October 20, 2008

Fantasy Frenzy: Igloo Unrest

It has been a topsy turvy start to the NHL season and that has undoubtedly had an impact on the fortunes of many fantasy hockey players. While teams like the Stars and Ducks look to get things on track, other teams like the Rangers and Wild will be looking to keep there early season success rolling along.

One scene of inconsistency is Pittsburgh, where head coach Michel Therrien has (shocker coming...) mixed up his line combinations in an effort to jump start his team. The main move is that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin now find themselves skating on the same line along with Pascal Dupuis. This one move has huge ramifications on the fantasy value of many Pittsburgh players. Malkin and Crosby are top tier talents who should be started every day, but that is no longer necessarily the case for many of their fellow Penguin forwards. Petr Sykora and Miro Satan are still decent fantasy options as they are skilled players and will still see time on the power play. Pascal Dupuis' stock obviously rises as he is now skating with two of the top five players in the game, so he is at least worth a bench spot now. The one guy who really gets hit hard by the lineup change is Jordan Staal. I drafted Staal in both of my leagues since he was skating on a line with Malkin and Sykora, but now that that line is no longer together he will probably find a home on my bench. I would not recommend dropping Staal, and he may even be a nice "buy low" candidate (along with Satan), because he will probably end up back with Geno and Syko soon. The bottom line is that MT's line combinations are as steady as the Lightning defense so it is always a good idea to have a plan B in mind for any Pittsburgh forwards not named Sid or Geno.

Fantasy 3 Stars of the Week
  1. Thomas Vanek - Vanek was the class of the NHL this week with six goals and two assists in four games. Vanek also chipped in with six PIM, four points on the power play, and one game-winner.
  2. Alexander Semin - Washinton's "other" left wing was on fire with five goals and an assist in three games. Semin was also an impressive +5 during that stretch.
  3. Evgeni Malkin - Geno was enjoying life with Sid as he put up a goal and six assists in his three games over the last week. Of those seven points, five came with the extra man which explains his modest +1 for the week, but he did add six PIM for his efforts.
Chris Yarbrough is the GFH Fantasy Guru for the 2008-09 season. You can read more from Chris on his own blogs, Taking One for the Team and The Flower Shop.

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