Time for our weekly look through the players whose ownership rose and fell the most over the last week of fantasy hockey.
Jeff Skinner (+54.3%)
Two hat tricks over three games will get people believing in you like you’re a suffocating Tinkerbell.
Skinner has high-end talent and it’s starting to shine through this season. Over the last two weeks — five games — he’s put up seven goals and an assist. He’s also added a plus-3 rating and 21 shots.
I understand Skinner getting drafted below where his skill level is. I’ve been burned on him a couple of times, rostering him for the year only to have him miss time due to injuries. But, if you’re picking him up off waivers now, that’s a steal. He’s a player with loads of talent who is a little bogged down by being on a team that can’t help him a whole lot. He’s a two-time 30-goal scorer and is starting to light it up. Why wouldn’t you pick him up?
Victor Rask (+38.5%)
We’ll call this the Colbert Skinner Bump.
Rask is Skinner’s center on the team’s second line. He’s a talented player and already on his way to besting last year’s 11 goals and 33 points with nine goals and 22 points through 32 games.
Yes, a good portion of this rise is due to Skinner being on fire and Rask being a beneficiary. But Rask’s total ownership is actually higher than Skinner’s by a little. I’m not taking Rask over Skinner, but I think Rask is for real. In deep keeper leagues and daily situations where you don’t have a lot of money to burn at the tail end of your roster, Rask isn’t a bad start.
Notable Riser: Olli Maatta (+29.7%)
Maatta’s rise is part him getting healthy and part our insatiable love of Penguins in fantasy, assuming that playing with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin makes superstars out of Pokemon.
That can happen. Connor Sheary is liking his time up with Crosby, grabbing his first two NHL points in his first shot at the top line. But this isn’t the 2009 Penguins here. Crosby, Letang, Malkin, Kessel and probably Kunitz and Fleury are the only must-owns in every league, even if they’re slumping. Until the offensive ship gets righted, it’s hard to start saying that Maatta and Duomolin and Perron and Hornqvist are guys that should be owned in every league.
Another part of this rise is that when Maatta returned from injury he put up two goals and two assists in his first three games. He has no points and a minus-1 rating over the four games since then. He does however have 12 shots, six hits and six blocked shots, so there’s still some value there even when he’s not scoring.
Working against Maatta as a successful add is the team just acquired Trevor Daley. He replaces Rob Scuderi, who didn’t have fantasy-valuable skills that would take away from Maatta’s opportunities. Daley is a puck mover and a power play possibility. That may reduce Maatta’s opportunities to some extent.
Martin Hanzal (-30.5%)
Hanzal’s fall is injured related. He’s been out of the lineup since December 6, but is returning on Saturday night.
Hanzal has been reliable this year. He’s on pace for a career year across categories. That’s in large part due to playing with Max Domi, who has really helped the team get their production going. Is it possible for a 28-year-old to explode for an entire season like they never have before? Yeah. I don’t bet on it often, but it’s possible.
Dropping Hanzal wasn’t unreasonable. There’s plenty of reason to think that he’ll have a good year, but not the wild year he was on pace for. If that’s the case, he isn’t worth holding up a roster spot for when he’s injured if your league doesn’t have IR.
But he’s back now. If he was dropped in your league, there’s some value to be found on waivers today.
Artem Anisimov (-26%)
The Anisimov, Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin line has easily been one of the best in the NHL this season. Their chemistry, combined with Kane’s 26-game point streak, has made both Panarin and Anisimov fantasy relevant in a way that few predicted before the season. Even taking into consideration his current slump — which we’ll get to — Anisimov is on pace for a career-high 27 goals and 44 points.
However, there have been some bad signs from Anisimov lately. He hasn’t posted a point in seven games and has just seven shots over that stretch. He’s not going to slump forever, but a concern should be what happens to the line if Anisimov can’t snap out of the funk soon. Do they try Teuvo Teravainen centering Kane and Panarin? Does Marko Dano get called up and get a shot? That’s just speculation and maybe not likely, but Anisimov’s value drops a lot if he loses Kane.
Complicating this is that Marcus Kruger is out four months. That doesn’t directly impact Anisimov’s line, but it does throw things into flux a bit. Kruger absorbs a lot of defensive zone starts and is a winger who gets some time at center here and there. If you’re trying to make sure a line stays together, flux anywhere in the lineup isn’t helpful.
Notable Faller: Cam Fowler (-21.7%)
There’s a bit of the Penguins syndrome going on here. If the guy’s last name isn’t Perry or Getzlaf, I’m a little bit concerned about owning anyone on the Anaheim Ducks right now.
Fowler is a guy who regularly puts up 20-30 assists and single digit goals. That’s serviceable for a depth piece of your lineup, but it’s hard to see that happening right now while he’s in the midst of a six-game pointless stretch on a team that can’t score.
The Ducks are putting up a league-low 1.83 goals per game and as much as we all keep talking about how they’ll bounce back, a lot of that is driven not by how they’re playing but by what a gong show the Pacific Division is. Fowler is droppable.
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.