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November 29, 2010
Shots On Goal
Fantasy Week 8

by Timo Seppa

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GREEN LIGHTS

The eight teams with four games this week are: Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Minnesota, Ottawa, Phoenix, St. Louis and the New York Rangers.

“Base rate” = VUKOTA projected rates for the 2010-11 season.
*Asterisk denotes second game of back-to-back games.

C Brandon Dubinsky, New York Rangers
Base rates: 0.29 G, 0.39 A, 0.67 P
Overview: 4 games. 3 home, 1 road. 1 back-to-back.
Schedule: PIT, @NYI, NYI*, OTT

Brandon Dubinsky’s scorching pace has slowed of late, down to a pedestrian 6 points over the past 12 games after starting off with a blistering 14 points over his first 13 games. But there’s no reason to be giving up on him anytime soon. Averaging over 20 minutes per game—tons of ice time for a forward—look for Dubinsky to continue producing well in all fantasy categories, especially on a week where the Blue Shirts get the Islanders in two of their four contests.

LW Jussi Jokinen, Carolina Hurricanes
Base rates: 0.31 G, 0.45 A, 0.75 P
Overview: 3 games. 2 home, 1 road. 2 back-to-back.
Schedule: DAL*, COL, @NSH*

The Carolina Hurricanes have a tough schedule this week. Sound familiar? In any case, Jussi Jokinen’s fine play of recent, despite a loss of some playing time, is enough reason to put him into your fantasy lineup this week. After recording only six points and a -7 rating in October, the 27-year-old Finn turned around in November to the tune of 13 points and a +2 rating.

RW Martin Havlat, Minnesota Wild
Base rates: 0.32 G, 0.53 A, 0.85 P
Overview: 4 games. 2 home, 2 road. 1 back-to-back.
Schedule: @CGY, PHX, CGY*, @DAL

Rob Vollman may be hammering on him over at Howe and Why, but Martin Havlat’s been on a pretty nice streak of late, with 5 goals and 11 assists over a dozen games in November. He doesn’t have a single power play goal to show for the season, but if your league counts power play points instead, he’s up to eight.

D Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues
2010-11 rates: 0.05 G, 0.50 A, 0.55 P
Overview: 4 games. 1 home, 3 road. 2 back-to-back.
Schedule: @CHI, WSH*, @EDM, @VAN*

If you’re in a league that heavily weights plus-minus, the opposition facing the St. Louis Blues—aside from Edmonton—might give you some pause over selecting one of their defensemen this week. If not, look to 20-year-old Alex Pietrangelo, our #3 overall NHL prospect in Hockey Prospectus 2010-11. Pietrangelo’s production picked up nicely in November, to the tune of one goal and eight assists, including three power play points.

D Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
Base rates: 0.13 G, 0.41 A, 0.54 P
Overview: 4 games. 3 home, 1 road. 1 back-to-back.
Schedule: EDM, SJS, BUF, @NYR*

Other than Sergei Gonchar, you’ve only got one place to go for a fantasy defenseman on the Senators, and that’s to 20-year-old sophomore Erik Karlsson. The young Swede is still learning the ropes in the NHL, but he’s been good for four goals and eight assists thus far in 2010-11, including five power play points. His scoring has been sporadic, but the schedule looks promising for Week 8.

G Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks
Base projection: .916 save percentage
Overview: 4 games. 4 home, 0 road. 0 back-to-back.
Schedule: LAK, FLA, DET, PHX

Anaheim has been an up-and-down club all season long. Like his team, Jonas Hiller has hit a bit of a rough patch over his last four games, but overall, he’s been solid—the 28-year-old Swiss netminder has kept up a .909 save percentage over the last 30 days and an even better .919 over the course of the season.

RED LIGHTS

From a fantasy perspective, players on two teams—Buffalo and New Jersey—draw the short straw in Week 8, with only two games on the docket. Among teams playing three games, Atlanta, Detroit and Florida play all of their games on the road. Another team to watch is Carolina, who gets two back-to-back games among their three contests.

C Tim Connolly, Buffalo Sabres
Base rates: 0.29 G, 0.57 A, 0.86 P
Overview: 2 games. 1 home, 1 road. 1 back-to-back.
Schedule: CBJ, @OTT*

Though technically day-to-day, Tim Connolly’s groin injury could keep him out, even past this week. It’s a shame, because after a slow start, he had been coming around for the last month. Still, Connolly’s always been a good, but not elite option. Given the depth of the Center position in most leagues, you might even be able to drop Connolly and find an equal or better option among free agents.

LW Patrik Elias, New Jersey Devils
Base rates: 0.30 G, 0.49 A, 0.79 P
Overview: 2 games. 1 home, 1 road. 0 back-to-back.
Schedule: MTL, @PHI

It’s pretty impressive that, through all of New Jersey’s scoring woes, that veteran Patrik Elias has put up ten points in the last month, to go along with a +4 rating and three power play points. That said, if the sparse schedule wasn’t bad enough from a fantasy perspective, Elias has his thoughts on a newborn baby at home this week.

RW Wayne Simmonds, Los Angeles Kings
Base rates: 0.22 G, 0.31 A, 0.53 P
Overview: 3 games. 2 home, 1 road. 0 back-to-back.
Schedule: @ANA, FLA, DET

Wayne Simmonds was a major surprise—both real and fantasy—in 2009-10, putting up a line of 16 goals, 24 assists, 40 points and a +22 rating. While there’s talk of the 22-year-old Simmonds possibly getting time on the first line this week, temper your excitement by the reality check of his recent performance—one measly point in all of November.

D Tyler Myers, Buffalo Sabres
Base rates: 0.13 G, 0.44 A, 0.57 P
Overview: 2 games. 1 home, 1 road. 1 back-to-back.
Schedule: CBJ, @OTT*

It’s become a bit of a lost season for Tyler Myers. Early on, the sophomore’s defensive woes were painfully evident, as his plus-minus dropped all the way down to -12 by November 3rd. Since then, Myers has actually been good for +2 over his last 12 games, but in doing so, his barely adequate offense has pretty much disappeared. Myers has scored only four points since October 26th, and they came in only two games. Last season’s Calder Trophy winner is not worth giving up on, but at this point, he is worth benching except when the matchup is right.

D Bryan McCabe, Florida Panthers
Base rates: 0.13 G, 0.44 A, 0.56 P
Overview: 3 games. 0 home, 3 road. 1 back-to-back.
Schedule: @ANA, @LAK*, @PHX

Bryan McCabe remains a name defenseman, although his play might not entirely warrant the status. He’s been good for his usual point-every-other-game, but keep an eye on the fact that he’s only got three power play points, for leagues that count PPP. A rough West Coast trip might make it advisable to look elsewhere for starts this week.

G Jaroslav Halak, St. Louis Blues
Base projection: .916 save percentage
Overview: 4 games. 1 home, 3 road. 2 back-to-back.
Schedule: @CHI, WSH*, @EDM, @VAN*

It’s hard to ever recommend keeping Jaroslav Halak out of your lineup—especially with four games on the docket—but this might be the week, if you’ve got better options. Consider that Halak has only managed an .895 save percentage over the past month and he’s won only two of his last eight starts. And despite Edmonton’s presence, the schedule isn’t pretty.

VALUE ADD

G Ondrej Pavelec, Atlanta Thrashers
Base rates: .906 save percentage

It’s amazing that Ondrej Pavelec still isn’t owned in a ton of leagues out there. He’s only got 5 wins, 2 shutouts, 1.69 GAA and a .946 save percentage to show for the past month. Probably something about the Thrashers franchise in general that doesn’t instill much belief in hockey circles.

Timo Seppa is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Timo by clicking here or click here to see Timo's other articles.

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