Fantasy Fix: Subban Heating Up, Monahan Burning Out

Each Monday, we’ll take a look at the past week in fantasy hockey. Specifically, we’ll dive into which players are heating up, which players are cooling down, players to target on the waiver wire, and an update on fantasy-relevant injuries. From week to week, a lot can change in a player’s fantasy outlook due to line combinations, injuries, or just a simple tweak in their game and we will have you covered.

Fantasy Hockey – Trending Up

Josh Bailey – NYI (LW/RW)

Although he’s never really struggled at any point this season, Bailey needs to be listed here after his incredible run of late. In his last five games, he’s had a remarkable nine points (four goals, five assists), which included a hat trick.

Josh Bailey
Josh Bailey of the New York Islanders. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He’s now up to 40 points (nine goals, 31 assists) in 33 games this season, and on pace to smash his previous career-high of 56 points, set last season. There’s no reason to believe he’s going to let up anytime soon, so continue to start him with confidence.

Ryan O’Reilly – BUF (C/LW/RW)

The Buffalo Sabres have been playing better of late, partially fuelled by the increase in production from their studs, including O’Reilly. After going six straight games without recording a point, O’Reilly has bounced back nicely for his owners, recording five points (one goal, five assists) in his last six games. This breakout has come without playing on the top power-play unit, making it even more encouraging. Hopefully, he can make is way back to the top unit sooner rather than later, but either way, he appears to be getting back on track.

P.K. Subban – NSH (D)

There aren’t very many Nashville Predators players who aren’t producing right now. Subban certainly isn’t one of them. The defenseman had struggled to find the scoresheet until recent games, going pointless in seven straight contests. He’s rebounded nicely for his owners, though, tallying four points (two goals, two assists) over his last three games. Given his heavy five-on-five minutes, and his role on the first unit of the second-best power play in the NHL, Subban remains an elite fantasy defenseman, and should be in your lineup, no matter what kind of streak he’s on.

Fantasy Hockey – Trending Down

Dion Phaneuf – OTT (D)

The recent struggles of the Ottawa Senators have no doubt been mirrored in the fantasy hockey world too, especially for Phaneuf. The veteran has now gone seven straight games without recording a point, and also has just two points in his last 16 games.

Dion Phaneuf
Dion Phaneuf of the Ottawa Senators. (Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports)

It appears his solid start to the season is very much in his rearview. Given the struggles of the Senators power play, his role on just the second power-play unit, and the Senators struggles to score in general, there are likely better options to consider than Phaneuf, other than the deeper leagues.

Nazem Kadri – TOR (C)

It wasn’t that long ago Kadri was listed in the “trending up” section. Well, a recent seven-game run of being held off the scoresheet is certainly cause for frustration. Sure, not having the Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews in the lineup hurts, but it’s still not an excuse for this much of a production collapse. As is the case with other struggling Maple Leafs, it’s only a matter of time before Kadri gets hot again, but for now, at least temper your expectations until he gets back on track.

Sean Monahan – CGY (C)

After enjoying the best start to a season of his young career, Monahan has hit a wall offensively of late. He was up to 30 points through 28 games this season, but has since gone five straight games without a point. It doesn’t help that his counterpart Johnny Gaudreau has also struggled in that span, as has the Flames power play. He remains one of the top scoring threats on the Flames roster, and still has his top line and top power play roles locked down, so the scoring will soon return.

Waiver Wire Targets

Alex DeBrincat – CHI (RW/LW – 50% owned)

This will likely be the last time DeBrincat is listed here, as he will certainly be owned in more than half of leagues after this upcoming week. The rookie continues to prove he’s a legitimate fantasy producer, as he’s now up to 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists) in 33 games.

Alex DeBrincat Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks right wing Alex DeBrincat. (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports)

Although he’s recently been bumped down to the second power-play unit, he remains on the first even-strength line and will continue to light up the scoreboard. There may be a slim chance he’s still available in your league, and if he is, pick him up – seriously.

Reilly Smith – VGK (RW/LW – 44% owned)

It remains a mystery as to why Smith is still only owned in 44 percent of leagues. He’s given fantasy owners every reason to get him on their roster, increasing his point total to 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 32 games. He remains on the first line and second power-play unit, so he’s being used in all scoring situations. It’s about time to start taking the Vegas Golden Knights offense seriously, and it’s about time to start taking Smith seriously. Go out and get him.

Daniel Sedin – VAN (LW – 44% owned)

With all the injuries on offense that the Vancouver Canucks have endured lately, D. Sedin will be relied on a lot more to produce offensively. Two of the Canucks top scorers in Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser are out of the lineup, so the scoring needs to come from somewhere, and with 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in 34 games this year, Sedin is the guy. He will continue to play on the top line and top power-play unit, but it’s the increase in opportunity that makes him worth adding. If the Canucks can find the right guys to mesh with the Sedins, he could make for a nice addition to your team.

Artem Anisimov – CHI (43% owned)

The Chicago Blackhawks appear to be back on track, as are their top offensive players. Anisimov has quietly put together a respectable season so far with 18 points (13 goals, five assists) in 33 games. Although his point total may not jump off the page, it’s his recent promotion in the Blackhawks lineup that makes him worth an add. He’s now back on the top power-play unit, as well as the second even-strength line. If the Blackhawks offense truly is back, you’ll want Anisimov on your roster.

Colin Miller – VGK (37% owned)

As every fantasy hockey owner knows, solid depth at the defense position is hard to find on the waiver wire. Well, Miller is proving to be a consistent fantasy defenseman in Vegas. He’s now up to 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) in 32 games this season, which you certainly can’t shake your head at for a defenseman. He also sees time on the second power-play unit, which has proven just as productive as the first unit. If you’re in need of a defenseman, he can no doubt be a useful addition.

NHL Injury Updates

Jeff Carter – LAK (Ankle)

After being cut by a skate in the LA Kings game on Oct. 18, Carter is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. Recent reports say he could be out until February, and reportedly isn’t even close to resuming skating.

Ryan Getzlaf – ANA (Upper Body)

Getzlaf returned to the lineup on Dec. 11 against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Ryan Getzlaf Ducks
Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Ryan Kesler – ANA (Hip)

Kesler remains on track to return around Christmas time. He did participate in the morning skate on Saturday, so certainly an improvement.

Zach Parise – MIN (Back)

Parise underwent successful back surgery on Oct. 24 but is expected to be sidelined at least two months. He’s resumed skating, and is progressing nicely in recovery, but still hasn’t been cleared for contact.

Scott Hartnell – NSH (Lower Body)

Hartnell returned to the Nashville Predators lineup on Dec. 13.

Marc-Andre Fleury – VGK (Concussion)

Fleury returned to the Vegas Golden Knights lineup on Dec. 12.

Artturi Lehkonen – MON (Lower Body)

Lehkonen was placed on IR on Nov. 18 after suffering a lower-body injury on Nov. 11 against the Buffalo Sabres. No timetable has been set for his return, but he did participate in practice on Friday.

Artturi Lehkonen, Montreal Canadiens
Artturi Lehkonen of the Montreal Canadiens. (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

Evgenii Dadonov – FLA (Shoulder)

Dadonov returned to the Florida Panthers lineup on Dec. 12, much earlier than expected.

Kyle Palmieri – NJD (Foot)

Palmieri will return to the New Jersey Devils lineup on Monday.

Jakob Silfverberg – ANA (Upper Body)

Silfverberg returned to the Anaheim Ducks lineup on Dec. 11.

Cam Talbot – EDM (Upper Body)

Talbot returned to the Edmonton Oilers lineup on Dec. 16, earning the win in his return.

Jared Spurgeon – MIN (Groin Strain)

Spurgeon returned to the Minnesota Wild lineup on Dec. 17.

Ryan Johansen – NSH (Undisclosed Injury)

Johansen returned to the Nashville Predators lineup on Dec. 13.

Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen
Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

Mika Zibanejad – NYR (Concussion)

Zibanejad suffered a concussion on Nov. 24 and is out indefinitely. There’s hope he can practice on Monday, and potentially make his return to the lineup Tuesday night

Matt Murray – PIT (Lower Body)

Murray returned to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup on Dec. 14.

Hampus Lindholm – ANA (Upper Body)

Lindholm returned to the Anaheim Ducks lineup on Dec. 16.

Erik Johnson – COL (Undisclosed Injury)

Johnson did not miss any game action due to his injury, but will miss the next two games due to suspension.

Aleksander Barkov – FLA (Upper Body)

Barkov returned to the Florida Panthers lineup on Dec. 11.

Roberto Luongo – FLA (Lower Body)

Luongo is expected to miss multiple weeks with a lower-body injury suffered Dec. 4. No definitive timeline for his return has been set.

Robert Luongo Panthers
Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Patric Hornqvist – PIT (Head)

Hornqvist did not miss any time after taking a puck to the head.

Justin Schultz – PIT (Lower Body)

Schultz suffered a lower-body injury on Dec. 6 and is expected to miss approximately two weeks.

Alex Pietrangelo – STL (Undisclosed)

Pietrangelo returned to the St. Louis Blues lineup on Dec. 17.

Jaden Schwartz – STL (Ankle)

Schwartz suffered a serious ankle injury on Dec. 9 and is expected to miss at least six weeks.

Auston Matthews – TOR (Head)

Matthews was struck in the head in the game Dec. 9, and hasn’t played since. He remains listed as day-to-day, but was unable to practice Sunday, so a return date remains unclear.

Sven Baertschi – VAN (Jaw)

Baertschi suffered a fractured jaw on Dec. 9, and will miss four-to-six weeks.

Sven Baertschi Canucks
Sven Baertschi of the Vancouver Canucks. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Bo Horvat – VAN (Ankle)

Horvat suffered a fractured ankle on Dec. 5. He’s considered week-to-week, without any specific timetable for a return.

TJ Oshie – WSH (Upper Body)

Oshie suffered an upper-body injury on Dec. 4 and remains day-to-day. He did practice on Friday, but was wearing a non-contact jersey. A return date remains unclear until he’s able to practice fully.

Corey Perry – ANA (Lower Body)

Perry suffered a lower-body injury on Dec. 11 and is considered week-to-week. On the positive side, he was still seen working out at the Honda Center this past week.

Devan Dubnyk – MIN (Lower Body)

Dubnyk suffered a lower-body injury Dec. 12 and is considered week-to-week. Despite his designation, he did travel with the Minnesota Wild on their four-game road trip, so there appears to be optimism he won’t be out long-term.

Marcus Johansson – NJD (Ankle)

Johansson suffered a bruised ankle on Dec. 9 and has missed the last four games as a result. He’s considered a game-time decision for Monday night.

New Jersey Devils center Marcus Johansson
New Jersey Devils center Marcus Johansson. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Logan Couture – SJS (Concussion)

Couture suffered a concussion on Dec. 15 and will miss Monday’s game. He’s considered day-to-day.

Brock Boeser – VAN (Foot)

Boeser suffered a foot injury blocking a shot on Dec. 17 and did not return. Although he’s considered day-to-day for now, he was unable to put any weight on the foot, and was seen on crutches.

Dustin Byfuglien – WIN (Lower Body)

Byfuglien suffered a lower-body injury Dec. 9 and has been placed on IR. He’s considered week-to-week.