforded the Flyers between Saturday, Jan. 7 and Sunday, Jan. 1t. Yes, the matchups could be easier (versus Tampa Bay, at Columbus, at Buffalo, versus Vancouver, at Boston and at Washington), but the opportunities for fantasy production will be there.

 

Edmonton - Starting Tuesday, Jan. 10, the Oilers will take to the ice for six consecutive games at home. Also during that same stretch, Edmonton doesn’t have more than one night off between appearances. All the home cooking should pay off for Connor McDavid and Co. during this time.

 

Anaheim - Nothing says “advantageous schedule” more than three straight games at home followed by a road matchup against the perpetually underwhelming Colorado Avalanche.  Starting Friday, Jan. 6,, there will be a reality check in store for the Ducks.

 

Leave ‘Em (These squads will leave fantasy owners sorely disappointed in the short term)

 

New York Rangers  - The necessary volume of games just won’t be there for the Rangers in the near future. After traveling to Columbus to take on the extremely hot Blue Jackets, New York will be given five consecutive days off. What else is there to know?

 

Colorado - Should The Avs be in the “Leave ‘Em” section every week? Probably… Also, after they host the New York Islanders on Friday, Jan. 6, the team will be off the ice for five straight days.

 

Toronto - On Saturday, Jan. 7, the Leafs will host Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens. Then they’ll be off for five consecutive days. Sense a theme?

 

Chicago - Two of their upcoming games are against the always-tough Nashville Predators and the Braden Holtby-led Washington Capitals. Simply stated, many other squads have it easier in the coming days.

 

 

Friday, January 6 Thursday, January 12

Best Bets

Calgary 4.44 - four games - VANx2, WPG and SJS

Philadelphia 4.40 - four games - TBL, CBJ, BUF and VAN

Anaheim 4.35 - four games - three at home

New Jersey 4.20 - four games - three at home

Nashville 4.07 - four games - FLA, CHI, VAN and BOS

Steer Clear

New York Rangers 1.05 - one game - CBJ on road

Toronto 1.80 - two games - NJD and MTL

Arizona 1.86 - two games - ANA and NYI

Colorado 1.94 - two games - NYI and ANA

Minneaota 2.46 - three games - two on road

Saturday, January 7 to Friday, January 13

Best Bets

Philadelphia 4.40 - four games - TBL, CBJ, BUF and VAN

Calgary 4.30 - four games - three at home

Buffalo 4.25 - four games - WPG, PHI, TBL and CAR

Winnipeg 4.23 - four games - BUF, CGY, MTL and ARI

Columbus 4.15 - four games - NYR, PHI, CAR and TBL

Steer Clear

Colorado 0.89 - one game - ANA

Toronto 1.84 - two games - MTL and NYR

New York Rangers 2.20 - two games - CBJ and TOR

Arizona 2.21 - two games - NYI and WPG

Minnesota 2.46 - three games - two on road

Sunday, January 8 to Saturday, January 14

Best Bets

Carolina 4.46 - four games - all at home

Philadelphia 4.35 - four games - CBJ, BUF, VAN and BOS

Nashville 4.26 - four games - CHI, VAN, BOS and COL

Edmonton 4.24 - four games - three at home

Anaheim 4.23 - four games - MIN, DAL, COL and ATL

Steer Clear

Colorado 1.84 - two games - ANA and NSH

Vancouver 1.60 - two games - both on road

New York Rangers 1.96 - two games - TOR and MTL

Toronto 2.04 - two games - both on road

Arizona 2.05 - two games - WPG and ANA

Monday, January 9 to Sunday, January 15

Best Bets

Anaheim 4.29 - four games - DAL, COL, ARI and STL

New Jersey 4.13 - four games - FLA, EDM, CGY and VAN

Philadelphia 4.06 - four games - BUF, VAN, BOS and WAS

Florida 4.06 - four games - NJD, NYIx2 and CBJ

Calgary 4.04 - four games - WPG, SJS, NJD and EDM

Steer Clear

Toronto 2.04 - two games - both on road

Colorado 1.84 - two games - ANA and NSH

Ottawa 2.05 - two games - PIT and TOR

New York Rangers 1.96 - two games - TOR and MTL

Arizona 2.05 - two games - WPG and ANA

Tuesday, January 10 to Monday, January 16

Best Bets

Edmonton 4.41 - four games - all at home

Buffalo 4.25 - four games - PHI, TBL, CAR and DAL

San Jose 4.14 - four games - EDM, CGY, STL and WPG

Anaheim 4.29 - four games - DAL, COL, ARI and STL

Philadelphia 4.06 - four games - BUF, VAN, BOS and WAS

Steer Clear

Colorado 1.84 - two games - ANA and NSH

New York Rangers 1.96 - two games - TOR and MTL

Toronto 2.04 - two games - both on road

Ottawa 2.05 - two games - PIT and TOR

Chicago 2.70 - three games - DET, WAS and MIN

Wednesday, January 11 to Tuesday, January 17

Best Bets

Florida 4.20 - four games - NYIx2, CBJ and CGY

Buffalo 4.20 - four games - TBL, CAR, DAL and TOR

Anaheim 4.18 - four games - COL, ARI, STL and TBL

New Jersey 3.99 - four games - EDM, CGY, VAN and MIN

Dallas 3.94 - four games - DET, MIN, BUF and NYR

Steer Clear

Chicago 2.70 - three games - two on road

Colorado 2.78 - three games - ANA, NSH and CHI

Detroit 2.83 - three games - DAL, PIT and MTL

Ottawa 2.90 - three games - PIT, TOR and STL

Vancouver 2.94 - three games - PHI, NJD and NSH

Thursday, January 12 to Wednesday, January 18

Best Bets

Edmonton 4.36 - four games - all at home

Florida 4.25 - four games - NYI, CBJ, CGY and EDM

Buffalo 4.20 - four games - TBL, CAR, DAL and TOR

Anaheim 4.18 - four games - COL, ARI, STL and TBL

Los Angeles 4.15 - four games - all at home

Steer Clear

Chicago 2.70 - three games - two on road

Colorado 2.78 - three games - ANA, NSH and CHI

Washington 2.86 - three games - CHI, PHI and PIT

San Jose 2.86 - three games - STL, WPG and LAK

New York Islanders 2.90 - three games - two on road

 

  • Mike Schmidt

    I wouldn’t drop Ghost or OEL for Trouba or Muzzin. I also like them more than Niskanen and Vatanen, but I get your thought thinking. OEL, Niskanen, Vatanen and Ghost have all provided somewhat similar numbers this year, so I could see making a move if an injury occurs to one or both of your guys. Barring that, though? I’d sit tight.

  • ari485

    I’m thinking what your opinion on ghost and OEL is ROS, I have him but guys like trouba, muzzin, niskanen, vatanen are sitting on the wire. My league is a points league with the cats: G/A/PPP/SHP/GWG/+-/SOG/HIT/BLK/PIM

    Thanks! Love the write-ups

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