James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Dose: Monthly Check-up

Thursday, January 09, 2014


The Hockey Dose is designed to help fantasy owners compete (and hopefully dominate) their leagues (which means friends, family members and frenemies) in conjunction with the array of great stuff you can find at Rotoworld.

 

Considering how many draft guides are out there, I usually assume that you know about the best of the best players. With that in mind, the Dose mostly focuses on scouring waiver wires for nice finds and also disseminating which players are likely to maintain hot streaks and who might rebound from slumps (while also highlighting potential flukes).

 

In many cases, that means looking at the raw numbers and determining guys who were inexplicably on the fantasy free agent market in many leagues. Still, we’re getting to the point where players who seem like the real deal aren’t being doubted nearly as much as they would in, say, November.

 

With that in mind, one must dig a little deeper to find gems. For that reason, I like to spotlight players who are having especially strong months (instead of merely focusing on full season stats) every now and then. The logic is simple: someone might be bouncing back from a slow start, flourishing thanks to a more lucrative linemate situation, enjoying an elevated status because of injuries or feeling refreshed thanks to something as simple as a coaching change.

 

Let’s get cracking on players who’ve played especially well during the last 30 days, then, shall we?

 

For everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's Player News and follow @Rotoworld_ HK+@cyclelikesedins on Twitter.

 

MONTHLY MOVERS

 

The key here is that I’m focusing on players you could conceivably nab. It begins with a few who will be tougher to get, though. This list generally follows players according to their monthly Yahoo ranks.

 

Jakub Voracek and Kyle Okposo (both at 79 percent owned) - Here are two Dose favorites - at least favorites in the "how do you not own these guys?" kind of way - who are now mostly owned. You should probably get on that if they aren't in your league, though. Blake Wheeler is also 79 percent owned, but I'm not as enthralled with his value.

 

Wayne Simmonds (68 percent) - He's a lot like the prior two mentions, only he's slightly more available. The Flyers winger has 14 points (including nine goals, matching Alex Ovechkin), 18 PIM and 38 SOG in the last 30 days.

 

Paul Stastny (59 percent) - I've already joked in a recent Dose about the Colorado Avalanche forward being almost good as he is boring, but let's give the guy credit where it's due; he's been producing well lately (16 points in the last 30 days). He's also receiving plenty of opportunities to succeed, with an average of 18:58 TOI.

 

Nathan MacKinnon (55 percent) - While Stastny seems like a bit of a snoozer, people tend to fall over themselves to justify adding the first pick of the 2013 NHL Draft. The most promising thing, for me, is that MacKinnon hasn't been shy about firing away. He has 124 SOG in 43 GP this season. Both Stastny and MacKinnon fail to be no-brainers in my mind (which is hopefully fueled by a brainer) compared to guys who might fill rarer categories.

 

Chris Stewart (57 percent) - Instead, I'd rather have a former Colorado Avalanche forward. He's actually been pretty tame PIM-wise lately (11 in 30 days) and doesn't use his body or his shot nearly enough for a power forward (only 26 SOG and nine hits in that period), but it always seems like he's doing something useful. Then again, I've always been pro-Stewart, so do note that. (Big downside: an alarmingly low 12:52 TOI average.) Stewart's teammate Jaden Schwartz (61 percent) has had a strong month in his own right, and while I'm uncertain about his long-term outlook, he's getting a ton of ice time (18:38 TOI). Schwartz's 17.4 shooting percentage is unsustainable, for one.

 

Troy Brouwer (45 percent) - It seemed like some doubted he could carry his solid power forward numbers over from Chicago to Washington, but he largely has. While he hasn't matched his pace from 2012-13 (19 goals and 33 points in 47 games), few should expect that. The bottom line is that he's proving to be a nice Steve Downie type in combining inconsistent but solid offense (nine goals, 19 points) with solid SOG (26 in 30 games, 75 overall) and strong PIM and hits.

 

Chris Kreider (31 percent) - The thing I love about the young Rangers' forward is that he's been a useful player in the last 30 days despite only having four goals and three assists in that time. That's because he's a triple threat in PIM (34), SOG (29) and hits (41). I'm decidely pro-Kreider in hits leagues.

 

Valtteri Filppula (61 percent), Scott Hartnell (47 percent), Brandon Dubinsky (60 percent) and Brayden Schenn (41 percent) - Just going to lump a few more regular Dose recommendations together here. Filppula is the only outlier in this group because he's a scorer while the others augment their scoring with peripheral stats. The fact that Filppula is averaging more than 20 minutes per game helps a lot.

 

COLLECTING A FEW D

 

Erik Johnson (45 percent) - Producing nicely (11 points) while maintaining the kind of numbers you'd expect from a top pairing defenseman (39 SOG and nicely, 32 blocked shots).

 

Matt Niskanen (67 percent) - He's been surprisingly effective for the Penguins defense this season. I wonder if he'll only slip as Pittsburgh's D corps gets healthier, though.

 

Marek Zidlicky (51 percent) - Putting up solid numbers, but I'm mainly entranced by the assist he collected on Michael Ryder's goal from Tuesday. Wow.

 

SOME GOALIES TO CONSIDER

 

Note: This group is the weakest, but I thought I’d at least ponder a few options.

 

Anton Khudobin (26 percent) - The best recommendation of this group, Anton Khudobin has been lights out. Even if Cam Ward is nearing a return, Khudobin is worth considering for the short-term. Really, he might push Ward for starts, anyway.

 

Eddie Lack (32 percent) - The Canucks are slipping considerably and Roberto Luongo’s ankle may only sideline him for a week or two, but Lack has been very effective most of this season. And you never know with ankle injuries. So he’s an interesting consideration.

 

Al Montoya (13 percent) - By most (if not all) measures, recent numbers say that Montoya should be starting most nights over Ondrej Pavelec, arguably the least effective starter (who’s actually paid like a starter, you’re off the hook, Calgary goalies). Still, the crown these two are fighting over is the top gig in Winnipeg. Not exactly something you’d jet your way to the waiver wire for.

 

***

 

So, hopefully this list gave you a player or two to consider, if not add. Stay tuned during the rest of this season for other suggestions and follow the latest tidbits at Rotoworld.

 

For a full list of injuries and suspensions, click here.



James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
Email :James O'Brien



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