A crystal ball is a common fortune telling object. Photo by Valerie Everett.

A crystal ball is a common fortune telling object. Photo by Valerie Everett.

Mac’s Prophecy

In weekly fantasy formats you have to ride the hot hand. You should focus your attention on good teams that are putting crooked numbers on the scoreboards. Perhaps you may not have the sexy stud from those teams, but usually the building blocks around them are up for grabs. This week, your considerations should roll through Washington, Montreal–and even–the New York Islanders.

Washington is 14-3 since the start of January with most of those games producing high powered offense. There should be no signs of slowing down as the Capitals are at home all week to face the hideous Hurricanes, rotten Red Wings, and the deceivingly goal-deprived Ducks. You would naturally think that this success comes from the likes of Ovi, Carlson, Backstrom, and Oshie, but it has been a concerted team effort for Barry Trotz’ team that has them as the 1st place team in the standings.

Look to add Andre Burakovsky (34% owned). He has 12 pts in his last 3 weeks and is tied for 6th in NHL scoring during that stretch. Dmitry Orlov (48% owned) also won’t hurt your lineup as he currently sits with a +23 rating and 7 pts in his past 9 games.

Montreal is a train moving in the right direction and you should hop on before it gathers too much momentum. The Canadiens are a solid team that even with pedestrian efforts from their superstars are still near the top of the standings. This week they will finish up their road trip in the mountains of Colorado and the desert of Arizona before coming home to face the Blues before derailing the Bruins in a heated rivalry game.

Look to add Phillip Danault (6%). He is centering the top line between Pacioretty and Radulov and will see an increase in ice time and production this week. Andrew Shaw (23%) has already spent 84 minutes in the sin bin while also chipping in offensively. In deeper leagues, consider Nathan Beaulieu (18%). He is getting a sniff on the second powerplay unit and logging over 20 minutes a night. Already matching his season totals from last year, this 17th overall pick should be 4th or 5th on your defensive depth chart.

Last, the New York Islanders have felt the weight on their shoulders–literally, as Doug Weight stands behind their shoulders every night now as their new head coach–and have responded admirably to the challenge. 6-1-1 in their last 8 games against strong teams should garnish them a bit more respect in the fantasy hockey world. This week I like their matchups as they take on tor, phi, ott, and col.

Josh Bailey (10% owned) is a must add as he’s the best fantasy player that nobody owns. He is the Isles leader in assists and has posted 9 pts in his last 10 games. Anders Lee (17%) has also been tearing it up with 9 pts in his previous 8 contests. Playing alongside Tavares, this line is about to explode and these players will not be available much longer.

Players to Fade’n’Trade

Patience is a virtue in life, not in Fantasy hockey. Far too often owners desperately cling to the name brand of a player based on performances in previous seasons. Although this is called fantasy hockey, owners need to wake up to the reality of the situation, and start ditching some of those big named underachievers.

Johnny Gaudreau

This season has been a bitter year for Johnny Hockey owners. After losing in the World Cup of Hockey, a frustrating pre-season contract negotiation, a new coach, bouncing between linemates, and a fractured finger, it is no surprise Gaudreau’s numbers have suffered this year. In 44 games, he has posted an embarrassing -16 +/-, 0 PIMs, 8 shot blocks, and just 6 hits. When you’re tied with Phil Kessel in hits, something’s wrong.

Shayne Gostisbehere

Oh, the sophomore slump. As predicted, NHL coaches took notice of your tremendous freshman campaign. However, this is the big leagues kiddo, and people get paid to shut down defensemen like you that score 46 pts in just 64 games. Although his point production is modestly respectable, posting a -19 +/- rating and recently being a healthy scratch on a less than stellar Flyers team should have you dangling this carrot out in front of some horses.

Rick Nash

This may sound harsh, and don’t take it personal, but Rick Nash is a loser. He has represented Canada on a number of occasions internationally, but is usually the worst player on those teams. I am sure he is a great guy, admirable friend, and respected locker-room companion, but in the world of fantasy hockey, he’s not good. In 14 seasons, Nash has managed to stay healthy for just one of them, and in the past 5 years he has eclipsed the 45 points plateau just once. Sure he will rack up the SOGs for you, but don’t count on too many assists from the aging left winger, especially if he’s not in the lineup.

Bold Predictions

  • Montreal wins Presidents Trophy as the leagues top team. Currently sitting only a few points back, the Metropolitan and Central teams will beat each other up while a softer schedule down the stretch in the Atlantic Division greatly benefits the Habs as they return to health. Oh, and just wait for Carey Price to start playing like–Carey Price.
  • Toronto Maple Leafs do not make the playoffs, again. Realizing this is not the boldest prediction in the world, this year will see the familiar result of 10 of the last 11 seasons. A grueling schedule down the stretch will prove too much for one of the NHL’s youngest rosters. Keep believing in the “process” Leafs nation, you’ll get there by 2020.
  • Pekka Rinne backstops 4 shutouts in February. Boasting one of the NHL’s most concrete defensive groups and highly culpable forwards, Nashville plays an extremely tight defensive style. With 13 games slated for the calendars shortest month, expect the Finnish net-minder to sharpen his laser-like focus against some mediocre competition.