Alex Killhorn is now skating with Steven Stamkos. (Lightning.nhl.com)
This week is going to feature a spread out schedule. It may infuriate some owners while making others extremely happy. There will probably be very little middle ground on this one as the normal Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday structure will be replaced with a slate that is more evenly distributed.
It is a rare case when there is a double nine on the weekend. What is a double nine? Simply, it’s when Sunday means as much as Saturday. This was a phrase we coined about 15 years ago when we used it to win a Fantasy hockey league on the last day because we checked schedules well in advance. Believe us, when we say it pays off.
Who are our picks for this week’s edition? Let’s take a look at some players we think can help your Fantasy hockey team.
Alex Killorn, LW, Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning solved its forward dilemma, but in a way few expected as it traded Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers for Ryan Callahan and two draft picks. The good news for Killorn owners is that he should get more ice time as he has been paired with Steven Stamkos. Stamkos should be up to normal production levels in no time which means Killorn could ride the Fantasy wave. Killhorn’s power play point potential also inches upward as well, as does his media attention — especially since his locker is right next to Stamkos’, as you can see in the video below.
Mika Zibanejad, C/RW, Ottawa Senators: This is a bit of a gamble but if the scoring chances and shots are there, the points have to come, right? Zibanejad has been averaging better than three shots a game over his last 10 contests. This is all without that vaunted top six ice time. His 20 per cent ownership rate is attractive as a bit of a buy low, especially if another Ottawa injury should come. Zibanejad just needs a solid chance and that chance may just come very soon. Keep an eye out.
Lee Stempniak, RW, Pittsburgh Penguins: This is another player that is owned in about 20 per cent of most Fantasy leagues but the trade to the Penguins helps immensely as Stempniak is being paired with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. That is an immediate boost. If you would like a little icing on top of your Fantasy cake, then consider Pittsburgh plays four games this week, including a home and home against both Philadelphia and Washington. Who wants points? Come get some while you can!
Travis Hamonic, New York Islanders: This is a pickup reserved for the deepest of leagues. Hamonic is going to give you a ton of ice time along with 150+ shots and 150+ blocks potential. Yes the offense may have gone on vacation from him, but it is bound to improve slightly as the Islanders have zero pressure on them at this juncture. You can chalk this season up to just a disappointing one but next season should be more promising for Hamonic, therefore pick him up now… especially in keeper formats.
Alec Martinez, Los Angeles Kings: Martinez suddenly has a point in three straight games while seeing slightly more ice time. Expect that to continue as wherever Darryl Sutter can find offense, he’s going to stick with from here on out. Los Angeles is on a six-game winning streak, but still has a tough time scoring. You have to ride the hot hand and Martinez’s less than 5 per cent ownership rate just screams “hey, why not pick me up and see what I can do for you?”
Joni Ortio, Calgary Flames: There was no way we could pick Martin Brodeur with a clear conscience. Also, he is still owned in over 30 per cent of all Fantasy leagues (hard to believe, we know). It will be interesting to see how many starts Ortio gets going forward but so far, he has proved himself to be reliable in net, and that’s something Calgary has sorely lacked all season. This is really the type of pick you make in the deepest of leagues for short-term help.
Please understand again that this is a full week with normal transaction limits in leagues and a very balanced and spread out schedule. The trade deadline had some unexpected affects and next week’s scheduling will add a different dynamic so be aware of it now. Good luck!
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy hockey waiver wire pick of the week is.
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