– Your Weekly Fantasy Hockey Breakdown
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.
Mikael Granlund – MIN (C/LW/RW)
After a relatively slow start to the season, Mikael Granlund has heated up in a big way of late. In his last seven games, he’s tallied 10 points (four goals, six assists), bringing his season total to 15 points.
He continues to play a key offensive role with the Minnesota Wild, playing on the top line and top power-play unit. With Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle both back in the lineup, the Wild’s offense appears to be clicking in a big way, so expect Granlund to continue producing in a big way.
Colton Parayko – STL (D)
With seven points (one goal, six assists) in his last six games, Colton Parayko appears to have found his stride after a disappointing start to the campaign. He had just five points over his first 18 games of the season. There hasn’t been any change in his ice time or power play usage, so the spark in offensive production could likely be a confidence thing. A confident player is a productive player, so look for him to remain reliable going forward.
Joe Thornton – SJS (C)
After a stretch of just a single point in seven straight games, Joe Thornton is starting to find his groove again with four points (one goal, three assists) in his last three games. There’s been a hefty amount of line juggling going on for the San Jose Sharks of late, and it’s appeared to have benefitted Thornton. Although his best days may be behind him, he can still be a solid contributor to your fantasy team overall.
Erik Karlsson – OTT (D)
After exploding for 17 points in his first 11 games, Erik Karlsson has dropped off substantially of late, going his last six games without recording a point. A big contributor to his decline in production is the poor play of the Ottawa Senators as a whole lately.
Being arguably the best fantasy defenseman in the NHL, it’s only a matter of time before he returns to his normal form. He remains a fixture on both the top pairing and top power-play unit and continues to see big-time minutes, so the production will undoubtedly return. But for now, it’s fair to be frustrated as an owner.
Max Pacioretty – MON (LW)
It’s been an up-and-down season so far for Max Pacioretty. Early in the season, he went on a run of seven games without a point before a burst of 11 points in 10 games to follow it up. Unfortunately for his owners, the Montreal Canadiens forward is back on the decline, going his last six games without registering a point. Given that he’s had four straight 60-plus point seasons, there no question he’ll get back on track. But his owners would certainly like to see a little more consistency from the sniper.
Brent Seabrook – CHI (D)
To say it’s been a down year for Brent Seabrook offensively would be putting it lightly. He’s only registered two assists in his last 13 games, and only seven points on the entire season. At this time, he’s playing on the second pairing but is seeing no power play time, which significantly hurts his value. Until he’s moved back to the power play or starts producing regularly at even strength, there are much better options to start over him.
Waiver Wire Targets
Gabriel Landeskog – COL (LW – 50% owned)
The fact that Gabriel Landeskog is still available in 50% of leagues is just not right. He’s now up to 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in 22 games, and is set for a major bounce-back campaign.
On a Colorado Avalanche team that currently ranks eighth in the NHL in goals for, Landeskog is seeing big minutes in offensive roles, both on the top line and top power-play unit. He appears set to match his point totals from two-plus years ago, which could see him push 60 points. If you’re lucky enough to still have him available in your league, pick him up now.
Jonathan Marchessault – VGK (C – 39% owned)
With the amount of high-scoring Vegas Golden Knights players still available, it seems most fantasy owners don’t trust them. Well, it may be time to start trusting them. Jonathan Marchessault is now up to 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) through 19 games this season, while playing on the top line and top power-play unit. If the Golden Knights and their scorers were going to have a massive decline, we would’ve seen it by now. Marchessault is a reliable fantasy player in all formats going forward, and could easily be available in your league.
Jordan Staal – CAR (C/LW – 36 % owned)
Another Carolina Hurricanes player that’s starting to become a reliable fantasy asset is Jordan Staal. The veteran is now up to 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) through 22 games this season, and is being utilized in all situations of the game. He’s centering the top line between two other productive players in Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, as well as the top power-play unit. He’s currently on pace to best his career-high of 50 points, so if he’s available your league, feel confident about picking him up.
Reilly Smith – VGK (RW/LW – 32 % owned)
Yet another Golden Knights player that should be owned in far more leagues. Reilly Smith continues to find the scoresheet regularly, now up to 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 22 games. Much like his linemates Marchessault and William Karlsson, Smith continues to put up big numbers, despite not being expected to do so. He’s playing on the top line, but only the second power-play unit, which has not seemed to slow him down any. If he’s available in your league, he’s definitely worth adding at this point.
Sven Baertschi – VAN (LW – 25 % owned)
It’s about time to list Sven Baertschi here. With his role on the second line and second power-play unit not being as desirable as some, he needed to show the production first. And he has. He’s now up to 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 24 games, and on pace to smash his previous career-high of 35 points. He’s likely available in most leagues and is certainly worth a speculative add, especially if he keeps this pace.
Cam Fowler – ANA (Knee)
Fowler returned to the lineup Nov. 20 against the San Jose Sharks.
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.
Andre Burakovsky – WAS (Thumb)
Burakovsky is expected to miss 6-8 weeks after suffering a broken thumb in the Washington Capitals game on Oct. 21.
Ryan Getzlaf – ANA (Upper Body)
Getzlaf was placed on IR Tuesday after suffering an upper-body injury Oct. 29. He underwent surgery to repair his zygomatic bone and is expected to miss up to two months.
David Backes – BOS (Surgery)
Backes appears to be well ahead of his initial eight-week recovery after undergoing diverticulitis surgery Nov. 1. He’s been skating and participated in a practice with some contact on Nov. 25. However, there’s still no return date set.
Rasmus Ristolainen – BUF (Upper Body)
Ristolainen returned to the Buffalo Sabres lineup Nov. 24 against the Edmonton Oilers.
Ryan Kesler – ANA (Hip)
Kesler remains on track to return around Christmas time.
Charlie Coyle – MIN (Leg)
Coyle returned to the lineup Nov. 20 against the New Jersey Devils.
Zach Parise – MIN (Back)
Parise underwent successful back surgery on Oct. 24 but is expected to be sidelined at least two months.
Carey Price – MON (Lower Body)
Price returned to the lineup Nov. 25 against the Buffalo Sabres, posting a shutout in his first game back.
Scott Hartnell – NSH (Undisclosed Injury)
Hartnell is expected to miss 3-5 weeks with a lower-body injury suffered Nov. 11 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Marcus Johansson – NJD (Concussion)
Johansson suffered a concussion Nov. 1 against the Vancouver Canucks and was placed on IR Nov. 9.
Zack Smith – OTT (Thumb)
Smith returned to the Ottawa Senators lineup Nov. 25 against the New York Islanders.
Marc-Andre Fleury – VGK (Concussion)
Fleury suffered a concussion back on Oct. 13 and still has no official return date. He’s yet to practice with his teammates since suffering the injury, but continues to put in on-ice work by himself.
Brad Marchand – BOS (Undisclosed Injury)
Marchand was banged up in the Nov. 11 contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was placed on IR Nov. 16. He was able to practice in some capacity on Saturday, so a return should be near.
Torey Krug – BOS (Upper Body)
Krug returned to the lineup Nov. 24 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Artturi Lehkonen – MON (Lower Body)
Lehkonen was placed on IR Nov. 18 after suffering a lower-body injury Nov. 11 against the Buffalo Sabres. No timetable has been set for his return.
Richard Rakell – ANA (Upper Body)
Rakell is considered day-to-day after suffering an upper-body injury.
Antti Raanta – ARI (Upper Body)
Raanta suffered an upper-body injury, possibly a concussion, Nov. 22 versus the San Jose Sharks. He’s considered day-to-day for now.
Alexander Wennberg – CBJ (Upper Body)
Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury Nov. 11 against the Detroit Red Wings. He practiced with the team on Sunday and is considered a game-time decision for Monday’s contest.
Evgenii Dadonov – FLA (Shoulder)
Dadonov suffered a potentially serious shoulder injury Nov. 25 against the Chicago Blackhawks. There’s no confirmation of the severity of the injury, but there’s potential for it to be long-term.
Radim Vrbata – FLA (Face)
Vrbata took a puck to the face Nov. 18 against the Los Angeles Kings and was placed on IR Saturday. No timetable has been set for his return.
Shea Weber – MTL (Lower Body)
Weber suffered a lower-body injury and has missed three straight games. Although he’s still considered day-to-day, no return date has been set.
Kyle Palmieri – NJD (Foot)
Palmieri suffered a broken foot Nov. 20 against the Minnesota Wild. He was placed on IR and is expected to miss four-six weeks.
Ryan McDonagh – NYR (Abdominal)
McDonagh has missed the last three games with an abdominal strain. He’s still considered day-to-day.
Evgeni Malkin – PIT (Upper Body)
Malkin has missed the last three games with an upper-body injury. There was hope for him to play Saturday, so a return should be near.
Martin Jones – SJS (Lower Body)
Jones suffered a lower-body injury late in Saturday’s win against the Winnipeg Jets. No further updates are known, and he’s considered day-to-day.
David Perron – VGK (Upper Body)
Perron suffered an upper-body injury Nov. 24 against the San Jose Sharks and is considered day-to-day.
I’ve been writing for over three years and have work published by the Calgary Herald, National Lacrosse League, Hard Knocks Fighting and The Weal at SAIT. Although I’ve covered many different topics as a journalist, sports writing remains my main passion and strength.