Dobber launched his fantasy hockey website DobberHockey back in 2005 and has been Puck Daddy's resident fantasy hockey 'expert' since 2009. Ian Gooding has been the associate editor for DobberHockey since early 2015.
Knowing that not all teams have played the same number of games, you can target and deploy players from teams that have more games down the stretch. Sometimes fantasy leagues are won and lost by the slimmest of margins, so even slight advantages matter.
For example the New York Islanders, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs all lead the league with 34 games remaining after the All-Star break. Maybe this is a good time to target John Tavares, who happens to be just outside the top 50 in scoring at the moment.
The Chicago Blackhawks have the least number of games with 29, followed by the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues with 30. You probably don’t want to part with Patrick Kane in a non-keeper given the rate he has been scoring, but what if there was a sweet return being offered to you?
And what about home games? Of the Vancouver Canucks’ 32 remaining games, 19 are at home. Ryan Miller’s goals-against average is over half a goal lower at home than it is on the road. He can probably be had for a bargain basement price. I found this information at the Frozen Pool Game Planner at Dobber Hockey. You can set your dates for the week, month, or the rest of the season. These and many more free tools are available here.
How about one more second-half stat? Puppy sales for children in NHL cities will continue to rise.
These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...
Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks (48-9-32-41, plus-18, 42 PIM, 76 SOG, 13 PPPts)
How far did Thornton fall in your fantasy draft? Sure, assist-heavy centers over 30 aren’t the kind of players that fantasy owners are tripping over themselves to obtain. But if not for a zero-point game on January 7, Thornton might be challenging Patrick Kane for the longest point streak of the season. Big Joe has points in 18 of his last 19 games, and he has been sizzling in January with 15 points in 12 games. The lack of goals also means a lack of shots on goal, yet Thornton’s total of 32 assists is currently seventh in the NHL.
Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins (38-6-27-33, minus-12, 34 PIM, 111 SOG, 17 PPPts)
Owning Letang is similar to owning Pavel Datsyuk, or Peter Forsberg before that. In other words, a new injury always seems to be around the corner, but benching the stud to minimize your risk means you’re missing out on a golden opportunity. In spite of missing ten games, Letang is tied for seventh in scoring among defensemen. He also has had a January to remember with 14 points in 10 games, having been held without a point in just two games.
Petr Mrazek (18-9-4, 2.03 GAA, .932 SV%)
Mrazek’s season stats are amazing by themselves, but his stats this month are even more eye-popping. How does a 7-1-1 record to go with a 1.32 goals-against average and .952 save percentage and two shutouts sound? Mrazek has Jimmy Howard mostly riding the pine right now, even though Howard earns $5 million-plus for three more seasons after this one. Mrazek is an RFA after this season, so the Detroit goaltending situation will be one to watch.
Somebody wake these guys up – their fantasy owners are counting on them...
Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning (36-5-11-16, plus-4, 8 PIM, 80 SOG, 7 PPPts)
This is more of a reflection on Johnson’s season overall than it is on his recent play. With one goal and four assists over his last eight games, Johnson isn’t the most ice-cold player at the moment, but he’s not yet into the red-hot territory that he occupied for much of last season. If you offer pennies on the dollar, an impatient owner might be willing to deal him while you reap the rewards afterward.
Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues (42-9-18-27, minus-10, 30 PIM, 111 SOG, 15 PPPts)
Sure, Shattenkirk had been slowed by lower-body injury earlier this season. But his fantasy owners should expect more than three points over 12 games in January. By the way, are there more than a few normally solid fantasy options with poor plus/minuses this season? Shattenkirk and the aforementioned Letang and Stone are all examples.
Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens (50-2-22-24, minus-1, 16 PIM, 66 SOG, 10 PPPts)
After December 2 the Canadiens are a league-worst 5-18-1, so there’s a few players from the team that could make this list besides Markov. After all, the Habs have averaged fewer than two goals per game over that stretch, so not having Carey Price can’t be the only reason for the slump. These splits say it all about Markov, though:
October/November: 25 games, 18 points
December/January: 25 games, 6 points
Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...
Carl Hagelin, Pittsburgh Penguins (18%) (48-4-12-16, minus-4, 16 PIM, 97 SOG, 0 PPPts)
Hagelin’s speed seems to be a better fit on the run-and-gun Penguins than he was on the rough-and-tumble Ducks. As a Penguin, Hagelin has points in four of five games – all assists. His lack of power-play time is concerning, so he will have a tough time finding his first power-play point of the season. But he’s always been a power-play dud, so you shouldn’t be surprised. Regardless, his fantasy value skyrockets after the deal to Pittsburgh.
David Perron, Anaheim Ducks (21%) (47-6-15-21, minus-9, 36 PIM, 104 SOG, 5 PPPts)
The man Hagelin was traded for is also enjoying his new digs, where his gritty qualities might also work more to his advantage. Perron has found the score sheet in each of his four games as a Duck, scoring two goals and three assists. He has mainly played on a line with the red-hot Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg, so he is being given the opportunity to maintain more consistency.
Joonas Korpisalo, Columbus Blue Jackets (5%) (5-5-2, 2.74 GAA, .915 SV%)
Adding a Blue Jackets’ goalie to your team isn’t appealing. But Korpisalo has asserted himself as the guy now that Sergei Bobrovsky is back on IR with his nagging groin injury. Korpisalo has earned wins in four of his last six games, including wins on back-to-back nights against Montreal. He has also allowed two or fewer goals in each of those six starts.
Andre Burakovsky, Washington Capitals (4%) (43-5-12-17, plus-5, 6 PIM, 50 SOG, 3 PPPts)
Playing on a line with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Williams has helped Burakovsky. So far this month Burakovsky has four multipoint games and nine points over his last six games. The Capitals have significant scoring depth, so there’s no guarantee this will last. But he’s worth a short-term pickup – and 4% fantasy ownership borders on the ridiculous.
Mattias Ekholm, Nashville Predators (12%) (50-6-16-22, plus-1, 24 PIM, 63 SOG, 3 PPPts)
Ekholm is playing a more prominent role for the Predators these days. After the Seth Jones trade, Ekholm has six points over his last five games and is now receiving second-unit power-play time. He is also playing more than 20 minutes per game more frequently than he was before the trade.
Nikolaj Ehlers, Winnipeg Jets (14%) (49-12-10-22, minus-1, 12 PIM, 120 SOG, 6 PPPts)
Ehlers recorded his first career hat trick on Tuesday, extending his current point streak to four games. He was fortunate enough to have the red-hot Blake Wheeler as his linemate for that game, so Ehlers is worth a pickup while the Jets find out what they have by pairing these two.
You can follow Ian Gooding on Twitter @Ian_Gooding
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