Fantasy Hockey: Around the Western Conference

Fantasy Hockey: Around the Western Conference

Written by Joe Cutroni, Rotoexperts.com Staff Writer

October 16, 2008

HIGHLIGHTS: Joe Cutroni provides an inside look at what’s happening around the Western Conference, providing the edge you need in your fantasy hockey league.

CENTRAL DIVISION:

Chicago Blackhawks

Between the lines

Martin Havlat (RW, CHI) has started the season strong, registering two goals and three assists to lead his team in scoring. Havlat is healthy, so play him and hope the injury bug doesn’t bite this season.

Patrick Sharp (LW, CHI) has two goals and two assists in three games. He’s on pace to eclipse the 62 points he posted in 2007-08. Keep him in your starting lineup.

Notable injury

James Wisniewski (D, CHI) had off-season knee surgery and is out until December.

Watch list

Patrick Toews (C, CHI) has recorded just one point in the first three games, but start him next week with home games against Edmonton and Detroit.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Between the lines

Derick Brassard (C, CLS) has two goals and one assist in three games. He’ll face three stingy defensive teams this week, playing against Vancouver, the New York Rangers, and Minnesota.

Kristian Huselius (LW, CLS) has netted two goals in his first three games with Columbus. He’s worthy of a starting slot on your fantasy team, since he’s on the Blue Jackets’ top line and power play unit.

Notable injury

Pascal Leclaire (G, CLS) suffered a bruised thumb over the weekend and is day-to-day. Starting him this week may be a risk.

Watch list

Christian Backman (D, CLS) has three points in three games, including a power play goal. If he’s available, he might be a worthy pickup for your team, especially if he continues to contribute to Columbus power play.

Detroit Red Wings

Between the lines

Tomas Holmstrom (RW, DET) has three goals, including two on the man advantage. He may net more with games against St. Louis, Atlanta, and Chicago this week. Play the hot hand and start him.

Brian Rafalski (D, DET) has four helpers, is averaging roughly 23 minutes of ice time per game, and will continue to man Detroit’s power play alongside Nicklas Lidstrom (D, DET).

Notable injury

Henrik Zetterberg (C, DET) is nursing a sore groin and needs to be monitored. Keep a close eye to see if Coach Mike Bab***** elects to rest Zetterberg.

Watch list

Marian Hossa (RW, DET) has yet to score and is struggling to record career goal number 300, but he’s getting plenty of scoring chances. He has the potential for a strong week, as he’ll face the Blues, Thrashers, and Blackhawks.

Nashville Predators

Between the lines

Jean-Pierre Dumont (RW, NSH) has racked up five assists, but will be without linemate Jason Arnott (C, NSH) for at least two games due to Arnott’s injury (see below).

Shea Weber (D, NSH) has rebounded from last year’s injury-shortened campaign, at least in the early going. He’s scored two goals, has eight penalty minutes, and is averaging over 25 minutes of ice time.

Notable injury

Jason Arnott (C, NSH) has a broken finger and will miss at least two games. With a light schedule next week, Arnott is looking to return to the lineup early. Keep an eye on his status if he is important to your team.

Watch list

Martin Erat (RW, NSH) could be in line for an increase in ice time with Arnott out of the lineup if Coach Barry Trotz bumps him up to the top line in Nashville.

St. Louis Blues

Between the lines

Andy McDonald (C, STL) has already notched six assists in the first three games of the season. He should add to those totals this week when he faces Detroit, Los Angeles, and Florida at home.

Keith Tkachuk (C, STL) has jumped out to a big start in his first three games, scoring four goals on just 13 shots. If you overlooked this veteran and he’s available, pick him up and start him.

Notable injury

Lee Stempniak (RW, STL) is listed as day-to-day with a tweaked knee.

Watch list

Paul Kariya (LW, STL) is off to a good start, notching six points on one goal and five assists. Consider trading for Kariya, since he plays with the talented Brad Boyes (C, STL) and is an excellent setup man.

NORTHWEST DIVISION:

Calgary Flames

Between the lines

Mike Cammalleri (LW, CGY) is tied for the team lead with four points. So long as he is playing on the top line with Jarome Iginla (RW, CGY) and Daymond Langkow (C, CGY), it’s a smart choice to keep him in your lineup. Calgary’s bad start to the season can’t last very long.

Dion Phaneuf (D, CGY) continues to be a dominant fantasy hockey D-man. He leads the Flames with four assists and has nine penalty minutes in just three games played. He’ll be tested this week when he faces Washington, Nashville, and Phoenix.

Notable injuries

None

Watch list

Todd Bertuzzi (RW, CGY) is a player who might be available in your league. If he’s still out there, grab him and slot him into your starting lineup. He leads the team in goals scored with three, has six penalty minutes, and has settled in nicely on the team’s second line.

Colorado Avalanche

Between the lines

Milan Hejduk (RW, COL) has gotten off to a good start, posting three goals in his first four games. He is racking up SOG during every game and is averaging over 20 minutes of ice time. Hejduk warrants a starting slot on your fantasy team.

Paul Stastny (C, COL) leads the team in points with six, including five assists. He’s on pace to have an excellent season while centering Colorado’s top line. With the Avs playing three times this week, make sure Stastny is in your lineup.

Notable injuries

None

Watch list

David Jones (RW, COL) is playing alongside Joe Sakic (C, COL) and Wojtek Wolski (LW, COL). Their line is starting to pick things up, and Jones looks to be a good acquisition for the long run.

Edmonton Oilers

Between the lines

Shawn Horcoff (C, EDM) has posted two goals on just four SOG and is already averaging over 20 minutes of ice time. If you can pair-up Horcoff with Ales Hemsky (RW, ED
M), do it now before Edmonton’s top line starts to get hot.

Denis Grebeshkov (D, EDM) is off to a fast start in Edmonton, leading the team in points. He doesn’t play as many minutes as Lubomir Visnovsky (D, EDM) or Sheldon Souray (D, EDM), but he’s outscoring both players to this point.

Notable injuries

None

Watch list

Sam Gagner (RW, EDM) has been held off the score sheet so far this season. He’s playing with Dustin Penner (LW, EDM) and Andrew Cogliano (C, EDM), which should help him, but you may want to sit Gagner this week with road games against Chicago, Colorado, and Vancouver.

Minnesota Wild

Between the lines

Mikko Koivu (C, MIN) has posted nine points and leads the team in scoring. He’s really stepped it up with Marian Gaborik (RW, MIN) having a slow start to the season.

Antti Miettinen (LW, MIN) is off to a terrific start in Minnesota, notching five goals in three games while ranking second in team scoring.

Notable injuries

Marek Zidlicky (D, MIN) has been placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. He is expected to miss at least one week.

Marian Gaborik (RW, MIN) is out with a “lower body injury”. The extent of the injury has not been disclosed.

Watch list

Andrew Brunette (LW, MIN) may be available in your league. He is benefiting from playing with Mikko Koivu and should finish the season with 60-70 points.

Vancouver Canucks

Between the lines

Roberto Luongo (G, VAN) has posted a 3-1 record to start the season, but his GAA and SV% aren’t on par with his typical numbers. Vancouver has just two games on the schedule this week.

Alex Burrows (LW, VAN) isn’t known for his scoring touch, but his five points in four games has been a nice surprise. Combined with a large amount of expected PIMs, Burrows could be an excellent pickup.

Notable injury

Kevin Bieksa (D, VAN) is out with a minor MCL sprain. He might be ready to play this week.

Watch list

Ryan Kesler (C, VAN) has two goals and two assists in his first four games. He’ll see time on the Canucks’ power play, but hold off starting him because of the light schedule this week for Vancouver.

PACIFIC DIVISION:

Anaheim Ducks:

Between the lines

Ryan Getzlaf (C, ANH) has zero points in his first four games. He’ll be on the road for all three games this week, in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. Don’t count on his cold streak to continue for much longer.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere (G, ANH) is winless in all three games this season. Backup netminder Jonas Hillier (G, ANH) may get more starts over the next couple of weeks if Giguere doesn’t rebound quickly.

Notable injuries

Travis Moen (LW, ANH) is day-to-day with a stiff back.

Watch list

Chris Pronger (D, ANH) has struggled along with the rest of his teammates, but he has racked up 14 PIMs in just four games.

Dallas Stars:

Between the lines

Fabian Brunnstrom (LW, DAL) had a huge career debut, registering a hat trick. [EDITOR’S NOTE: L’il Trivia – that was only the third time in the history of the NHL that a rookie had registered a hat trick in his first game as a pro, and the first time since 1979.] With Dallas playing fours games this week, Brunnstrom is a good pick-up in any league and is an immediate must start.

Stephane Robidas (D, DAL) has stepped in nicely for injured defenseman Sergei Zubov (D, DAL). He’s posted one goal and three assists for the Stars.

Notable injuries

Jere Lehtinen (RW, DAL) is close to returning to action after suffering a groin injury.

Sergei Zubov (D, DAL) is out indefinitely after off-season hip surgery.

Watch list

Sean Avery (LW, DAL) hasn’t contributed offensively but has earned 27 penalty minutes in four games. Avery has the ability to be a solid fantasy choice if he gets his offensive numbers up.

Los Angeles Kings:

Between the lines

Anze Kopitar (C, LA) has gotten off to a slow start, but the Kings play three times this week. Look for him to start posting quality fantasy points, especially since he recently signed a new contract with the club.

Dustin Brown (RW, LA) is another Kings player who is still looking for the back of the net. He was scoreless through his first two games, but expect Brown to improve upon last season’s solid numbers. He’ll match-up against Colorado, St. Louis, and Nashville this week.

Notable injuries

Jack Johnson (D, LA) is scheduled to have surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He is expected to be out until early February.

Watch list

Patrick O’Sullivan (LW, LA) ended his contract holdout and is back in the lineup. He missed the entire training camp and will need a week or two to get back into a groove on the team’s top line.

Phoenix Coyotes:

Between the lines

Olli Jokinen (C, PHO) has fit in well with his new team, recording four points in his first three games. His SOG numbers are down, but he has developed a good rhythm on the Coyotes’ top line and power play unit.

Kyle Turris (D, PHO) has shown quickly why Phoenix was so anxious to get him in the lineup late last season. He posted four points in his first three games, including three helpers. He should get several scoring chances this week against Washington and Calgary.

Notable injuries

Derek Morris (D, PHO) is day-to-day with a finger injury. A referee stepped on his finger in a game last week. He should be able to play with the injury.

Watch list

Peter Mueller (RW, PHO) is now playing alongside Olli Jokinen on the Coyotes’ top line. They are already starting to develop chemistry together, so put him in your starting lineup.

San Jose Sharks:

Between the lines

Jonathan Cheechoo (RW, SJ) is making last season’s poor outing a distant memory. He is off and running with three goals on just seven shots. Start him this week when San Jose travels to face Philadelphia, Florida, and Tampa Bay, three teams that are struggling so far.

Patrick Marleau (C, SJ) is now playing alongside Joe Thornton (C, SJ), which should result in an increased number of goals for him. He’s already netted two goals, with one of them being a short-handed go
al.

Notable injuries

Torrey Mitchell (C, SJ) is out until late November with a broken leg.

Watch list

Devin Setoguchi (RW, SJ) has jumped out of the gate with two goals and two assists. He’s also taken 13 shots on goal, has a plus-4 rating, and is averaging over 15 minutes of ice time per game. If he’s available in your league, pick him up and use him.

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

Rotoexperts.com

KEYWORDS: rotoexperts, rotoexpert, roto, experts, fantasy, sports, hockey, NHL, advice, analysis, attitude, fantasy hockey, rankings, Fabian Brunnstrom, Marian Gaborik, Henrik Zetterberg, Jason Arnott, Ryan Getzlaf, Roberto Luongo, Dion Phaneuf, Jonathan Toews, Jonathan Cheechoo, west, western, conference, joe cutroni, patrick marleau, olli jokinen, kyle turris, devin setoguchi, derek morris, peter mueller, patrick o’sullivan, jack johnson, dustin brown, anze kopitar, sean avery, jere lehtinen, sergei zubov, fabian brunnstrom


3 Responses to Fantasy Hockey: Around the Western Conference

  1. Kramer says:

    To increase fighting, the major penalty should be eliminated and the instigator should get 2 minutes less.

  2. GoLeafs13 says:

    i was just wondering…who is patrick toews?

  3. FlamingHomer says:

    The "RotoExpert" who wrote this has several other mistakes too. In Calgary's case- Cammaleri on the 1st line and Bertuzzi on the 2nd. Quite the opposite actually. Hope nobody has a bunch of money riding on this guy's advice.

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