Week 13 was a fun one, especially with a great Winter Classic in the rain. Like many of you, I always enjoy watching the big outdoor games. Week 13 is almost over, however, so it’s time to start planning for Week 14. Here’s what to look out for and advice on how to help you prepare your fantasy squad for Week 14 and beyond.
As was being speculated, The New York Islanders traded 41-year old Dwayne Roloson this past week. He is going to none other than the team that had Evgeni Nabokov rumors flying around them: the Tampa Bay Lightning. Rollie instantly goes from being a decent goalie on a last place team that you’d rather not have on your fantasy squad to waiver-wire gold if he is still available. His first game was a huge success in a 41-save shutout over the Washington Caps. His next game, however, didn’t fare so well, as he allowed five goals on 23 shots. Dan Ellis didn’t play any better though, as the team was embarrassed in a 8-1 loss to the Penguins. No one could find their game that night, not even Steven Stamkos. It’s Rollie and Ellis right now with Mike Smith on the shelf with an knee injury, but it will be interesting to see what happens when Smith returns. My money would be on Smith to be the odd man out, partially due to his recent run of injuries.
The Dallas Stars announced on Friday that they have brought back old fan-favorite Jamie Langenbrunner from the New Jersey Devils for a conditional draft pick. With Dallas already having perhaps one of the best top-6 groups in the league, Langenbrunner should provide some good secondary scoring from most likely the third line. Where he will probably be best used for fantasy purposes will be on the power play, as the Stars have been lacking a talented right-handed shot for a long time, making him instantly valuable in that regard. With the elephant that was New Jersey this year off of his back, I’d expect Jamie’s numbers to eventually go up, especially in the power-play points category.
In another move by Tampa Bay, the Lightning have signed power-play specialist, though often defensive liability, defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron. Since he has not played a game yet this year, the Lightning took a chance by sending him through waivers to allow him to get extended conditioning down in the minors. Once Bergeron is deemed ready to join the NHL (possibly as long as two or three weeks), he will most likely be instantly inserted into a power-play capacity. Since defensive play isn’t regarded in fantasy hockey, he could definitely be worth looking at when he finally joins the team as he has a knack for scoring big goals from the point. In fact, his 27 goals over the past two seasons are fourth most by a d-man despite missing time with injuries. With the talent that he will be surrounded with on the power play, he could be a big second half addition to teams in need of blueline help.
It looks like the three-headed monster that was the Philadelphia Flyers’ goalie situation is finally down to the standard two goalies, with Michael Leighton the odd man out even though he is finally ready to return from injury. With the Flyers finding no immediate suitors for him, Leighton was waived by the club before landing in the AHL with the Flyers’ minor league affiliate. Elder statesman Brian Boucher and the talented, young rookie Sergei Bobrovsky will now man the nets for Philly possibly for the rest fo the season. All is not lost for Leighton, though, as there is still a chance he can be sent through re-entry waivers and could be picked up for half-price by another club in need, but it’s looking more and more likely that Leighton will have to hone his skills down in the minors for the remainder of the season. Tough break, but everyone knew something was going to have to be done eventually.
Tampa Bay received a boost to their lineup on Tuesday as Steve Downie finally made his return to the lineup. He has failed to register a point in the two games he has played in since returning, but he has provided 9 PIM. He is one of the best points + PIM combo guys in fantasy hockey, so definitely get him back into your lineups.
Chris Stewart is making progress with his broken hand injury, as he was stick-handling in practice on Thursday. He is still probably a week or more away from actually returning, but get ready to insert him back into your lineup when he returns. He is one of the most skilled players on the Avalanche’s roster and has the propensity to near the top of the pack in the goals category when healthy.
I mentioned in Week 13 that Ryan Getzlaf’s facial injury didn’t seem as bad as it was and could return soon. Well, shortly after that the official news was revealed, it was not nearly as good as first thought. Getz still does not require surgery, but was given a 4 to 6 week timetable for his return. That means Getzlaf will most likely be out until February.
Jordan Eberle sure had one crazy week. Not only did he suffer an ankle injury, but he also had to be rushed to the hospital on Wednesday for an emergency appendectomy. He will be at least another week. Talented rookie Linus Omark is back in the lineup in Eberle’s absence.
And finally, not only does the best player hockey lose his 25-game point streak (24g-26a-50pts) and loses in the Winter Classic, but Sidney Crosby is going to be out about a week because of a concussion. No one seems exactly sure if he incurred it during the Winter Classic or in the following game versus Tampa Bay, but the point remains that those lucky enough to have Crosby on their roster will be without him for at least for the first part of Week 14.
Here is the weekly breakdown for this upcoming week, January 10 – 16:
4 GAMES: Boston, Edmonton, Nashville, NY Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Phoenix, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington
3 GAMES: Anaheim, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, NY Islanders, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Tampa Bay
2 GAMES: Atlanta, Dallas, New Jersey
This is a pretty standard week in regards to games-per-days. The busiest nights are the pretty normal Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday with 10 games, 8 games, and 12 games respectively, while the slower nights of the weeks are Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday with 4 games, 4 games, and 5 games respectively. Friday is the in between with 6 games being played. With a full 11 teams playing four games and only three teams playing two games this next week, plan ahead when starting any Atlanta, Dallas, or New Jersey players.
Now let’s take a look at what should be the most favorable matchups of the week:
St. Louis – This week has actually been tough finding teams with schedules that are clearly better than any others. Most schedules seem pretty comparable this week. With that said, The Blues are the only team that are playing four games this week while also playing on both Monday and Wednesday. Despite having a pretty tough schedule versus Phoenix, Anaheim, LA, and San Jose, the Blues’ schedule provides plenty of opportunities to get some points from their skaters.
Colorado and Pittsburgh – Both of these teams also play on the two slowest days of the week. Colorado faces Detroit, Chicago, and Minnesota on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; while Pittsburgh plays Boston, Montreal, and Boston, again on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
…And the least favorable matchups of the week:
New Jersey – It’s time to start life without captain Jamie Langenbrunner. As mentioned above, the Devils only have two games in Week 14 and both of those games are back-to-back road games on Friday and Saturday versus Tampa and Florida. As is becoming more and more usual, put your Devils on the bench.
Atlanta – Another team with only two games next week and both of those are also back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday. They play the top team in the East and a hot Dallas squad on busy nights, so the bench might be the best place for Atlanta players this week.
Calgary – Maybe not the hardest schedule in the world, but the Flames play all of their games and rather busy nights. They play Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday versus Carolina, Ottawa, and Toronto. Make sure you don’t have any better options on the bench before you start your Calgary players in weekly leagues.
Players that may be flying under the radar that should deserve a roster spot at this time:
Drew Stafford, BUF – I can’t believe that this guy is still owned in only 18 percent of Yahoo leagues. In the month of January so far, he has 3g-2a-6pts, 2 PPP, and 8 PIM in only three games. With Derek Roy out for the season, Stafford is going to be relied upon even more heavily to perform and he has stepped up to the challenge so far.
P.A. Parenteau, NYI – The Islanders have been hot lately, and Parenteau has followed in line. He has 5g-5a-10pts in his last ten games, finding the scoresheet in seven of those while playing on the first line with John Tavares and Matt Moulson. He is definitely worth an add right now.
Tuomo Ruutu, CAR – Ruutu has been hot lately, with 11 points (2g-9a) and a +7 in his last seven games. His most recent performance resulted in three assists with a +3 against Florida on Friday.
Nathan Lawson, NYI – Due to DiPietro getting injured again (surprise, surprise) and Roloson being traded off, Nathan Lawson and Kevin Poulin are going to have to hold down the fort for the meantime. Lawson had a great game on Monday in relief of DiPietro, stopping 28 of 29 shots in a 5-2 victory but was pulled early in his next game after allowing 2 goals on 3 shots. Poulin came in in relief and stopped all 19 shots in a 2-1 loss. With DiPietro’s injury history and the Islanders good play of late, I’d pay attention to this, especially if you are in need of some goalie help.
Jose Theodore, MIN – Niklas Backstrom hasn’t been playing very well recently. Add in that he is also currently dealing with a groin injury, and Theodore is taking advantage. He is currently on a three-game winning streak in which he has stopped 95 of 102 shots. As long as he keeps winning, Theo will keep seeing starts so he could be a good short term add or at least a good handcuff for Backstrom owners.
That about does it. As always, post any comments or questions below. Good luck next week everyone!
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