We have another busy Saturday coming up, with 22 of 30 teams in action. Included in this day’s Pick Six are some intriguing names that have made news one way or another recently.
Sidney Crosby, C, PIT – bench
You’re probably already aware that Sid the Kid won’t play on Saturday. However, weekly leaguers have a dilemma on their hands as to whether to activate their star player. My advice: leave him on IR in shallow leagues and take the more sure points from an alternative. Deeper leaguers may not have as many viable alternatives, so he could turn into that x-factor difference maker next week. Hopefully your fantasy team is your league’s version of the Pittsburgh Penguins; in other words, you’re sitting at the top of the league anyway.
Rick Nash, LW, CBJ – start
With the Blue Jackets firmly entrenched in the league’s basement (six points back of 29th place already!), the question of the week has been whether Nash should ask for a trade. For the time being, fantasy owners will have to make do with Nash scoring at his usual pace (13 points in 15 games) while being a plus/minus risk. But if you were thinking about benching him on Saturday, keep in mind that Saturday’s opponent (Winnipeg) has the third-worst goals-against average in the league, which could make this one a high-scoring affair.
James Wisniewski, D, CBJ – bench
The excuse of Wisniewski not being in the lineup can’t wash any longer for the Blue Jackets, now that he has been back for seven games. But I thank my lucky stars that I don’t own Wiz in any of my leagues, as he is (-11) over his last three games. Surprisingly, he was “only” a (-3) in the 9-2 debacle against Philly on Saturday. If the Jackets don’t find their way soon, Wisniewski could be one of fantasy hockey’s top busts this season.
Kris Russell, D, STL – add
We’ll stay with our Blue Jackets theme today by next mentioning a player who recently earned his ticket out of C-Bus. New Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock no doubt had a say in the deal for Russell, made days after Hitchcock’s sudden hire. Russell has some offensive upside, although his career numbers have never reached the 25-point mark in any one season. He isn’t on the blueline because of his size (5’10”, 180 lbs.), so expect Hitch to provide him with a wealthy of opportunity with his new team. What this means is that Russell is a possibility for leagues that require 5+ defensemen per team.
Jhonas Enroth, G, BUF – add
Enroth is one of the top backup goalies in the league, clearly giving Ryan Miller a run for his money. Thanks to a 36-save 5-1 win over Ottawa on Friday, Enroth is now 12-0-1 dating back to November 24 of last season. Don’t expect him to start on Saturday against Boston, although it is worth mentioning that he made back-to-back starts last weekend. Miller owners need to handcuff this guy right away, while it wouldn’t hurt for other fantasy teams in need of better ratios to add him as well.
Craig Smith, C, NSH –add/start
Here’s a guy that probably no one had on their draft cheatsheets this season. Then again, that’s part of the fun with rookies. Smith is worthy of a spot on most fantasy teams right now, as he is the NHL’s rookie leader in scoring with a point-per-game pace (14 points in 15 games). The two goal, one assist performance against Nashville on Wednesday was probably the icing on the cake. Ordinary name, yet solid results and available in four-fifths of Yahoo leagues.