Happy Holidays with a short Week 11. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will fall on the weekend this year, which means all teams will have finished playing their games by Friday. There will be eight games featured on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, seven games on Wednesday and a week-high 13 games on Friday. Only eight teams will play just twice this week while all other teams will play three games.
With such an evenly spread-out schedule, there’s no need to stack up on any one team, but note that falling behind early in your weekly matchup might prove costly. If you need to make a late push, the Bruins, Canes, Flames, Kings, Isles, Sens, Flyers, Canucks, Jets and Caps play back-to-backs on the final two days of the wee
P% = season points percentage
Opp. P% = opponents’ season points percentage
Diff. = difference between P% and Opp. P%
Pick players from teams at the top of the schedule matrix to maximize games and matchups. Green is good. Red is bad. All advanced stats courtesy naturalstatrick.com. All positions and rostered percentages are courtesy of Yahoo fantasy.
Top 10 Weekly Banger Picks (< 50 percent rostered on Yahoo, on teams with three games this week):
Blocked Shots (BkS/GP):
1. Alec Martinez, D, VEG (3.73)
2. Joel Edmundson, D, MTL (3.33)
3. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, PHI (2.44)
4. Ivan Provorov, D, PHI (2.44) – note 52 percent rostered
5. Brayden McNabb, D, VEG (2.21)
6. Alexander Romanov, D, NYI (2.13)
7. Mikhail Sergachev, D, TB (2.11)
8. Ben Chiarot, D, DET (2.10)
9. Josh Brown, D, ARI (2.08)
10. Erik Cernak, D, TB (2.08)
1. Luke Schenn, D, VAN (4.47) – note 51 percent rostered
2. Nicolas Deslauriers, LW, PHI (4.09)
3. Tanner Jeannot, RW, NSH (3.83)
4. Cal Clutterbuck, RW, NYI (3.77)
5. Garnet Hathaway, RW, WSH (3.48)
6. Matt Martin, LW, NYI (3.48)
7. Erik Cernak, D, TB (3.46)
8. Zack MacEwen, RW, PHI (3.46)
9. Martin Fehervary, D, WSH (3.19)
10. Jeremy Lauzon, D, NSH (3.18)
It wouldn’t be surprising to see every goalie in the league – starters and backups – play at least one game per week. It’s just far too condensed with three games in five days, and for teams that played Sunday, in some cases, they’ll be playing four games in six days. Here’s a quick rundown on some starters and streaming options.
Lukas Dostal and Olle Eriksson Ek, Ducks
Their win against the Oilers was hilarious on multiple levels, and despite Dostal’s 3-for-3 rating for quality starts, as per hockey-reference.com, I still would be very wary of starting him. With John Gibson’s status questionable and Anthony Stolarz on injured reserve, we might also see Eriksson Ek – yes, brother of Joel – make his NHL debut.
Frederik Andersen, Hurricanes
Worth an injury spot stash? Perhaps, but if we’re ranking the three Canes goalies based on their play right now, there’d be a lot of debates for the backup but little dissent for Pyotr Kochetkov to be No. 1. If the Canes go ahead with a three-man rotation, it’ll severely dampen Andersen’s fantasy value going forward, even when he’s healthy. There’s no return date set for Andersen, even though he’s practising again, and his status must be closely monitored to see if there are any changes this week.
Jacob Markstrom and Dan Vladar, Flames
If there’s a week that either goalie can get on track, it’s this one with matchups against the Sharks, Ducks and Kings. There should be at least two wins in there, and they’re both guaranteed to see action since they play back-to-back. The Kings matchup would be the one to be wary of, but I’d be willing to roll the dice with either of them in the other matchups.
Pheonix Copley, Kings
With a shootout win on Saturday, Copley now has two straight wins, and other than the debacle against the Sabres, he has not allowed more than two goals in any of his four other appearances. It’s starting to look like he’s taking over the starting job, even if only in the interim, and starting two of their games this week would give him the same workload as most starters. There’s a ton of sneaky value in Copley this week if you need goaltending help.
Vitek Vanecek, Akira Schmid and Mackenzie Blackwood, Devils
No question, Schmid is the one who will go back to the minors once Blackwood’s done his rehab assignment, but note it’s a tough schedule this week – Canes, Panthers, Bruins – and the Devils have lost a bit of their luster. Schmid has lost three straight and the Devils five straight, and it might be best to proceed with some caution. Second-half collapses are rare but not unheard of, and it could be the Devils are regressing after a heavenly start. All three goalies may see action, basically limiting them to one start each this week.
Ilya Sorokin, Islanders
Semyon Varlamov was injured in his last start, which means Sorokin will likely get the bulk of the work this week. That’s a minimum of two starts if Varlamov misses more time, and Sorokin may even start all three with the back-to-back. They’ve used only two goalies all season, and their third-string option is 36-year-old Cory Schneider, whose performances in the NHL have been really spotty over the past few seasons.
Darcy Kuemper, Capitals
No word when Kuemper will return, but it seems to be a matter of when and not if. Roll with Charlie Lindgren again this week, but the rotation could change following the Christmas break. This might be the last time significant fantasy value can be extracted from Lindgren’s hot run.
Short-Term Streamers (< 50 percent rostered on Yahoo):
Phil Kessel, RW, Golden Knights
An injury to Paul Cotter allowed Jonas Rondbjerg to draw into the lineup, but it was Kessel who got a slight boost playing on the top line. Kessel took Paul Cotter’s spot on the left wing with Chandler Stephenson playing center again in Jack Eichel’s absence. Though Eichel is eligible to return from injured reserve, there is no return date set.
Mid-Term Holds (< 50 percent rostered on Yahoo):
Dillon Dube, LW/RW, Flames
The Flames are obviously struggling, but Dube isn’t part of the problem. With five helpers in his past four games entering Sunday’s game against the Sharks, Dube’s starting to pile up the points, and his minutes have likewise increased. If the Flames turn it around and Dube can retain his spot on a line with Elias Lindholm, he could get a significant boost in fantasy value.
Brandon Hagel, LW/RW, Lightning
Hagel’s been a fixture on the top line and PP1 for some time now, but the points are starting to finally come in. He’s on a five-game point streak with nine points during that span, giving him 26 on the season. Hagel’s not known for his offense and he can be an inconsistent finisher, but he’s at least worth a short hold to ride out his hot streak. Who knows – it might be the start of a monster second half.
Cole Perfetti, C/LW/RW, Jets
With Blake Wheeler set to miss a month, Perfetti should play a larger role in generating offense on the top line. He’s been getting top-six minutes for most of the season, and this might be a time for him to shine. He’s scored 19 points in 31 games this season while averaging close to two shots per game. There’s a similar bump in fantasy value to Karson Kuhlman, who was recently claimed off waivers and played 16:32 in his Jets debut on the top line with Perfetti and Scheifele, and also Sam Gagner on the second line, but Perfetti has the highest ceiling.
Ryan Hartman, C, Wild
No one expected him to maintain his pace of scoring, but note Hartman returned to the lineup on Sunday. He lined up on the right wing with Frederick Gaudreau at center and Matt Boldy on the opposite wing, so perhaps RW eligibility is just on the horizon – Hartman had it last season – and keep in mind Hartman was always the preferred option between Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello.
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