Wrestler and actor Stone Cold Steve Austin on the Expendables panel at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con in San Diego, California. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Wrestler and actor Stone Cold Steve Austin on the Expendables panel at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con in San Diego, California. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Tips’n’Picks (Week 15)

We enter a sad week in the NHL as the league is blatantly trying to get fan-voted captain John Scott out of the All-Star game. Sure, he’s not the most talented hockey player, but he earned his spot fair-and-square. NHL fans need to bring on Richard Riot-esque protests.

Expendables

The Montreal Canadiens (who are still slumping without Carey Price) and the New York Islanders only have two games this week. The Islanders happen to have their second game of the week the day after their first. You may want to consider swapping out some of their lower line players.

Forwards and Defensemen

Here are the players with the most and strongest match-ups this week. These players will be available in the majority of fantasy leagues. If they’re not, at least you’ll know what teams will have a good week ahead so you can pick up one of their other players.

Colorado Avalanche (4 Game Week)

Since the New Year, the Avs have had one good week and one bad week. Given their set of fixtures, they should come back with a good week.

Colorado rank as the: 8th best of their PP% (20.5), 14th best PK%, 7th best GF/G (2.80) but they also have the 7th highest GA/G (2.80).

Week 15 Fixtures

@ Winnipeg
Avs won both of their first two games against the Jets.
v Buffalo
8th highest away GF/G (2.70), and 9th best away PP% (20.3).
v St. Louis
Avs have won both match-ups so far, but it did go to OT at the Pepsi Center earlier this month.
tired @ Dallas
Avs defeated the Stars 6-3 at the start of the season, and Dallas are currently struggling away from home.

Picks

Carl Soderberg, C/LW, 28% owned

He has 8 goals and 22 assists so far this season and he’s well on his way to posting his career best scoring of 16 goals and 48 points. Although he resides on the 3rd even strength line, he plays on the very strong and successful 1st powerplay line. 11 of his points have been scored on the powerplay this season. The downside is that the vast majority of his fantasy points come from scoring; he gets very few PIMs (18) and lays on even fewer Hits (15).

Nick Holden, D, 7% owned

The Colorado D-man has been on a decent point streak lately, dealing out 5 assists in his last 6 matches. This has made him Colorado’s top assister over the past 2 weeks. He plays on the 2nd defensive pairing alongside Tyson Barrie, and he plays on the second powerplay set up–also with Barrie.

Chicago Blackhawks (4 Game Week)

The Blackhawks enter into Sunday’s fixture, against the Habs, riding a 10 game win-streak. Given that they defeated Montreal earlier in the week, and that the Canadiens are still struggling without Carey Price, the Blackhawks are expected to come into Week 15 11 games undefeated. They’ve overcome their early season away struggles and have a fair schedule to keep their streak alive.

The Blackhawks rank: 1st for away PP% (27.3), 9th worst with their away PK% (76.5), 7th most away GA/G (3.09), 9th most GF/G away (2.68). These ranks are very weighted by the poor early away form.

Week 15 Fixtures

@ Nashville
Preds are in some poor form (3-5-2), and Chicago have won each of the first 3 games of their season series. However, Nashville do have Johansen now.
@ Tampa Bay
Toews’ OT goal won the October match-up between these sides. TBL rank: 14th least home GA/G (2.38), and 12th best home PK% (83.5).
tired @ Florida
Panthers have 3 days rest coming into the contest. Concede the 2nd least GA/G with 3+ days rest (1.50).
v St. Louis
Top goal scorer, Vlad Tarasenko, hasn’t scored in 5 games and should still be without top keeper Jake Allen.

Picks

Andrew Shaw, RW, 17% owned

Last week, Shaw was tipped in this feature, and then he went and got 2 goals, 3 assists, a +5 and 5 Hits. He’s still being played on the increasingly productive line 1 of the Blackhawks with Toews and Hossa. He’s been playing some strong hockey, and is now a solid part of the very two-way top line.

San Jose Sharks (4 Game Week)

San Jose swim into Week 15 floating a 5 game win-streak–which remarkably includes 3 home wins. They look to further improve their, still pretty weak, home record (8-12-0) with 3 games at the SAP Center and a trip to the desert: the final home game of the week is the big rivalry with division leaders, the LA Kings.

The San Jose Sharks rank: 6th in GF/G (2.84), but also concede the 10th most GA/G (2.72). They also have the 5th best PP% (21.5) (which slumps in Chomp Time at home (19.1)) and rank 15th for their PK% (80.2).

Week 15 Fixtures

v Ottawa
6th most away PIMs (272), 3rd worst away PK% (72.8).
rested @ Arizona
3rd best home PK% (72.8), 7th most PP goals at home (18).
v Minnesota
Enter the week on an L4 and 3-4-2 in their last 10. Haven’t scored in 2 games and continue their roadtrip @ Ducks, tired @ LA then play the Sharks.
tired v Los Angeles
Kings are also tired for the match. Sharks are 2-1 up on the series, but LA’s victory came at the Shark Tank. San Jose lead the scoring 11 goals to 8.

Picks

Tomas Hertl, C/LW, 19% owned

The 22-year-old Czech has been playing left wing on the top line, with Jumbo and Pavelski as his line-mates. Whilst featuring in this set, Hertl has a GWG, 2 other goals and 3 assists. He had a slow start, but he’s quickly adding to his 7 goals and 14 assists. He’s not one for PIMs (10) or Hits (52), but he has been on target for 106 of his shots.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D, 19% owned

The defensive defenseman has hit a rich vein of scoring recently, claiming 8 points in 8 games, including 2 goals and an assist against Dallas. He’s scored in both of the Sharks’ last 2 home games and recorded 5 SOG in each.

Tommy Wingels, LW/RW, 6% owned

Despite having Logan Couture center his line (line 3), his scoring hasn’t seen a rise, and it most likely won’t as Couture will inevitably rejoin line 2 at some point in the near future. However, Wingels has banged out 125 checks, along with spending 36 minutes in the box, so he’s quite a consistent fantasy scorer on that front.

Honourable Mentions

Patrick Berglund, C, 4% owned

On the Blues’ most recent line revamp, Patrick Berglund has come up as the big winner. Whilst the top line of Stastny and Steen lost Tarasenko to line 2–who now features with former 3rd rounder Lehtera, and rookie Fabri–Berglund now lines up alongside David Backes and TY Rattie.

The third line has combined for 5 goals and 3 assists in the last week, with Bergulnd claiming 2 of each. Despite top netminder Jake Allen being injured, the Blues have won 3 of their last 4 games. However, with Vlad failing to score in his last 5 games, the lines might be reshuffled again.

Sam Bennett, C/LW, 14% owned

The rookie had to get a mention. He’s scored an incredible 6 goals in his last 3 games. Although the Flames are one of the league’s worst performers away (6-11-3), Bennett is red hot and has a good chance of scoring on this week’s road trip.

Vladislav Namestnikov, C, 18% owned

The Russian has had a stellar week, whilst on Tampa’s line 1. He’s scored 3 goals and assisted 2, which stretches his point streak to 8 points in 4 games. Most recently, Namestnikov posted a hat-trick against the Pens.

Goalkeepers

Brian Elliot, 68% owned

Elliot has won 3 of his last 4 contests but none more so than St. Louis’ 4-3 OT win over the Canadiens. Elliot genuinely won the game for the Blues as the Habs out shot St. Louis 49-22. The Blues now embark on a 4 game week, with 0 tired contests, and Elliot is expected to start them all–unless Allen makes an unexpected return.

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