Jamie McGinn’s scoring has snowballed with the Avalanche.
As St. Patrick’s Day comes and goes, it makes us think why not capitalize on it while handing out some advice? This is the toughest time of year because we did have to up our ownership requirements to 50 per cent of Fantasy leagues because of teams that are getting ready for next season or are tired of some players on their current teams.
We’ve added a new feature to the Troll: our “hot risers” of the week. It definitely can be tough to negotiate the last few weeks of your Fantasy hockey year. The finish line is starting to approach as most leagues head to their semifinal round. Let’s see if these picks will help you get to your appointed goals.
White Hot Riser
Jamie McGinn, LW, Colorado Avalanche: McGinn has risen in Fantasy leagues because of a second straight hot week. At press time, the left winger had put up seven goals in his last seven games. How much more on fire can you get? McGinn’s ownership rate went up a whopping 34.1 percentage points in ESPN leagues and a comparable amount in Yahoo! leagues. Is he a potential 25-goal scorer? With the right ice time, he sure is and even before this hot stretch, the Avalanche winger would have come pretty close to 20 goals. Either way, add McGinn for the stretch if you still can.
Red Hot Riser
Sergei Kostitsyn, LW, Nashville Predators: Did someone have a run on left wingers on the waiver wire? Kostitsyn has six points in his last five games and has at least two shots each in every one of those games. Maybe it is the fact that he is reunited with his older brother, but whatever it is almost does not matter. Kostitsyn could top 50 points and that would be a career high. His upside could ultimately be around 60-to-65 points. His percentage point rise was 25.4 in ESPN leagues.
Green Hot Riser
Travis Hamonic, D, New York Islanders: This is a brief mention as we wrote about him last week, but Hamonic’s rise of 23.4 percentage points in ESPN leagues was trumped by a rise of over 25 percentage points in leagues overall. Generally, a five-point week (from a blueliner, no less) and some positive praise and press will do that.
And now for our picks of the week…
Travis Zajac, C, New Jersey Devils: Please keep in mind this is a move reserved for the last two weeks of the season, but in case Zajac returns early, Fantasy owners need to be aware that he’s someone to target now. This “return” seems to be better planned than the last one and the reality is Zajac rushed his first return much like Zach Parise did last season. Someday, players will learn this lesson and when they do, Fantasy hockey will become a bit easier. Until then, just keep in mind that Zajac is very close to a return, whether it happens this week or next week.
Antoine Vermette, LW/C, Phoenix Coyotes: Yes, this was a rough but necessary choice. If Vermette sees any more time with Ray Whitney then his Fantasy value will rise. Vermette’s overall ice time with Phoenix is up about a minute from his Columbus days. Five points in his last five games makes him someone worth consideration for your team. After all, what is the worst that can happen?
Jakub Voracek, RW, Philadelphia Flyers: Some will argue with this pick, but when Voracke gets fed the ice time, he seems to produce and when he gets relegated down the depth chart, he just does not have that same pop. With five points in his last four games, he is showing life again at the right time and he does tend to play well against teams that are physical, which is what the Fantasy hockey playoffs are all about. A favourable schedule this week also may help so keep an eye on Voracek is playing with.
Matt Niskanen, D, Pittsburgh Penguins: This is yet another gamble, but Niskanen is playing better than Paul Martin (who makes $5 million per year) and it is time for Coach Dan Bylsma to admit that Martin just does not do enough with his ice time. From what we saw Saturday against New Jersey, Niskanen was better with the puck, with decision making and shooting ability. He may be worth an add at this point so go take a look.
Slava Voynov, D, Los Angeles Kings: This is an investment, so do not let Voynov’s 16 points in 43 games fool you. He will be a very solid NHL player and if you act now, you may not have to worry later. Voynov’s ability to rush up the ice has been well documented and does create scoring chances for others. Also, he can finish, but must use his shot more. Voynov is worth a pickup as a deep defensive option.
Cory Schneider, G, Vancouver Canucks: If Vancouver keeps rolling, then Schneider could stand to get a few more starts as Roberto Luongo may be rested for a bit. The numbers do not even matter here. What matters is the fact that Schneider may ultimately be a better goalie when all is said and done. However, he likely will never get that chance in Vancouver. Take a shot at picking up the Canucks’ backup up for the last few weeks.
Well, that is it for this week. See you next week on the Wire Troll.