Week 8 Fantasy Hockey Preview
This isn’t what Jonathan Toews owners want to hear…
So to sum up: Toews’ injury isn’t getting worse but not getting better. He’ll be off the ice the next three days or so. #Blackhawks
— Tracey Myers (@TramyersCSN) December 4, 2016
You can bet the Chicago Blackhawks will be careful with their captain so I wouldn’t count on getting Toews back until at least Week 9 of the Fantasy Hockey season. It doesn’t stop there for the Blackhawks as Corey Crawford is expected to miss two or three weeks after having an appendectomy Saturday.
Scott Darling is a short-term fix for those in need of a goalie, but only if you really need one. I never understood the three goalie strategy unless you are playing in a league that count for starts and saves. Darling allowed three goals on 30 shots Saturday in Philadelphia, but turned aside 30 of 32 against the Jets Sunday.
Mark Scheifele (lower-body) missed that game for the Jets, his second straight. Scheifele has 75 points in his last 72 games in including 26 in 26 this season. Meanwhile, Bryan Little has been great since returning from injury; three goals, four points (one PPP), nine shots and 42 faceoff wins. He’s been skating with Patrik Liane and Nikolaj Ehlers.
Alex Galchenyuk has picked up 23 points in 25 games this year and has 52 in his last 58 dating back to last season. Tough news for him and the Habs, though. The center is out indefinitely with a knee injury which he suffered Sunday in Los Angeles. He’s getting more tests done in St. Louis as the Canadiens play against the Blues Tuesday. We should hear more soon, but it doesn’t sound great.
Rickard Rackell (upper-body) was a late scratch Sunday which is too bad for owners because he’s scored six goals in his last eight games. The Ducks are hopeful to get him back Wednesday. If he misses time, Nick Ritchie could become a decent DFS play, as he’s the one who will take Rackell’s spot on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
Erik Johnson (broken fibula) is expected to be sidelined 6-8 weeks. He can be dropped!
Word out of Nashville is that James Neal (upper-body) is week-to-week. Viktor Arvidsson continues to put up points. I like him even when Neal returns.
Bobby Ryan (hand) landed on IR last week and Craig Anderson (personal) is expected to return Monday against the Penguins. If I were an Anderson owner, I’d hang on to Mike Condon who picked up a shutout over the weekend. Just because, Anderson will probably be in and out of the lineup all season.
Fantasy Hockey Waiver Wire
Sam Reinhart – C/EW
Reinhart was on last week’s waiver wire list, but his ownership is still not high enough so he’s making another appearance, this time at the top. Reinhart and Jack Eichel picked up where they left off last season. Reinhart has four points in his three games with Eichel since he returned to the lineup. He also has seven in his last six games. Add the third member of that line as well in Evander Kane, who can help you across the board. Even if the trio is split up, the Sabres have enough talent in their top six. It’s only a matter of time before they get out of the basement in terms of goals per game.
Radim Vrbata – RW
Vrbata’s ownership is extremely low across all Fantasy sites and it’s probably because he plays for the Arizona Coyotes. Nonetheless, he has eight goals and 17 points on the year with four of them coming on the power play. His ownership has only jumped a couple of percentage points because he has six points in his last seven games and he enters Monday’s game against the Blue Jackets on a five-game point streak. Vrbata also has 69 shots on goal, which ranks 32nd in the NHL. I’d much rather Vrbata than Jussi Jokinen, who has four points this season and is well over 40 percent owned in leagues.
Travis Zajac – C
Four goals and 10 points for Zajac over his last six games and it’s no coincidence Michael Cammalleri returned to the lineup six games ago. The duo have combined for 21 points in their last six games. Zajac also has 260 faceoff wins on the season, which is the sixth most in the league. Cammelleri is awesome, so if you missed out, get his centerman and watch the points pile up. Mind you, the Devils have issues with scoring at times, but only when Cammalleri is out of the lineup.
Michael Del Zotto – D
De Zotto won’t continue this scoring pace he’s on (four points in the last five, six in his last nine), but he can provide hits and blocks if you need them. The Flyers’ defenseman has 33 hits in his last seven games and 17 blocks in his last nine. Mark Streit and Shayne Gostisbehere get most of the power play time, but again, if you need a few secondary stats, he can help!
Michael Stone – D
Stone had a slow start to the season and you can chalk it up to injuries. He has three points in his last two games, with two of them coming on the power play. He also has 19 blocks in his last six games.
Jakub Vrana – LW/RW
Vrana isn’t a must add unless you are playing in a keeper or dynasty league. The 13th overall pick in 2014 made his NHL debut last week against the Islanders. He only played 10 minutes, but he picked up four shots on goal. He played 18 minutes in his second game in Tampa Bay. He also played on a line with Evgeny Kuznetsov, which you’d think would be a good thing, but the Russian center only has three points in the last 30 days. Maybe the youngster can get him going.
Bo Horvat – C
Horvat isn’t a must add, but he’s a decent cheap DFS play for the time being. He has four goals and 11 points in his last 12 games. He has at least a shot on goal in 13 straight games and is a faceoff stud! He won 24 faceoffs in his last game and ranks inside the Top 20 in that category this season. Eight goals and 16 points so far, as he’s on his way to a breakout season.
Cam Ward – G
This is the third straight week Ward has appeared on the Waiver Wire list and he will continue to be on this list until A – he starts to suck or B – his ownership jumps up to at least 60 percent. Ward is coming off a 30 save shutout against the Lightning and he’s allowed two or fewer in nine of his last 10 starts. He reps a 2.09 GAA (9th) and a .924 SV% (13th).