The most important thing on the agenda this week for Fantasy owners is the lineup decisions that will have to be made. The NHL All-Star break is this weekend, which means no games will be played after Wednesday night. Please check your league settings in head to head leagues to figure out if you are playing in a shortened half week or if you’re league combines this week and next to determine a winner. Sometimes the most important part of being a Fantasy owner is knowing your own league rules.
The Oilers sent Connor McDavid down to the AHL over the weekend but not to play in any games, just to practice. McDavid is all but recovered from his broken collarbone and should return to the team next week. With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins out until at least March with a broken hand, it would be an upset if McDavid wasn’t the top line center upon his return. It would also be an upset if he ever gave that spot back. The Oilers have played it conservative with the health of their prized rookie and will now look to reap the benefits.
McDavid isn’t the only player expected to return after the ASB. Jaden Schwartz of the Blues should also be back. We seem to forget how good Schwartz has been the last two seasons. Is he as good as Vladimir Tarasenko? No, but he does have 53 goals the last two seasons and was seemingly on his way to becoming at the very least a Top 10-15 wing in Fantasy. He should return to his top wing position almost immediately upon activation.
Should we be looking to claim Vincent Lecavalier off the waiver wire? He’s been better than expected since being traded to the Kings with four goals in nine games. Perhaps more importantly, three of those goals have come on the power play. The biggest problem with Lecavalier is how much five on five time he will have. Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter are still the top two centers but Lecavalier may be working himself into a top six forward position, even if that forces him to the wing or Carter to the outside. Can he play the next 35 games at center, though, and still play with the same energy and tenacity? I have my doubts but if you have a dead spot on your roster, I can see why you would want to roll the dice. Just keep in mind that he may slow down as the season progresses.
The Red Wings have lost Niklas Kronwall for the next 2-4 weeks due to a knee injury. Kronwall hasn’t been as productive this season as he has in years past with only three goals (zero on the power play). Still, this is a loss. The good news, however, is that the Wings are not going to put him on IR. With the ASB about to start the team believes he could be back sooner rather than later.
Does anyone realize that Brock Nelson leads the Isles in goals with 18? Sure, we all know about John Tavares, but Nelson has quietly put up a better than expected season. It seems his wrist shot is deceptively heavy, hard and is catching goaltenders off guard. The only bad thing is that he might only be eligible at center in your league and you may not need any help there with center being a deep position in the NHL. He also is bounced around from line to line under coach Jack Capuano, so getting into any kind of rhythm with his line mates may be impossible.
Due to the snowstorm in the northeast over the weekend, three games were cancelled (Wash/Ana, Wash/Pitt, NYI/Phil). These games will be made up but no makeup dates have been announced as yet. Keep an eye on this, as a couple of extra games in a week could make some lineup decisions easier.
As for the All-Star game itself, if you need your Fantasy Hockey fix this weekend you can always have an ASG draft. All you really need is 4-6 owners and away you go. Keep in mind, with the new format being 3 vs. 3, goals are going to be scored by the bucket load. Teams weren’t playing defense under the old 5-5 system never mind the new one. In other words, draft your forwards early and often, worry about the goaltenders last, as they are going to be hung out to dry.
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