With the fantasy hockey season well under way, managers have probably stowed some lesser owned players on their bench. While injuries and inconsistencies can throw off a fantasy hockey team for some time, making oneself known through the free agent/waiver-wire might not be such a bad thing for some managers.
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Despite the fact that certain players go on hot and cold streaks every month, November has had its fair share of streak scorer thus far – and a number of them might be here to stay in their respective fantasy lineups. Although there is no guarantee that the players mentioned below will sustain their scoring rates for the remainder of the season, their recent performances have given fantasy managers reason enough to keep a watchful eye for the next several games.
Numbers In Novembers
Tyler Toffoli (Los Angeles Kings – C/RW)
Tyler Toffoli has only played in seven games this season for the Kings, but the dual position forward has already registered eight points (4 Goals, 4 Assists) in his short time with Los Angeles, and is poised to make a big impact in the NHL. Toffoli has been skating on the Kings’ second line as of late, and it’s certainly to the youngster’s advantage to be centered by a veteran such as Mike Richards.
Fantasy managers should absolutely take note of Toffoli’s November performances as the forward has produced a point in every single contest that he has played in, with the exception of one game (November 15th vs. NJD). While Toffoli might be relatively new to the NHL since he only has 17 games of experience under his belt, the forward has been doing everything to justify the ice-time (14:41 Average TOI) being given to him on a nightly basis.
Carl Hagelin/Chris Kreider (New York Rangers – LW & C/LW)
Hagelin and Kreider have been having very productive performances for the Rangers during the month of November, and the two forwards should definitely be worth a look in most fantasy formats. Even though Hagelin was recently benched by head coach Alain Vigneault, he has done everything to garner the attention of fantasy managers by recording seven points (4 Goals, 3 Assists) in eight November games. Although Hagelin’s production has somewhat tapered off over the last three games, fantasy managers shouldn’t be surprised to see the winger rebound sooner rather than later.
On the other hand, fellow teammate Chris Kreider has also been racking up the points for the Rangers. Much like Hagelin, Kreider has also amassed seven points (all assists) in eight November contests and is making himself known in fantasy circles. While some fantasy managers might be wondering when Kreider might kick up his goal production, it’s worthwhile to know that Kreider is no stranger to a physical game as he can dole out a fair amount of hits in addition to his ability to pass and shoot the puck.
Olli Jokinen (Winnipeg Jets – C)
At only 9% owned in Yahoo! formats, Olli Jokinen has certainly been doing enough to be noticed over the last couple of weeks. Not only has Jokinen been averaging slightly under 18:30 of ice-time as of late, the centerman has put up a whopping 26 shots on goal throughout the month of November.
In addition to his shots on goal total, Jokinen has also managed to record seven points (2 Goals, 5 Assists) in nine contests this month – something that will undoubtedly help the center secure more playing time. Fantasy managers should also consider the fact that Jokinen is also seeing time with Winnipeg’s number one power-play unit, which could enable the forward to contribute to a fantasy team in a multitude of ways. As long as Jokinen keeps up a formidable rate of production, his ice-time, and spot on the Jets’ second line will be his to lose.
Danny DeKeyser (Detroit Red Wings – D)
Jonathan Ericsson’s return to the Red Wings’ lineup might have spelled the end of Danny DeKeyser’s assignment alongside Niklas Kronwall, but the young defender did everything to show that a future stint on Detroit’s top-pairing wouldn’t be that much of a reach. While DeKeyser’s ice-time will likely see a decrease in the meantime, fantasy managers must not forget that the defenseman has tallied six points (2 Goals, 4 Assists) in eight November games.
Seeing as how DeKeyser was a highly sought-after free agent before the Red Wings signed him, the defenseman has done just about everything asked of him this season to earn the trust of Mike Babcock. Fantasy managers shouldn’t flock to add DeKeyser in droves just yet, but if Jonathan Ericsson happens to go down for some extended portion of time, then fantasy managers know who will most likely be replacing him.
Valeri Nichushkin (Dallas Stars – RW)
Valeri Nichushkin might have had a rough introduction to the NHL after not producing as much as he might have been expected to over the month of October. However, that has changed over the last couple of weeks as the right winger has started to see time on the Stars’ top line alongside Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.
Although Nichushkin only managed to record two points (both assists) in October, the forward has roared back to life with six points (2 Goals, 4 Assists) in eight November games. Aside from scoring, Nichushkin could also throw his body around effectively, block some shots, and put up a decent amount of shots on goal – all assets that should help the forwards rate of ownership (8%) increase if he keeps producing at his November pace. Fantasy managers should check their league availability for Nichushkin as the Russian forward was a highly touted prospect/draft pick in last year’s NHL Entry Draft for a reason.
More Performances Of Note
Charlie Coyle (Minnesota Wild – C)
Ever since his return to the Minnesota lineup from being on the injured reserve list, Charlie Coyle has been appearing on the score-sheet on a regular basis. In seven November games, Coyle has recorded five points (2 Goals, 3 Assists), and looks as though he fits right into the Wild’s future plans. Coyle is, and will continue to be, one of Minnesota’s building blocks for the future, so fantasy managers might want to keep a very close eye on the centerman (7% Owned in Yahoo! leagues) over the next few games as he could be primed for more responsibility if he keeps up his current scoring pace.
Reilly Smith (Boston Bruins – RW)
Reilly Smith has been averaging a little under 13 minutes of ice-time over the last few games, but the right winger has been making the most of his time on the ice by scoring seven points (2 Goals, 5 Assists) in eight November games. Smith might be more of a reasonable addition in deeper leagues, but if the forward continues his rate of production, then it will be hard to not give him more ice-time somehow. For the meantime, fantasy managers should hold off on adding Smith, but they should definitely monitor his progress for the rest of November to see if he is worthy of being picked up in the near future.
Michael Stone (Phoenix Coyotes – D)
It might be too early to know what exactly Michael Stone is all about, but the defender has made it hard for fantasy managers to ignore him as of late. Even though Stone +/- rating weighs in at a negative right now, the defenseman has tallied four goals in November and has surpassed his career-high in terms of goals scored in a single NHL season. Stone can also rack up a fair amount of hits and blocks, so fantasy managers – especially those in deeper leagues – might want to consider adding the defender while he is still available as his 3% ownership rate might increase if he keeps lighting the lamp for the Coyotes.
Brandon Pirri (Chicago Blackhawks – C)
Brandon Pirri has been on a goal scoring streak as the centerman has recorded a goal in three straight games. As of now, Pirri is only 4% owned in Yahoo! formats and has been averaging a little over 14 minutes of ice-time as of late. Overall, Pirri has recorded six points (4 Goals, 2 Assists) during the month of November, and fantasy managers should definitely take note of the center’s production as he can also contribute in other categories such as hits, face-offs won, and shots on goal.
In his third year with The Hockey Writers, Toli covers all things related to the New York Islanders. Focusing on the Islanders, the NHL Draft & draft-eligible prospect goalies, and hockey history, Toli can be contacted on Facebook by searching/messaging Toli Metter and on twitter by searching @ToliMetterTHW.