It seems the time is now to keep an eye on the Chicago Blackhawks if you’re a fantasy hockey owner. But it’s not your usual suspects.
“The Blackhawks have made a number of roster moves early in the season in trying to find which players will fit with whom and which young players might be able to contribute to the roster,” writes the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Hine.
“But Monday they made perhaps their most significant roster move involving one player who could be a key to their future and one who has lost favor in the organization.”
Hine is referring to the club’s decision to demote Bryan Bickell in favour of recalling 20-year-old Marko Dano. The centre came over in a trade that sent Brandon Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets during the offseason.
Fantasy Advice: What To Do With Dano?
Chances are, Bickell was a free agent in most fantasy leagues anyways. His zero points and minus-three rating through his first seven appearances shows just how far he’s fallen since his postseason performance in 2012-13.
But Dano’s another story. He had seven points (1g-6a) in nine games with Rockford prior to his call up and he’s expected be a big part of the Blackhawks offence moving forward. He skated on a line with Tanner Kero and Ryan Hartman, according to Hine, which means his fantasy value right off the bat might not be great.
But keeper leagues and dynasty leagues are the perfect place for owners to take a good long look at the Blackhawk forward. He’s going to get his opportunities this season with the Hawks and could be a mainstay moving forward.
If he’s available, grab him. If not, keep Dano on your rookie radar.
If his fantasy value wasn’t already booming from his early play this season, the news that he’s stepped onto a line with captain Jonathan Toews could make Artemi Panarin a very hot commodity in all kinds of leagues.
“Panarin has been so impressive that Joel Quenneville is turning to him to play on the top line Monday against the red-hot Los Angeles Kings, with Marian Hossa unlikely to play because of a lower-body injury,” Mark Lazerus wrote on Sunday for the Chicago Sun-Times.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) November 2, 2015
Playing with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov this season, the 24-year-old has 10 points (2g-8a) in just 11 games. That’s on just 24 shots on goal for the skilled left winger.
The move has the rookie skating with Toews and Ryan Garbutt and should get fantasy owners talking about the possibility of an increased offensive output for all three of these players.
Fantasy Advice: Watching The Hawks Trio
For owners of all three – Toews, Garbutt and Panarin – this could be the week to expect some solid production from your Hawks. While Toews has certainly underperformed this season, Panarin will likely add some flare to that top line.
Owned in 55-percent of Yahoo leagues, Panarin’ s a valuable asset in anything from a daily league to a keeper league. If he’s on your bench, this week would be a good time to get him on your active roster.
For those owners who have Toews and Garbutt, they will definitely benefit from the addition of Panarin on their line. Look for both players to have solid offensive weeks – even with Hossa sidelined. Keep them in your active lineup.
For more fantasy news, follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewGForbes.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.