Week six of the fantasy hockey season is behind us. There’s a lot to cover this week, so let’s jump right in. If you missed last week’s impressions, check them out here.
Week 6 Fantasy Hockey Impressions
The Ottawa Senators played four games this past week, and things couldn’t have gone any better for Jean-Gabriel Pageau. The 27-year-old veteran (happy birthday!) is playing the best hockey of his NHL career, rocking 11 points in 15 games. That’s a 60-point pace – Pageau’s career high is 43 set back in the 2015-16 season. It was an incredible week for him; he scored in all four games, netting five total goals. The dude is doing a little bit of everything. Up to eight goals on the year, Pageau has also been hitting and blocking a ton of shots for a forward. The Senators have another four games this week, so grab him while you can.
Rookie defenceman Cale Makar has assists aplenty, and now he’s starting to score goals for the Colorado Avalanche, too. The Calder race is heating up, but Makar seems to be edging ahead. Six points in three games this past week for the University of Massachusetts product. Even split of three goals and three assists. Fantasy hockey owners have to be thrilled with surge in shots on goal, let alone with the fact a lot more are going into the back of the net. Four goals and 13 assists gives him 17 points in 17 games. The kid is living up to every ounce of hype. A dynasty and keeper league juggernaut, Makar is, at least at this point, an elite redraft option as well. Even with superstar forwards hurt, he’s getting it done.
Injury after injury is derailing the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ season so far, but winger Bryan Rust is doing all he can. Rust missed the start of the season with an injury, but he’s registered a point in all six games he’s played since coming back. Surprisingly, Rust is matching Kane’s 96-point pace right now, thanks to a ridiculous 41.7 shooting percentage. Another glaring red flag is his five-on-five shooting percentage for his linemates is 15.8 percent. In layman’s terms, that’s unsustainable. Rust has never played more than 72 games in a season, and he’s never finished better than a 45-point pace. Don’t expect this to continue for much longer, but if you’re hurting for offence, why not try him out.
The fantasy hockey bargain team is still going strong – Philadelphia Flyers winger Travis Konecny and rookie defenceman Philippe Myers each had a solid week. Myers had a great week, actually; he had an assist in the Flyers’ first game of the week, then a goal in each of the next three. Myers didn’t do much in a brief 21-game stint last year, but it’s been a coming-out party thus far in 2019-20.
Konecny was either drafted very late or not at all, yet he’s producing like an early-rounder. He had five points in four games this past week, and has 19 in 17 games overall. The value is staggering, and there aren’t many signs that it’ll slow down any time soon. Nothing really screams regression, except his shot percentage is high compared to his career. But it’s not unsustainably so. Especially considering he’s never played this much before.
New York Rangers
New York Rangers centre Ryan Strome is playing like the man he replaced (Mika Zibanejad). Strome has 16 points in 15 games, with the majority of that due to an uptick in minutes since Zibanejad’s injury on October 27. Since then, Strome has 10 points in seven games, four of those on the man advantage. All this despite the fact he’s getting more defensive-zone deployment. The scoring pace is nothing we’ve ever seen from Strome, and sooner or later Zibanejad should be back. Enjoy it while it lasts. Strome is available in over half of Yahoo! leagues.
San Jose Sharks
Some San Jose Sharks are playing better, notably Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier. Pretty much everyone else is still riding the struggle bus. Kevin Labanc teased us with some solid numbers for a little while, but he did next to nothing in Week 6. A total of three shots on goal in three games just won’t cut it. Mega-star defenceman Erik Karlsson is disappointing many a fantasy owner thus far – he has no goals and three assists in his last nine games, and he isn’t generating many shots at all. Brent Burns is far and away the better fantasy option these days.
It didn’t help that the Anaheim Ducks only played two games in Week 6, but they’re still not helping anyone very much in fantasy hockey lately. Over the past 14 days, no Ducks ranked in the top 100 overall in Yahoo! standard leagues, and only Ryan Getzlaf is in the top 200. There’s really not much else to say here. The Ducks started hot, and goalie John Gibson looked like the best in the league. But now it’s a case of “what have you done for me lately?” No one in Anaheim can claim to have done much.
Like Anaheim, the Buffalo Sabres only played two games this past week. Like Anaheim, no players are in the top 100 over the past 14 days. Also like Anaheim, only one player, Sam Reinhart, is in the top 200 in that span. You get the picture. Buffalo also started hot, but the train has come off the tracks recently. There’s one tiny bright spot: Victor Olofsson scored his first ever NHL goal at even strength. Olofsson had an even-strength point in each game in the Global Series matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Winnipeg Jets can’t score a goal to save their lives right now. The Jets are among the league’s worst in generating quality chances. An offence that boasts names like Patrik Laine, Mark Scheifele, and Blake Wheeler should be doing better. Hard to imagine the Jets have 10 wins, but that’s in large part due to phenomenal goaltending. Laine looked like a strong bounce-back was in store, but lately he’s only got a goal and two assists in his last eight games. Wheeler has assists in back-to-back games, yet only has five on the season. Doesn’t look like another 91-point season is in the cards. Scheifele started with 12 points in the first eight games of the season, but has had five in 10 games since.
The one Jet who’s not doing anything wrong is goalie Connor Hellebuyck. With the Dustin Byfuglien news, many fantasy hockey owners shied away from the workhorse goalie, expecting a bad season with a worse defence in front of him. Yet, the wins are still coming, and Hellebuyck is currently enjoying the best numbers of his career. He’s sporting an 8-5-1 record, with a 2.28 goals-against-average and .933 save percentage. Early on, the bad season predictions seemed sound, as Hellebuyck was benched twice after an awful opening night. He’s started all but two games since and has been stellar.
Ottawa Senators goalie Anders Nilsson all of a sudden is fantasy relevant and playing sensationally between the pipes. Nilsson got three of the four starts this past week and won three of them. He gave up five goals total, no more than two in any game. For the season, he’s 4-2-1, with a 2.30 goals-against-average and a .940 save percentage. Five of his six starts have been quality starts. If you’re in need of goaltending help, the Senators are playing better hockey and have four games again in Week 7. His counterpart, Craig Anderson, has been as bad as Nilsson has been good.
Arizona Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper was one of the very best fantasy hockey goalies out there entering Week 6. Things looked fabulous with two juicy matchups against the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets on the calendar. As hoped, Kuemper got the nod in both of those games. And then he let in a total of seven goals and walked away without a win either. He should bounce back, but that’s a tough pill to swallow.
The other goalie who could have claimed being the best in fantasy hockey was Boston Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask. He also had a bad week, going winless in two starts. One was against the hapless Detroit Red Wings. Rask let in eight goals, five of which came at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens. Rask’s numbers are still as close to perfect as it gets in the NHL. Don’t worry about it.
After a week brimming with shutouts, the lone shutout of Week 6 belonged to Edmonton Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen. He stopped all 29 New Jersey Devils shots, and he was great again Sunday night, stopping 31 of 33.
Schedule Highlights (Nov. 11 – Nov. 17)
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.
Arizona, Ottawa, Washington.
Only one of Arizona’s four games is on an off-night, while three of the four for both Washington and Ottawa are on off-nights. Stream Senators and Capitals this week.
Columbus, Nashville, NY Islanders, Tampa Bay.
For the second straight week, only two games for the Lightning. Bummer. Also a bummer for Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss owners – both will likely only get one start. Though with the way things are going, those will both be fantastic outings.
No one-game teams again this week.
Highlight of the Week
You're a bad, bad man, Jonathan Bernier. pic.twitter.com/O3R6d9jQ2I
— NHL (@NHL) November 9, 2019
Detroit backup goalie Jonathan Bernier committed armed robbery against league-leading scorer David Pastrnak. Fun fact: Bernier had two assists in this game, being just the 11th goalie to do so since 2000.
OTTAWA, ON – APRIL 06: Ottawa Senators Center Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44) waits for a face-off during second period National Hockey League action between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Ottawa Senators on April 6, 2019, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)