To anyone who reads these articles, a tremendous apology for missing last week's. I haven't yet figured out how to personally and financially make fantasy hockey my life, so sometimes reality and life have to take precedent over fantasy and hockey. Even now, I'm typing this in a hotel in Atlanta - 2,175 miles from my house. Anyway, thank you all for understanding. Now on to business.
A brief statement. A statement that is true for all fantasy sports: You have to work the waiver wire. You must must MUST. You need to get out your shovel and dig into that massive, gross pile of unused players. It is rare for an owner in any fantasy sport to have such a terrific draft that they coast through the season without having to pilfer free agents. For fake hockey, it is impossible. The NHL season is too long. There are too many injuries. There are too many wonky schedule issues (see below). There are too many players that go hot and cold. There are just simply too many players. Making the best of those waiver pickups is important, but the simple fact is, if you are active on the waiver wire in any way, then your team is going to be better.
My team in the AAtJ is a perfect example. I started 3-0, which was proof of a good draft. I have since gone 1-4, which is proof of the significance of the waiver wire. The only transactions I made since the draft (until today) were one defensive pickup and some moves to adjust for goalie injuries. You have to pay attention to the free agent pool. It's arguably the most important part of winning in fantasy hockey.
This week brings us another strange schedule where two teams have just one game.
One Game Teams: Anaheim, Toronto
Two Game Teams: Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Winnipeg
Four Game Teams: Colorado, Nashville, St. Louis
Since I missed last week, I'm going to run you through last week's Stars of the Week first.
WEEK 8 (Nov. 23-29)
* Jamie Benn - 4 Goals (1 PPG, 2 SHG), 2 Assists, 16 Shots, 7 Hits, 6 PIM
** Claude Giroux - 2 Goals (1 PPG, 1 SHG), 4 Assists (3 PPA), 11 Shots, 17 PIM
*** Evgeni Malkin - 4 Goals (2 PPG, 1 GWG), 1 Assist (1 PPA), 16 Shots, 9 PIM
* Duncan Keith - 2 Goals (1 GWG), 3 Assists (2 PPA), 5 Blocks
** Dustin Byfuglien - 1 Goal (1 GWG), 3 Assists (2 PPA), 10 Shots, 7 Hits, 6 Blocks
*** John Carlson - 5 Assists (3 PPA), 11 Shots, 14 Blocks
* Braden Holtby - 4 Starts, 4 Wins, 1 Shutout, 120 Saves, 1.75 GAA, .945 SV%
** Jonathan Quick - 3 Starts, 2 Wins, 82 Saves, 1.28 GAA, .953 SV%
*** Sergei Bobrovsky - 3 Starts, 2 Wins, 80 Saves, 1.32 GAA, .952 SV%
WEEK 9 (Nov. 30-Dec 6)
Mike Cammalleri - 4 Goals (1 PPG), 3 Assists (1 PPA), 15 Shots, +6
A Devil! I wish his dad was in town all season long because dude was out of control this week. He was awesome. I really wish I hadn't dropped him a few weeks ago.
Derick Brassard - 3 Goals (1 PPG, 2 GWG), 2 Assists (1 PPA), 18 Shots, 10 Hits
It's great when you get a stat-line like this from a middle range fantasy player.
Justin Abdelkader - 4 Goals (2 PPG), 1 Assist, 10 Shots, 9 PIM
It's great when you get a stat-line like this from a middle range fantasy player. He caps off a trio of guys you wouldn't really expect to be on here.
* Shea Weber - 3 Goals (3 PPG), 3 Assists (1 PPA), 11 Shots, 5 Hits, 6 Blocks
It's weeks like this that make me not regret putting him in my Top 15 Defensemen article.
** Erik Karlsson - 1 Goal (1 GWG), 5 Assists (2 PPA), 6 Shots, 6 Hits, 5 Blocks
Karlsson has found his groove. There is no slowing him down now. He has now blown past John Klingberg for most points by a defenseman with 32 (6 G, 26 A) to KIingberg's 27 (5 G, 22 A).
*** Zdeno Chara - 2 Goals, 2 Assists, 12 Shots
A pretty good week for the old man. He mostly got the 3 star because there wasn't any other defenseman worth putting on here. The most surprising part of Chara's week - zero hits.
* John Gibson - 4 Starts, 3 Wins, 2 Shutouts, 91 Saves, 0.75 GAA, .968 SV %
Gibby has been solid since being called up the day before Thanksgiving (two days before I was going to see him play in San Diego, I might add). This week he was downright unreal. More on him below.
** Devan Dubnyk - 3 Starts, 2 Wins, 1 Shutout, 69 Saves, 0.40 GAA, .986 SV%
An awesome stat-line for D-Dubs. However, he's now hurt. It's allegedly minor, but it's a groin injury, and those are known to linger. He'll miss at least one game.
*** Anders Nilsson - 4 Starts, 3 Wins, 135 Saves, 1.72 GAA, .951 SV%
This guy came out of nowhere. I don't expect stalwart efforts like this to continue for much longer, but it's nice while it's happening. I was unlucky enough to have goalie injuries, but lucky enough to have picked up Nilsson.
Chris Kunitz (LW - PIT) -This week, 3 GP, 1 Goal, 5 Assists (1 PPA), 10 Hits
He has more points this week than he did in the 23 previous games. His old age has minimalized his value these days, but he's a talented player who might be coming alive. One concern is that he had just a single shot on net this week. His ice time was low for a stretch earlier in the season, but he's played 16 minutes or more in the last 4 games, including 19 on Sunday night against the Ducks. Don't pick him up yet, but keep an eye on him. Use the Penguins two game week to see what else he can do.
Leo Komarov (LW-TOR) - Last two weeks, 7 Games, 4 Goals (2 PPG, 1 GWG), 2 Assists, 19 Shots, 34 Hits
He's shooting more now than he did the first two months of the season, so the points are coming. He's actually now tied for the Leafs team lead in points. Plus, he hits a heck of a lot. He is 2nd in the NHL, averaging almost 5 per game. He's the only player in the top 5 in Hits that's worth consideration. NOTE: Leafs only have 1 game this week.
John Gibson (G-ANA) -
Who knows what's going to happen with him once Frederik Andersen comes back, but Gibson has been highly touted in the minors for a long time. It's only a matter of time before he becomes the Ducks main guy. When is the question. I thought it was going to be last year, but that didn't happen. I think you have some time to see how things shake out in Anaheim since the Ducks have only 1 game this week.
Connor Hellebuyck (G-WPG) - Since call-up 10 days ago - 3 Starts, 3 Wins, 83 Saves, 0.97 GAA, .965 SV%
This guy is another highly touted prospect. He has dominated in the brief audition he's gotten. My thought is that 1) Andrej Pavelec is out until January, so this guy is going to be with the Jets for a few more weeks and 2) Michael Hutchinson is inconsistent, so Hellebuyck is going to get his looks. I think he's worth adding if you need a little goalie help. NOTE: Jets only have 2 game this week
DEVILS FANTASY VALUE
Mike Cammalleri -
I predicted Cammy would MAYBE get 60 points this season, but he could realistically crack the 70 mark. Right now his pace is fractionally better than a point per game. That's very un-Devil-like.
Adam Henrique - 2 Goals (1 PPG, 1 GWG), 2 Assists, 8 Shots, 10 Hits
I have to admit that I'm surprised he's still putting up good fantasy numbers. I'm being stubborn by not saying he's actually worth owning, but if he keeps it up for another week or so, I promise I will change my tune.
Kyle Palmieri - 3 Goals (1 PPG), 11 Shots
Unlike Henrique, I think Palms is officially the only other Devil skater worth owning. I love that he hits and shoots and is involved in all aspects of the game. Palms and Cammy - they're legit.
Lee Stempniak - 1 Goal, 2 Assists (2 PPA), 6 Shots, 6 Hits
Like I've said before, the fact that he's a RW helps boost his value. With that said, I'm not picking him up.
Tyler Kennedy - 3 Assists (1 PPA), 4 Shots
He's a RW, too. Do not pick him up.
Players with 2 points - John Moore and Patrik Elias (both had a pair of assists)
Neither of these guys are worth owning, but Moore has respectable numbers over the last two weeks.
What's good? What's bad? Let me know in the comments, friends.