Fantasy Hockey: Week 4 Impressions

Toronto Maple Leafs Backup Goaltending
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 22: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins plays the puck between his legs to score a goal against Michael Hutchinson #30 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at TD Garden on October 22, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Another week down in fantasy hockey. Sample sizes are getting to where decision-making gets a little trickier. Choosing to wait out a slow start or to cut your losses gets more difficult with every passing day. A fantasy hockey season can be won or lost by waiting too long to cut ties with a struggling player. Last week’s impressions are here. Week 4 had a lot to offer, so let’s jump right into things.

Week 4 Fantasy Hockey Impressions

Who’s Hot

Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks only had two games this past week. With four games coming next week, owners of hot stars Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat are hoping for big numbers. Horvat still had a fantastic week, scoring a hat trick on Tuesday and tallying two assists on Friday. Three of those points came on the power play. Pettersson had a goal and two assists. The 2019 Calder winner has points in seven of his last eight games. Quinn Hughes has four assists in his last three games, all on the power play.

St. Louis Blues

Brayden Schenn of the St. Louis Blues continued his strong play with four goals and an assist this past week. He’s steadily chipping in with the hits as well, logging 20 on the year. What’s most encouraging for fantasy owners is Schenn’s power-play numbers are climbing again. He’s got five already in 12 games this season.

Scrappy veteran David Perron had six points in Week 4, including a four-point effort Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings. Perron has been skating with playmaking star Ryan O’Reilly on the second line, and it’s been working wonders – 12 points in 12 games puts him at, you guessed it, an 82-point pace for the year. His career-high is 66 (in 70 games); although it’s unlikely he’ll keep it up, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility. Not even half of Yahoo league owners have him on their team. If he’s there, grab him now.

Philadelphia Flyers

It’s hard to narrow down a list of hot Philadelphia Flyers right now. Everyone seems to be producing. Seven players had at least two goals this week. Three had three goals (Travis KonecnyJames van Riemsdyk, and Kevin Hayes). Nine had at least two assists. Hayes, van Riemsdyk, and Jakub Voracek each had six points. Of them all, Konecny had the best week from a fantasy perspective – three goals, two assists, three power-play points, 10 shots, and four hits.

Montreal Canadiens

Winger Joel Armia is turning into quite the fantasy hockey asset. The 26-year-old has six goals and two assists in only nine games for the Montreal Canadiens. The point pace is unreal right now. He’s never finished above a 33-point pace, but it’s at 73 currently. That’s because he’s seeing more ice time and power-play time than he ever has. With 113 hits in only 57 games last year, Armia was on the radar in deep banger leagues. This year he’s making a case to be a must-own in any format. He’s scoring, he’s hitting, and he’s shooting. Beware though: his shooting percentage is 23.7 percent when it was 9.2 percent entering the season. Armia is owned in only 19 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Nashville Predators

Veteran forward Calle Jarnkrok earned himself a fantasy mention this week after being on no one’s radar ever before. Except maybe after his rookie season for the Nashville Predators when he posted nine points in 12 games. This year he’s gotten back to that kind of pace, scoring nine points in 11 games. Jarnkrok scored in all three games this week, plus added an assist. He fired off 10 shots and tallied two power-play points as well. Jarnkrok is available in 92 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Who’s Not

New York Rangers

After shooting out of the gate for the New York Rangers with historic numbers, Mika Zibanejad has gone arctic. Zero points this week, but that includes leaving Sunday’s game early with an injury. The Swede had eight points in the first two games, but since only has three in seven. All assists. He’s not shooting much or hitting much. Not doing much of anything at all. He should get going sooner rather than later, but it’s not looking like he’ll repeat the pace he set early on.

Defenceman Jacob Trouba hasn’t had any points in over a week. On one hand, he’s been a bit of a dude as far as points leagues go. On the other hand, he’s been a multi-category filler. To go along with a goal and five assists, he has three power-play points and at least 20 shots, hits, and blocks. The bad news is he got bumped down to the second power-play unit on Sunday. And that’s still being quarterbacked by rookie Adam Fox.

Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche are red hot as a team, but star forward Gabriel Landeskog isn’t. He didn’t tally a single point this week and only has one goal in his last eight games (three points total in that span). Landeskog’s shot pace and hit pace are not what they’ve been in the past, either. The silver lining is if your league counts PIMs then he’s been a solid contributor in that respect. This is a great opportunity to buy low. He’s too good to be playing like this for much longer.

Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres rookie sensation Victor Olofsson has no goals in five games and counting. It’s been power play or bust for the phenom. Every single goal of his NHL career has been on the man advantage, including two last season. He did tally two assists this week – one on the power play – but otherwise it’s been rough lately. Olofsson doesn’t generate much if he’s not able to get open due to being a man up. Shot totals are low for a top-line winger. Sell high here, if anyone will still bite.

Dallas Stars

It’s hard to believe how bad the Dallas Stars have been. Only the New Jersey Devils have scored fewer goals. The raw stats are bad. The advanced stats are bad. Every single thing about this team is bad. Joe Pavelski and John Klingberg only have three points each. Roope Hintz started hot, but now he’s scoreless in three straight. Hintz has had zero points in six of his last eight. With only one assist and an inflated shooting percentage, it’s looking more like a fantasy bust in the making. Even with a hot start, his scoring pace is down to 44 points now. It’s probably time to consider other options.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Last year, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Cam Atkinson scored 41 goals and almost had 300 shots on goal. Many expected a dip in production with the departure of Artemi Panarin and Matt Duchene, but it’s been a rather stark dive nonetheless. Atkinson only has three goals on the season. The shot pace is a bit lower than in recent years, but it’s not nearly as bad as his overall point pace. It’s at a career-worst 37 points right now. There is good news, at least: his shooting percentage is considerably lower than his career average, so more goals should be on the way.

Goalie Notes

Sabres goalie Carter Hutton played like a Hall of Famer in Week 3, so naturally, he came back down to earth in Week 4. Such is the way of fantasy hockey. Hutton did okay in his first start, giving up three goals on 28 shots in a win against the San Jose Sharks. But on Thursday, the Rangers pegged him for six goals on 24 shots. Save totals were low, and his save percentage was ghastly. Overall Hutton and the Sabres have been great this year, so continue to start him with confidence.

Brian Elliott won three games this past week, and he even came in relief Sunday and stopped all 19 shots he faced. In total, Elliott made 97 saves on 104 shots. The veteran has seen an increase in playing time lately, and he’s making the Flyers think twice about who to put between the pipes each night. It may not be time to rush to get him, but Carter Hart owners would be wise to stash Elliott away as a handcuff.

Jordan Binnington made four appearances this week as well, and they were all starts. Jake Allen was suffering from the flu Sunday, allowing Binnington to get back-to-back starts. Binnington won three games and played well overall. As expected, his numbers this season haven’t been close to what he was able to do last year, but he’s still been a solid option for fantasy hockey owners. Sunday wasn’t his best; he allowed four goals on 33 shots. In his other three starts, he stopped 71 of 76 total.

Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson was off his game, for the most part, this time around. Through the first three weeks he had been arguably the best, but in three starts this week he allowed a total of 11 goals. Nashville put four pucks past him on Tuesday, then the Vegas Golden Knights fired in five goals on 49 shots on Sunday. Gibson looked better Thursday against Dallas, but given how awful the Stars have been, two goals seems like much more.

The Chicago Blackhawks goalie situation is starting to take shape. Robin Lehner has gotten the call more often then Corey Crawford in recent days. Lehner started three of the four games this week, and it was a mixed bag. Against Philadelphia, he had a Really Bad Start (save percentage below .850). The other two were great; he allowed only one goal in each.

Shutouts this week came at the hands of Pekka RinneMatt MurrayPetr MrazekLinus Ullmark, and Tuukka Rask. Rinne is playing as good as he ever as, and that’s saying something. Mrazek has two shutouts in his past four starts, but those sandwich two back-to-back games in which he allowed four goals each. Murray is playing well after a rocky start. Rask has been stellar all season. This could be a Vezina year him.

Schedule Highlights (Oct. 28 – Nov. 3)

Here are the most and least games by teams this week. If your fantasy hockey league locks lineups weekly, consider sitting all but the very best players who will only play once or even twice. For streaming purposes, focus on the four-game guys, or at least guys who play off-nights. Heavy nights are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Off-nights are Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

Four Games

Calgary, Vancouver.

Calgary plays three of the four on heavy nights. Vancouver plays all but one on off-nights.

Two Games

Boston, Los Angeles, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Vegas.

Unfortunate for Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss owners – the New York Islanders play a back-to-back Friday and Saturday against two high-powered offences. Both goalies should only get one start, and it’s either against the Tampa Bay Lightning or Buffalo Sabres.

One Game

Ottawa.

Ottawa’s one game is Saturday against the Boston Bruins. For you weekly-lineup owners out there, sit anyone on this team. This is as lopsided as a matchup could possibly get in the NHL.

Highlight of the Week

The league’s leading scorer, David Pastrnak, scored a between-the-legs dandy this week. It’s trendy, but it’s no less impressive.

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