NHL Fantasy Up, Down, Left, Right, Start is not only a nod to the old Nintendo cheat codes, but also a (hopefully) helpful post to help you make some roster decisions with your fantasy hockey team(s). It will have information for both daily players and season-long players.
As always, based on roster sizes, number of teams, scoring categories, whether your league is a redraft, keeper or daily league, and various other factors, you should ultimately make your own call on these suggestions. These are simply here to make some daily decisions easier, and help you keep an eye on guys that might be on other owner’s radar.
Only players with a game today will be included in each post…helpful for daily players or anyone looking to get an extra body into your lineup.
There will also be a notes section at the bottom of this post with any notable fantasy news for tonight’s games updated throughout the day.
As always, feel free to ask me any fantasy related questions you might have by leaving a comment, or reaching out to me on Twitter.
Tonight’s NHL Games:
A player that is owned in around 1/3rd or less of public online leagues, but should be on your radar. Keep an eye on these guys going forward. Not necessarily a daily play yet, but don’t be afraid to scoop him up if he has a few more good games.
- Matt Niskanen - PIT – Owned: 11% Yahoo!; 30% ESPN.
Niskanen has seen his ownership rise 28% in ESPN leagues, but I’d wait a little longer before I pulled the trigger on a FA pickup. He’s off to a nice start with three points in three games, but he only has one season with 30+ points, and that came back in ’08-’09. You will get a better sense of what his role will be with the team once Kris Letang returns, so keep him on your radar.
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP : at FLA. Career vs opponent: 2 goals, 5 points in 13 games.
- Sean Monahan – CGY - Owned: 9% Yahoo!; 10% ESPN.
The 6th overall pick in this year’s draft has opened up his NHL career with five points in four games, and a goal in three straight. Picking up Monahan is a tough call since it is still a possibility that the Flames send him down in another week or so. With his hot start, that decision has become a harder one, but you can wait a few more games until the situation becomes a bit clearer.
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP : vs NJD. Career vs opponent: N/A
A player that is likely owned in most leagues, but is likely to fall. Players here are likely to fall into the “sell-high” category. Could still be a daily play, but proceed with caution if you have better options.
- Shane Doan - PHX – Owned: 27% Yahoo!; 89% ESPN.
Doan’s production has been on a steady decline in the last three seasons with 60 points in ’10-’11, 50 in ’11-’12, and he was on pace for 46 points over an 82 game schedule last season. That decline, combined with his 0-fer to start this season in four games, makes him a hard guy to put in your lineup on a consistent basis.
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP : at PHI. Career vs opponent: 4 goals, 10 points in 21 games.
- Adam Henrique – NJD - Owned: 15% Yahoo!; 62% ESPN.
Henrique is entering just his third full season in the NHL and the 23 year old still has a lot of potential. However, his fantasy expectations might still be a bit high right now. He’s a player that will give you nice numbers across the board, but won’t put up big numbers in any category. As a player who averages less than two SOG per game, it may take some time for the goals and points columns to fill up.
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP : at CGY. Career vs opponent: 1 goal, 2 points in 1 game.
A player who’s ownership has likely risen in the last few days, but should ideally be left for someone else. Decent short-term pickups if needed for tonight’s games, but don’t expect much over a full season.
- Lee Stempniak – CGY – Owned: 11% Yahoo!; 54% ESPN – 32% increase.
Stempniak seems to be a player that goes on a hot streak at some point every season and the ownership numbers jump up. This season, he’s started off hot with two goals and five points in four games. Looking at his career numbers, where he’s had a career high of 27 goals and 52 points seven years ago with St. Louis and has never had more than 19 goals or 38 points since, it’s hard to think he can keep up this pace. He was on pace for 60+ points last season prorated over a full 82 games, but I’d still pass and grab someone (not on Calgary) with a little more potential.
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP : vs NJD. Career vs opponent: 2 goals, 5 points in 9 games.
- Nathan Gerbe - CAR – Owned: 5% Yahoo!; 16% ESPN – 16% increase.
I wrote about Gerbe yesterday, but I’m including him again today. His ownership jumped another 9% since yesterday in ESPN leagues. He did have another goal last night, bringing his total to three in four games, but I’m still not sold. If you felt the need to pick him up, he’s definitely a “sell high” player. He’s getting pucks on net with 21 SOG in those four games, but I don’t see that pace keeping up, and his numbers will drop when the shots start coming from elsewhere.
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP : vs LAK. Career vs opponent: 0 goals, 3 points in 2 games.
A player who’s ownership has likely risen in the last few days, and if he’s still available, you’d do well to pick him up right now and start him tonight!
- Jeff Skinner – CAR – Owned: 80% Yahoo!; 88% ESPN – 30% increase.
Skinner likely fell a bit in your draft and in some cases (especially small leagues) might not have been drafted at all. He’s entering his 4th year in the NHL… but he’s still only 21 years old. Skinner’s production has fallen off after his 63 point rookie season, but he’s still a 0.71 points-per-game player over his career. He’s off to a good start this season with five assists in four games, and you’d do well to grab him if he’s still available in your league…even shallow leagues.
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP : vs LAK. Career vs opponent: 2 goals, 2 points in 2 games.
- Jussi Jokinen - PIT - Owned: 34% Yahoo!; 91% ESPN – 6% decrease.
For daily leaguers, a player on Pittsburgh playing against Florida is enough reason to grab him. For season-long players, a player on a line with Malkin, who could possibly stay there once Neal returns, is bound to pick up points on accident. He’s a guy who has put up 65 points in a season, and he put up 11 in 10 games with the Pens last season. If he can stay on one of the top two lines for most of the season, somewhere around 60 points is a strong possibility.
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP : at FLA. Career vs opponent: 6 goals, 15 points in 32 games.
This will be a list of confirmed starting goalies for today’s games, with my ranking for each.
Check back throughout the day for an updated list of confirmed starters and updated rankings.
Rankings are based on a number of factors including strength of opponent, recent play, likelihood to put up good numbers (35 saves with 3 goals against is sometimes better than 17 saves with 1 goal against), win probability, and other factors. Take your league scoring into consideration when choosing between two closely rated goalies.
* = probable – likely to start based on factors such as morning skate, etc., but not confirmed yet.
** = not confirmed – a good chance at starting, but no indications yet as to who will be in net.
- Steve Mason vs PHX
- Jeff Zatkoff at FLA
- Thomas Greiss at PHI
- Ondrej Pavelec vs DAL
- Kari Lehtonen at WPG
- Jonathan Quick at CAR
- Joey MacDonald vs NJD
- Cam Ward vs LAK
- Kevin Poulin at CHI
- Nikolai Khabibulin vs NYI
- Martin Brodeur at CGY
- Jacob Markstrom vs PIT
Updated throughout the day with any significant fantasy news.
- Matt Moulson is questionable for tonight’s game due to the birth of his son.
- Cal Clutterbuck will make his Islanders’ debut tonight.
- Dallas’ top line will include Rich Peverley tonight.
NHL Rankings & Content Editor
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