After a five-day layoff, it’s back to fantasy hockey mode on Tuesday. All teams are back in action, with the exception of Dallas, Florida, Los Angeles, and St. Louis. With the other side of the All-Star break signaling the stretch run, roster decisions become that more important for fantasy teams who have an eye toward a league championship.
Since a few people have been asking, I may as well tell: this article will also be the last that I post for fantasyhockey.com. For those wondering about the lack of content recently, I will no longer be serving as the content editor. The good news is that you can continue to check out my blog over at Kukla’s Korner. For more information about the management changes over at Fantasy Planet, which includes fantasyfootball.com, fantasybaseball.com, and fantasybasketball.com, you can read this final message from outgoing president Craig Davis, who includes an interesting history of the site. I will always be thankful to Craig for giving me the opportunity to take my fantasy hockey “hobby” to the next level. All in all, it has been a slice working for Craig, and I wish him well in whatever the future holds.
Here is your Pick Six for Tuesday, the last day in January:
Brendan Morrison, C, CHI – add/start
Even with Jonathan Toews set to return to the Blackhawks’ lineup for Tuesday’s showdown with Vancouver (ESPN), new acquisition Mo could see top-6 minutes against his former team. He recorded only 11 points in 28 games this season for Calgary, but trades more often than not increase a player’s short-term value. Morrison is expected to center the Hawks’ second line alongside returning All-Star Marian Hossa.
Paul Martin, D, PIT – add/start
Martin had an unspectacular start to the season, but he has posted points in five of his last six games. Despite the return of Kris Letang, Martin is still seeing power-play minutes along with 25 minutes in the Pens’ last game on Tuesday vs. St. Louis. I added him as an injury replacement on one deep league team, but I won’t hesitate to drop him if another long column of goose eggs appears underneath his point total.
David Desharnais, C, MON – add/start
Desharnais was mentioned in my Midterm Report as a recent pickup. He scored two goals and added one assist in a surprising 7-2 explosion over Detroit on Wednesday. Playing on a new top line with Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole, the 5’7” center has quietly accumulated 35 points at the All-Star break, which is tied for second on the team.
Lubomir Visnovsky, D, ANA – start
Visnovsky may have been dropped in a few leagues, but he is on the comeback trail in January (7 points a +5 in 11 games). Injury and poor play by Ducks led to Viz’s poor start (only four points at mid-December). The Ducks have only two regulation losses in January, so Visnovsky needs to be back in lineups and near universal ownership again.
Roberto Luongo/Cory Schneider, G, VAN – bench
Who can forget when a panicked Canucks team surprised everyone by turning to Schneider during Game 6 during their emotionally charged first-round series with the Hawks last season? Sure, Schneider didn’t fare so badly before leaving the game in the third period with cramps (allowed three goals), but he did not have an easy time against the Hawks on November 16, allowing five goals. The Canucks are giving Schneider another opportunity against the Hawks on Tuesday (TSN), so you’ll have a chance to use him. Based on those numbers and the history between the two teams, whether you’ll want to use him is another matter.
Ryan Whitney, D, EDM – drop
Although he has recently returned to the Oils’ lineup, Whitney has only three assists in 18 games. He has missed 17 games with a perpetually sore ankle that could affect his mobility for the rest of his career. Expect Whitney to be a plus/minus liability (-6 this season) as the young Oilers still struggle, so he is someone to pass on right now if you are looking for help on defense.