Looking Ahead: Evander Kane Wielding a Hot Stick

by Adam Daly-Frey on February 24, 2017 | (0 Comments)

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 upcoming schedule.

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

Evander Kane, LW, Buffalo Sabres (Available in 47 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Hot players can sometimes stay hot, and there might not be a player getting quietly hotter than Evander Kane; in his last five games, Kane has picked up 5 goals and an assist while firing 14 shots on goal. In peripheral stats leagues, Kane also offers a small boost in Hits (85 on the year) and PIM (79 on the year).  The reason Kane has picked up his scoring as of late is a large part of his improved linemates – Kane has never really earned Coach Dan Bylsma’s trust, but is now playing on a scoring line with Jack Eichel. Eichel is obviously a huge improvement over his previous centres, Brian Gionta and Zemgus Girgensons. Look for Kane to continue hitting the twine with a soft schedule coming up.

 

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

Mikko Koivu, C, Minnesota (Available in 47 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – The fact that Mikko Koivu is only 53% owned in Yahoo leagues is almost horrifying; the Finn has picked up 46 points on the year (17G-29A) to go along with average peripheral stats, but his power play production has had a significant increase this season under Bruce Boudreau. The line of Koivu – Granlund – Zucker have scored at least once in four of their last five, and when Koivu has played with Mikael Granlund this season (753 minutes together) they’ve amassed 368 Scoring Chances For (56.79%). Bruce Boudreau has worked to keep that line together, and with a now-potent offense in Minnesota, Koivu will hit the 60-point mark with the upside for more. In salary cap leagues he can be avoided, but in one-years Koivu is a far better choice than some of the players who are more highly owned such as Joe Thornton or Jonathan Toews.

 

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

Sami Vatanen, D, Anaheim (Owned in 57 percent of Yahoo! Leagues) – Until a recent assist picked up against the slump-busting Coyotes, Vatanen had gone 11 straight games without picking up a point – in calendar days, it was actually 40 days between points as Vatanen had been battling both healthy scratches and minor injury. With the emergence of Josh Manson, Brandon Montour and Shea Theodore, and the career year from Cam Fowler, there just isn’t much room for Vatanen as the number one power play quarterback spot he was supposed to fill. Hang on to Vatanen until the trade deadline passes in case he moves to a more desirable spot.

 

The Anchors (They’ll do nothing but disappoint even over the long haul)

Milan Lucic, LW, Edmonton (Owned in 75 percent of Yahoo! Leagues)Milan Lucic on the year:

  • 12G-20A-32Pts 34PIM-120SOG-148Hit-14Blk

Compare that to these two players with similar ownership

  • Player A: 4G-28A-32Pts 26PIM-113SOG-105Hit-75Blk
  • Player B: 7G-21A-28Pts 20PIM-110SOG-107Hit-122Blk

Player A is a defenseman, Matt Niskanen (79%) who’s been a PP1/PP2 tweener in Washington all year. Player B is Stanley Cup-winning goal scorer Alec Martinez (74%), a 2nd-pairing defenseman that plays on the PP2 in Los Angeles.

This comparison was more than anything to show that the value of Milan Lucic is replaceable by mid-level defensemen. Without riding shotgun with Connor McDavid as was expected in September, Lucic lacks the point ceiling that 75% of Yahoo players bought into at the start of the year; a large portion of the BC native’s points were accrued in a six-game stretch playing with McDavid, when Lucic potted 2G-8A in those six games. Just under a third of his scoring speaks to how inconsistent he’s been the rest of the year.

Lucic’s best forward comparable, by the way? Chris Kunitz at 9G-17A-26Pts 28PIM-100SOG-165Hit-16Blk…and only 41% owned. Especially in cap leagues, this is a move that has to be made.

 

 

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

Buffalo – Although their bottom-six has been a mess all season, Sabres fantasy owners have been rejoicing in the second half with a basically fully healthy team, and the re-re-resurgence of Evander Kane. Look for that to continue this week, as the Swords have seven games upcoming including not one but TWO games against the hapless Coyotes.

Pittsburgh – Any time the highest-scoring team in hockey gets a soft six-game schedule with no back-to-backs, with games against the Jets and Stars…expect to Love ‘Em. Although their last two games were slower-paced (against Carolina and Detroit), the Penguins had put up 30 or more SOG in nine straight games, and put up 33 goals in those 9 games. In higher-paced matchups (like against the Stars), the Penguins’ fantasy potential will be at an all-time high.

Carolina – The Hurricanes are sitting at the bottom of the East in the standings, and are a bottom-5 team in terms of Goals For, but it’s not all bleak – during their next 13 days, the Canes play seven times but importantly have a three game stretch against the Coyotes (home/road split) and the Avs. Look for the power play guys to make some noise for Carolina.

 

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

Anaheim – Hitting their bye week from the 26th to March 2nd, the Ducks have four games between today and March 8th, including one against a healthy Predators squad. More importantly, the Ducks have a 4-point game against the best shot suppression and fifth-best GA team in the league, the Kings.

Detroit – The Red Wings are still on their bye this weekend, and upon return get to face a five-game road trip that includes a three-game swing through Western Canada. Although their matchups are somewhat easy on their face, Detroit is 6th-worst in Road Goals Against (skip out on using Petr Mrazek) and 10th-worst in Goals For on the road.

Winnipeg – Another team that was featured here last week, the Jets are also on the tail end of their bye week, but unlike Detroit the Jets will kick off a long home-stand. Unfortunately, two of their five total games between today and March 8th will come against the 2nd and 3rd best teams in the league (MIN and PIT respectively), as well as two tough outs vs. the Sharks and a Blues team that’s been hot of late.

 

Friday, February 24th to Thursday, March 2nd

Best Bets

Buffalo 4.54 - Four games - Away COL, ARI - Home NAS, ARI

Florida 4.45 - Four games - Away PHI - Home CAL, OTT, CAR

Dallas 4.36 - Four games - Home ARI, BOS, PIT, NYI

Arizona 4.29 - Four games - Away DAL, BOS, BUF - Home BUF

Ottawa 4.25 - Four games - Away CAR, FLA, TB - Home COL

Steer Clear

Anaheim 0.81 - One game - Away LA

Winnipeg 0.84 - One game - Home MIN

Detroit 1.05 - One game - Away VAN

St. Louis 1.90 - Two games - Away CHI - Home EDM

NY Islanders 1.95 - Two games - Away CBJ, DAL

Saturday, February 25th to Friday, March 3rd

Best Bets

Buffalo 4.54 - Four games - Away COL, ARI - Home NAS, ARI

Carolina 4.42 - Four games - Away FLA, TB - Home CAL, ARI

Pittsburgh 4.35 - Four games - Away DAL, CHI - Home PHI, TB

Arizona 4.20 - Four games - Away BOS, BUF, CAR - Home BUF

Los Angeles 3.90 - Four games - Away MIN, CAL - Home ANA, TOR

Steer Clear

Anaheim 1.86 - Two games - Away LA - Home TOR

Edmonton 1.95 - Two games - Away NAS, STL

Winnipeg 2.00 - Two games - Home MIN, STL

Detroit 2.14 - Two games - Away VAN, CAL

New Jersey 2.65 - Three games - Away WAS - Home NYR, MTL

Sunday, February 26th to Saturday, March 4th

Best Bets

Florida 4.51 - Four games - Away PHI - Home OTT, CAR, DAL

Buffalo 4.50 - Four games - Away ARI - Home NAS, ARI, TB

Boston 4.50 - Four games - Away DAL - Home ARI, NYR, NJ

Carolina 4.42 - Four games - Away FLA, TB - Home CAL, ARI

Arizona 4.20 - Four games - Away BOS, BUF, CAR - Home BUF

Steer Clear

Anaheim 1.05 - One game - Home TOR

NY Islanders 2.04 - Two games - Away DAL, CHI

San Jose 2.21 - Two games - Home TOR, VAN

Toronto 2.52 - Three games - Away SJ, LA, ANA

New Jersey 2.60 - Three games - Away WAS, BOS - Home MTL

Monday, February 27th to Sunday, March 5th

Best Bets

Carolina 4.35 - Four games - Away FLA, TB, ARI - Home ARI

Pittsburgh 4.3 - Four games - Away DAL, CHI - Home TB, BUF

Colorado 4.29 - Four games - Away PHI, OTT, WPG - Home STL

Buffalo 4.26 - Four games - Away PIT - Home NAS, ARI, TB

Arizona 4.20 - Four games - Away BOS BUF, CAR - Home CAR

Steer Clear

Toronto 2.52 - Three games - Away SJ, LA, ANA

Edmonton 2.2 - Two games - Away STL - Home DET

NY Rangers 2.68 - Three games - Away BOS - Home WAS, MTL

Anaheim 2.21 - Two games - Home TOR, VAN

Nashville 2.85 - Three games - Away BUF, MTL - Home CHI

Tuesday, February 28th to Monday, March 6th

Best Bets

Washington 4.47 - Four games - Away NYR -  Home NJ, PHI, DAL

Pittsburgh 4.3 - Four games - Away DAL, CHI - Home TB, BUF

Colorado 4.29 - Four games - Away PHI, OTT, WPG - Home STL

Carolina 4.35 - Four games - Away FLA, TB, ARI - Home ARI

Buffalo 4.26 - Four games - Away PIT - Home NAS, ARI, TB

Steer Clear

Edmonton 2.2 - Two games - Away STL - Home DET

Anaheim 2.21 - Two games - Home TOR, VAN

Toronto 2.52 - Three games - Away SJ, LA, ANA

New Jersey 2.60 - Three games - Away WAS, BOS - Home CBJ

Montreal 2.79 - Three games - Away NYR - Home CBJ, NAS

Wednesday, March 1st to Tuesday, March 7th

Best Bets

Carolina 4.54 - Four games - Away TB, ARI, COL - Home ARI

Buffalo 4.47 - Four games - Away PIT - Home ARI, TB, PHI

Colorado 4.35 - Four games - Away OTT, WPG - Home STL, CAR

Tampa Bay 4.10 - Four games - Away PIT, BUF - Home CAR, NYR

NY Islanders 4.04 - Four games - Away DAL, CHI, CAL, EDM

Steer Clear

Calgary 2.20 - Two games - Home DET, NYI

Edmonton 2.20 - Two games - Away STL - Home DET

Los Angeles 2.21 - Two games - Home TOR, VAN

Nashville 2.71 - Three games - Away MTL, ANA - Home CHI

Dallas 2.76 - Three games - Away FLA,WAS - Home NYI

Thursday, March 2nd to Wednesday, March 8th

Best Bets

Buffalo 4.47 - Four games - Away PIT - Home ARI, TB, PHI

Colorado 4.35 - Four games - Away OTT, WPG - Home STL, CAR

Ottawa 4.34 - Four games - Away DAL - Home COL, CBJ, BOS

Winnipeg 4.31 -  Four games - Home STL, COL, SJ, PIT

Boston 4.16 - Four games - Away OTT - Home NYR, NJ, DET

Steer Clear

Chicago 1.95 - Two games - Away NAS - Home NYI

Calgary 2.20 - Two games - Home DET, NYI

Edmonton 2.20 - Two games - Away STL - Home DET

Los Angeles 2.21 - Two games - Home TOR, VAN

Nashville 2.71 - Three games - Away MTL, ANA - Home CHI

 

You can follow me on Twitter @adalyfrey

 

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