Fantasy Hockey: Six Players To Buy/Avoid For Daily Leagues

With the 2013-2014 NHL regular season slated to start today, many fantasy leagues are getting back into the swing of things by drafting and scouting players in their respective leagues. For those in keeper or weekly leagues, daily transactions might not be of much importance (more so if you play with a capped amount of moves), but those that are willing to put their hard earned money on the line in the form of daily leagues should look no further than Building a team of available players with a salary-cap in mind ($100,000 budget to build a team of 2 LW’s, 2 RW’s, 2 Center’s, 2 Defensive players, 1 Goalie, and a FLEX) might not be every fantasy manager’s forte, but it will force managers to be cognizant of the money they spend while trying to draft a well-balanced team.

Not only does Draftstreet offer its participants the opportunity to win big on a daily basis, the website has a wide selection of daily fantasy sports to play as one can choose between leagues such as the MLB, NHL, NBA, NCAA, PGA, & NFL. Setting up an account with Draftstreet is easy and payouts are smooth as one gets paid as soon as the night’s games are done, so there should be no reason for fantasy lovers to shy away from the site – especially since the site is holding a Freeroll on Thursday night. As the NHL season gets under way and fantasy managers get back into the swing of things, many might find themselves gravitating toward play in daily leagues, and what better way would there be to get back into the groove of things than thinking about which fantasy players one should purchase or steer clear of?

Thursday Night Buys

Tampa Bay Lightning Steven Stamkos / Carolina Hurricane Tim Brent
Tampa Bay Lightning Steven Stamkos / Carolina Hurricane Tim Brent

Steve Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightning – C)

Over the course of his career, Steve Stamkos has been nearly a point per game player against the Boston Bruins. MC Stammer has registered 18 points (12 Goals, 6 Assists) in 19 games played against the Bruins, and one-third of those points (4 Goals, 2 Assists) have come on the man-advantage.

Stamkos will likely be one of the priciest players available to fantasy managers on Thursday, but the centerman is certainly worth the price-tag that is associated with him. Playing alongside Martin St. Louis and Ryan Malone will offer Stamkos plenty of opportunities to rack up his goal and assist totals, so fantasy managers in daily leagues should absolutely indulge on such a high profile player.

Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals – RW)

Much like Stamkos, Ovechkin will be a hot commodity that is highly priced on Thursday night and throughout daily fantasy hockey play during the regular season. Throughout his career against the Flames, Ovechkin has recorded 12 points (6 Goals, 6 Assists) in six games played against the team.

While the Calgary Flames of prior years boasted players such as Miikka Kiprusoff and Jarome Iginla, the team is going through a rebuilding phase which will not include either of the key aforementioned players. With the Flames not expected to accomplish much this year and history on his side (in terms of points at least), it would seem that Ovechkin would be a safe buy against a developing team that the winger has had loads of success against.

Marcus Johansson (Washington Capitals – LW)

Some might look at Marcus Johansson’s price tag in daily fantasy hockey leagues and wonder why he is being suggested as a player to buy. Well, Johansson not only finished off the ’12-’13 NHL regular season on a tear, he developed good chemistry playing alongside Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

Seeing as how Adam Oates will reunite the line for the start of the ’13-’14 NHL season, fantasy managers in daily leagues might want to consider buying Johansson as a cost-effective player that could potentially pay off huge dividends. Johansson has only played the Flames once – a game in which he recorded two assists – but playing on a line with players such as Ovechkin and Backstrom speaks for itself, so fantasy managers should absolutely take the chance on buying Johansson.

Three To Avoid

Cory Schneider is expected to take over the New Jersey Devils' starting job once Martin Brodeur retires. (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
Cory Schneider is expected to take over the New Jersey Devils’ starting job once Martin Brodeur retires. (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils – G)

Martin Brodeur’s streak of starting opening nights for the New Jersey Devils will end on October 3rd when the team faces off against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Instead, Cory Schneider will draw the start against the Penguins, and it will be the goalie’s first ever start against a power-packed Pittsburgh offense.

Over the last three seasons, Schneider has started at least 25 games and has recorded spectacular numbers in the Wins, GAA, and Save Percentage categories. However, there should be some initial caution when purchasing the Devils’ goalie in daily leagues as he will need to adjust to competition within the Eastern Conference. This is not to say that Schneider will have a rough transition to a different conference and division, but fantasy managers might want to err on the side of caution just to see how the goalie performs in his first couple of starts for New Jersey.

Ryan Callahan (New York Rangers – RW)

Recovering from a surgically repaired shoulder is not easy for anyone, especially for a physical two-way forward such as Ryan Callahan. Under Alain Vigneault, Callahan will likely have a very prominent role in New York’s offense, but it will certainly take some time to adjust to a new head coach and style of play.

Callahan should be a safe bet for purchase during the later stages of the fantasy hockey season, but managers should temper their expectations of the forward for the meantime (especially since he has only recorded two points against the Coyotes in five games played against them). With news that Callahan will not be in the lineup for Thursday night’s opener against Phoenix, fantasy managers should avoid putting stock into the forward – at least for New York’s first several games.

Mike Ribeiro (Phoenix Coyotes – C)

Yes, Mike Ribeiro is centering the Coyotes’ top line, but he will have to go up against Henrik Lundqvist on Thursday night, which isn’t a flowery prospect for any offensive player. Last year, Ribeiro had immense success with the Washington Capitals as he scored 49 points (13 Goals, 36 Assists) in 48 games played, but the centerman will have to get used to some new line-mates in Phoenix.

Fantasy managers should steer clear of Ribeiro for the first couple of games to see how he adapts to playing alongside players such as Radim Vrbata and Mikkel Boedker. Ribeiro will likely find success with his new line-mates, but it will probably take some time before the center and his wingers build a solid rapport.