Fantasy Hockey: Around the Western Conference

Written by Joe Cutroni, Rotoexperts.com Staff Writer

January 9, 2009

Joe Cutroni provides an inside look at who’s hot and who’s not around the Western Conference to give you the edge you need in your fantasy hockey league.

CENTRAL DIVISION:

Chicago Blackhawks

Hot

Kris Versteeg (RW, CHI) has been posting excellent numbers of late, notching goals in three straight games and five of his last six. He also has seven points in the last five games and has started off the New Year where he left off in December. It’s safe to say that Versteeg may no longer be available in your league, but scoop him up if he’s available.

Not

Brent Seabrook (D, CHI) has just one point in his last seven games for Chicago. Seabrook only holds marginal fantasy value in larger leagues at this point in time.

Notable injuries

Patrick Kane (RW, CHI) missed two games with a high ankle sprain before returning to action last Thursday. Keep an eye on his progress.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Hot

Before Rick Nash (LW, CLS) was sidelined last week with an injury, he was providing fantasy owners some excellent numbers. In his last six games played, Nash has 10 points, 17 SOG, and is plus-8. Keep an eye on Nash’s status this week to see if he’ll miss any additional time.

Not
R.J. Umberger (C, CLS) has been hot and cold all season, and right now he’s struggling. Umberger has posted just two points in his last eight games and is really hurting fantasy owners who were counting on him to put up big numbers with Columbus in 2008-09.

Notable injuries

Rick Nash (LW, CLS) left last week’s game against Detroit with an undisclosed injury. He’s expected to miss several games.

Kristian Huselius (LW, CLS) is out with a concussion and is day-to-day.


Derick Brassard
(C, CLS) is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

Detroit Red Wings

Hot

Pavel Datsyuk (C, DET) remains one of the hottest players in fantasy hockey. He has points in 10 of the last 11 games, adding 9 goals and 20 points during that span. Datsyuk will get a chance to add to his hot streak with a four-game road trip this week.

Not

Niklas Kronwall (D, DET) has pitched in on offense over the last couple of games, but contributed just one assist in the prior 14 games for Detroit. He averages a ton of ice time but his recent lack of offense is hurting his fantasy value. Keep an eye on him to see if his recent play can revive his floundering fantasy numbers.

Notable injuries

Chris Osgood (G, DET) returned between the pipes last week after missing seven games due to a nagging groin injury.

Nashville Predators

Hot

Jason Arnott (C, NSH) has started to find his game again, with four points in his last five games. This comes after being held scoreless over the prior six contests. The veteran, who recently celebrated one thousand games played, still holds solid fantasy value.

Not
J.P. Dumont (RW, NSH) has now gone 13 games without scoring a goal. He’s added an assist in each of his last three games, but fantasy owners are counting on Dumont to find the back of the net more often. If you have an alternative, consider sitting Dumont until he breaks out of this scoring slump.

Notable injuries

Steve Sullivan (RW, NSH), who has not played since the 2006-07 season, is close to returning to action for Nashville. It’ll be tough to gauge how well Sullivan will play after rehabilitating from back surgery, but it may be worth picking him up if you have the roster space.

St Louis Blues

Hot
David Perron (LW, STL) has five points in his last five games after going without a point in his previous four games. Although he only holds fantasy value in very large leagues, Perron will be looked upon by the Blues to step up offensively with the number of injuries the team has recently suffered.

Not

Brad Boyes (RW, STL) has just three points in his last seven games. Boyes had been on a tear prior to this recent bump in the road, but he’s posted just three goals in his last nine games. His fantasy value remains high, though, and look for Boyes to rebound this week against Calgary, Colorado and Chicago.

Notable injuries

Paul Kariya (LW, STL) is likely out for the season after undergoing surgery on his injured hip.

Andy McDonald (C, STL) has been making progress following a fractured ankle and has started skating. He’s still several weeks away from rejoining the lineup.

NORTHWEST DIVISION:

Calgary Flames

Hot

Daymond Langkow (C, CGY) has been one of the hottest fantasy players in the NHL lately. In his last seven games, Langkow has recorded six goals, 12 points, and is plus-6. He continues to play on the top line with Jarome Iginla (RW, CGY) and Mike Cammalleri (LW, CGY) and gets a ton of power play time with his linemates. Make sure he’s a starter in your lineup this week.

Not

It’s hard to imagine Jarome Iginla (RW, CGY) ever being on a cold streak, but his goal scoring has taken a step back since the beginning of December. Iginla has just two goals in his last 10 games, and four in the last 14 games. He’s still considered a top fantasy player but owners would love to see him start scoring more consistently.

Notable injuries

None

Colorado Avalanche

Hot
Wojtek Wolski (LW, COL) has started to get things going of late, with three goals and four points in his last two games for Colorado. Fantasy owners may be seeing the start of a nice run for the talented winger. Wolski is getting a ton of ice time and seeing time on Colorado’s top power play unit.

Not
Milan Hejduk (RW, COL) has not scored in his last seven games and has just one goal in the last 13 games. Fantasy owners have been taking a hit with his lack of production of late. However, Hejduk should continue to receive roughly 20 minutes of ice time per game in hopes of picking up the offense with the absence of some key Colorado players.

Notable injuries

Paul Stastny (C, COL) remains out for the next 6-to-8 weeks following surgery on his fractured forearm.

Joe Sakic (C, COL) underwent surgery on his back and is hoping his recovery is quick enough to be back in the lineup prior to the end of the regular season.

Edmonton Oilers

Hot
Shawn Horcoff (C, EDM) has averaged a point per game over his last seven contests for Edmonton. He still needs increase his shots on goal, but Horcoff has picked it up since the Christmas break. With four games on tap for the Oilers this week, keep Horcoff in your starting lineup.

Not

Tom Gilbert (D, EDM) has contributed a bit more over the last four games, but he’s added just three points in his last 10 games. Gilbert is held without a SOG in many games and hasn’t scored in 20 contests for Edmonton. He has fantasy value in deeper leagues, but you may find a better o
ption at this point.

Notable injuries

Ales Hemsky (RW, EDM) remains out with concussion symptoms and it’s uncertain how much more time he’ll require to get healthy for a return to the lineup. Keep a close eye on Edmonton’s top offensive player.

Minnesota Wild

Hot

Pierre-Marc Bouchard (LW, MIN) has four points in his last five games and is about the only Minnesota forward who’s contributing offensively. That being said, Bouchard holds only marginal fantasy value.

Not

Marek Zidlicky (D, MIN) has added just one point in the last six games for the Wild and is failing to hold high fantasy value for team owners. After posting 43 points in the 2007-08 season, owners are hoping for a repeat performance this season. It might not happen.

Notable injuries

Marian Gaborik (RW, MIN) has been placed on injured reserve after undergoing hip surgery. He could miss remainder of the season, so keep an eye on his rehab progress.

Vancouver Canucks

Hot

Henrik Sedin (C, VAN) continues to be one of the hottest Canucks – he has seven points in his last six games, including three goals, 18 SOG, and is plus-3. Sedin is keeping up with twin brother Daniel Sedin (LW, VAN) in fantasy value. Keep Henrik in the lineup this week, with three home games on the schedule for Vancouver.

Not

Kevin Bieksa (D, VAN) is struggling to post offense of late, with just one point in his last six games. He needs to step it up to provide good fantasy value to owners who are counting on him. Bieksa remains a marginal fantasy player in larger leagues.

Notable injury

Roberto Luongo (G, VAN) has started skating with the club, but a timetable for his return is unknown at this time.

PACIFIC DIVISION:

Anaheim Ducks:

Hot

Bobby Ryan (RW, ANH) continues to make Anaheim feel good about his call-up this season. To wit, he has recorded an astounding 15 points in the last 10 games. His fantasy value right now is at an all-time high, and he should increase his totals this week when he faces Detroit, Pittsburgh and Minnesota.

Not

Jean-Sebastien Giguere (G, ANH) has not posted a win in his last five games and was pulled last week against Los Angeles. Over that span, Giguere surrendered 16 goals and has not provided fantasy owners with much consistency. He’s been streaky the entire season, so expect that pattern to continue.

Notable injuries

Teemu Selanne (RW, ANH) remains out after receiving a laceration to his leg. He’s expected to miss the next 3-to-5 weeks.

Dallas Stars:

Hot

Loui Eriksson (LW, DAL) has been a nice pickup for fantasy owners this season, and he’s starting to find the back of the net. Eriksson has lit the lamp three times in the last four games and has been a plus-player on a team loaded with negatives during a tough season in Dallas. Eriksson continues to get his share of ice time and cashing in a steady amount of shots taken.

Not

After being on a bit of a hot streak, Brad Richards (C, DAL) has been cold of late, with zero goals and just three assists for the Stars. He had picked up his game for two weeks, but now is struggling and again hurting fantasy owners who opted to hold onto him. He’ll face Detroit, Buffalo and Los Angeles at home this week, so start him and hope he can turn things around.

Notable injuries
Sergei Zubov (D, DAL) is out indefinitely after undergoing hip surgery.

Brenden Morrow (LW, DAL) is out for the season after sustaining a torn ACL.

Los Angeles Kings:

Hot

Kyle Quincey (D, LA) might not be your first choice of fantasy defensemen, but he’s picked up his offense of late. Quincey has five points in the last five games and remains Los Angeles’ top-scoring defenseman. His fantasy value remains low but is a worthy pickup in larger leagues.

Not

Patrick O’Sullivan (C, LA) has been ice cold for fantasy hockey owners of late. He’s been held off the score sheet in the last five games and isn’t providing much fantasy value. Until O’Sullivan can put together a couple of solid weeks in a row, keep him sidelined.

Notable injuries

Erik Ersberg (G, LA) returned in net after missing seven games due to a groin injury.

Phoenix Coyotes:

Hot

Olli Jokinen (C, PHO) has potted four goals, seven points and 19 SOG over the last eight games. Jokinen’s play has been a little erratic this season, and at times, he can go through one or two weeks without much production. But he is just as capable of torrid hot streaks as well. Hopefully his recent play indicates the start of a long stretch of solid play.

Not

Kyle Turris (C, PHO) hasn’t had the season fantasy owners had hoped from the young center. Turris had gone eight games without lighting the lamp prior to scoring against Tampa Bay last week. If you’ve held onto him in hopes of seeing him up his game, it’s time to drop him and find an alternative.

Notable injuries

None

San Jose Sharks:

Hot

Joe Thornton (C, SJ) is having his best stretch of play in 2008-09 right now. Over his last seven games, Thornton has posted eleven points and is plus-7. Fantasy owners know that Thornton is primarily a set-up man, but that doesn’t diminish his fantasy value. Thornton may have another big week coming up, with home games against Tampa Bay, Calgary and Detroit.

Not
Rob Blake (D, SJ) has cooled off since the beginning of December after having two excellent fantasy months. Since returning from the Christmas break, Blake has added just two assists. He remains a good fantasy option, but it’s debatable if the veteran rearguard can keep up the pace over the remainder of the season.

Notable injuries

None

E-mail Joe Cutroni at jcutroni@rotoexperts.com if you’d like to talk hockey and more hockey!

Please note: Statistics referenced are current as of January 8, 2008.