For the next Pick Six, I’m changing the rules a little. Fantasy owners need to make roster decisions on both busy and non-busy nights; plus, some of the players I’d like to mention happen to play on the non-busy nights. So I’ve listed the player, recommendation, and day of next game for this one. Hopefully my roster recommendations help you regardless.
Derek Stepan, C, NYR – add/start Tuesday
Stepan recorded a hat trick in his first NHL game last season, then virtually disappeared from fantasy relevance. However, his recent play (nine points and a +8 over his last seven games) might go a long way in proving that he is more than a one-hit wonder. Having Marian Gaborik as his right wing can’t hurt Stepan’s production either, although a Stepan slump will probably mean that he would trade places with Brad Richards.
Milan Hejduk, RW, COL – start Tuesday
Hejduk was named the Avalanche’s captain on Monday, but that is hardly his only recent accomplishment. The new captain has scored goals in three consecutive games and has five points over that span. The Avs play four times this week, so Hejduk could be one of your most noticeable players on the scoresheet this week.
Semyon Varlamov, G, COL – bench Tuesday
One Av to start; another Av to sit. After being pulled in the second period against Detroit on Tuesday, Varlamov looked shaky against Calgary on Saturday, allowing four goals in the first period and a half. Varlamov’s numbers in November are abysmal (0-4-1, 4.26 GAA, .835 SV%), so you won’t want him in on Tuesday when the Avs face one of the top teams in the NHL: the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Kurtis Foster, D, ANA – add/start Wednesday
It’s time to add Foster to the people on your fantasy team. Okay, that was a lousy pop culture reference, but Foster could be the player that should benefit the most from the recent Lubomir Visnovsky injury. The offseason acquisition from Edmonton played in only his fourth game on Sunday, playing 15 minutes while not recording a point. These numbers aren’t fantastic, but the good news is that he received some power-play time. Fantasy teams that carry 5+ defensemen could consider the one-time 40-point scorer as a speculative add.
Jannik Hansen, RW, VAN – add/start Wednesday
What would you consider a player’s fantasy value to be if I told you that he would play alongside the last two Art Ross Trophy winners? Alex Burrows’ recent injury allowed the Canucks to experiment with Hansen alongside the twins, and he didn’t look so bad. Even when Burrows returned on Friday, Hansen still scored two goals that were assisted by Daniel. As the Canucks attempt to find their way, don’t be surprised if Hansen is back in that role – at least part-time. If nothing else, the recent play could mean more time on the scoring lines for the Great Dane.
Cam Ward, G, CAR – bench Wednesday
Ward was a godsend for fantasy teams that counted saves last season, but his numbers this season are hurting. Ward’s November goals-against average is well over 4.00, with him being pulled in the second period against Philadelphia on Monday in his most recent effort (four goals on 17 shots). Wednesday’s test against the Canadiens might be a little easier, but sometimes it’s easier still to bench a goalie until he and his defense show signs of turning things around.