Week 11 Fantasy Hockey Planner
A few Fantasy mainstays will be sidelined for the upcoming scoring period while a few others will be returning to action. Our Michael Hurcomb runs through all of the latest news and information in his Fantasy Planner.
Week 11 (Dec. 14-20)
Teams playing four games: Atlanta, Buffalo, Columbus, Detroit,
Florida, Montreal, Nashville, N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers, Ottawa,
Philadelphia, Phoenix, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver
Teams playing three games: Anaheim, Boston, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Dallas, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington
Teams playing two games: Colorado
Teams playing one game: San Jose
New Jersey Devils: Defenseman Andy Greene
continues to put on a show from the Devils' blue line. He had his second
career two-goal game on Wednesday against the Hurricanes (his first was
in the minors in 2006). He has eight points in his last eight games and
17 points (five goals) for the season.
N.Y. Islanders: Goalie Rick DiPietro, who has been out all season recovering from knee surgery, is expected to end a rehab stint with Bridgeport (AHL) on Tuesday. It is not sure what the Islanders' plans are after that, but DiPietro is still not a recommended start for Week 11. However, now is the time to start adding him in Fantasy ... Rookie center John Tavares had the first stretch of back-to-back multi-goal games in his career as he scored twice on Tuesday against Philadelphia and then twice again on Wednesday against Toronto. He leads all rookies with 15 goals ... Rob Schremp, a former first-round pick, thought a fresh start with the Islanders would be his breakthrough avenue to the NHL. It hasn't worked out that way. Schremp has played in only nine games with New York and was a healthy scratch for 11 straight contests before dressing for an injured forward Wednesday ... Kyle Okposo hasn't scored in 11 games. However, he does have three two-assist performances in four December games.
N.Y. Rangers: Center Brandon Dubinsky, who has been out with a broken wrist, practiced with the Rangers on Friday. He is still wearing a cast, but he is nearing a return. Dubinsky could return in Week 11, but he remains a risky start ... Rookie defenseman Matt Gilroy earned a ticket to Hartford of the AHL on Thursday. Gilroy hasn't quite made the impact New York had been looking for since he made the team out of training camp. His playing time was starting to decline, so New York sent him to the minors to work on his game and confidence ... Coach John Tortorella has had a few conversations with Sean Avery about returning to his pesky ways, and since the agitator has turned it up a bit since late November, Tortorella rewarded Avery by promoting him to the top line with Marian Gaborik and Vaclav Prospal ... Defenseman Wade Redden is back from a five-game absence because of a shoulder injury ... Christopher Higgins has two goals in his last three games after going 10 contests without a score.
Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers learned on Tuesday that starting goalie Ray Emery will miss six weeks recovering from abdomen surgery. Brian Boucher has taken over the starting goalie responsibilities with overseas import Johan Backlund pulling backup duty. Although, rumors are flying rampant that Philadelphia could be interested in trading for former backup Antero Niittymaki or one of the Thrashers' two goalies -- Ondrej Pavelec or Johan Hedberg -- with Kari Lehtonen close to the comeback trail ... Center Mike Richards injured his wrist on Thursday against the Senators, but the X-rays came back clean and he is a low-risk start for Week 11 ... Defenseman Oskars Bartulis has impressed Flyers management enough that he has earned a spot on the team's blue line and is now regularly playing alongside Ryan Parent. Bartulis has the skills to play at both ends of the ice, but he is a better passer than scorer ... Daniel Carcillo will return from a four-game suspension on Monday against the Bruins, so keep him active in leagues that reward heavily for PIM ... Simon Gagne (hernia surgery) has been practicing with the Flyers and is eyeing a return during the latter stages of Week 11. He remains a risky start for the upcoming scoring period, but now is the time to start adding him in Fantasy.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Defenseman Alex Goligoski returned from a lower-body injury on Thursday against the Canadiens. The Penguins are now just waiting on Chris Kunitz (lower body) before being back at full strength. He has been skating with the team and is believed to be close to returning. If he is not back by the weekend, he can still be considered a low-risk start for Week 11... Bill Guerin is a surprising third on the team with 20 points. He has four goals and six assists in his last 13 games.
Favorable matchup: N.Y. Rangers (ATL, NYI, @NYI, @PHI). The Rangers just have the feel of one of those teams mired in a slump for so long that they are ready to breakout. It definitely could come in Week 11 as all three of their opponents are allowing 2.83 or more goals per contest.
Unfavorable matchup: Philadelphia (@BOS, @PIT, PIT, NYR). The Flyers have scored more than two goals just once in four games since Peter Laviolette took over behind the bench. It could be more tough times ahead in Week 11. Boston and Pittsburgh are both in the top 10 for defense and the Rangers have allowed a total of six goals in their first three December contests.
|1.||Brian Boucher, G, PHI||28|
|2.||Chris Stewart, RW, COL||19|
|3.||Martin Erat, RW, NSH||16|
|4.||Andy Greene, D, NJ||15|
|5.||Jeff Deslauriers, G, EDM||14|
|6.||Jimmy Howard, G, DET||12|
|7.||Randy Jones, D, LA||9|
|8.||Matt Stajan, C, TOR||8|
|9.||Eric Fehr, RW, WAS||7|
|10.||Dan Sexton, RW, ANA||7|
Boston Bruins: Mark Recchi has
three goals in his last two games after scoring once in his previous 12
contests ... Center Patrice Bergeron has
one goal and five assists in his last four games ... Marco Sturm has three goals and five points in his last four games
... Defenseman Zdeno Chara has one goal
and five assists in his last five outings.
Buffalo Sabres: Center Tim Connolly is battling some hip soreness, but he continues to remain active for Buffalo. It is worth noting since Connolly underwent hip surgery a few years back.
Montreal Canadiens: The news keeps getting better and better for defenseman Andrei Markov, who has been out since opening night with an ankle injury. He actually practiced on Wednesday for the first time since the injury. Markov is aiming for a January return, but maybe he could be back even sooner ... There are rumors surfacing that the Canadiens are actively shopping backup goalie Jaroslav Halak, who will be a restricted free agent next summer ... Mike Cammalleri has five goals and one assist during a four-game point streak ... Center Tomas Plekanec continues to lead the team with 25 assists and 31 points. He is only eight points away from tying his season total from 2008-09.
Ottawa Senators: Goalie Pascal Leclaire (cheekbone) is nearing a return and could play toward the end of Week 11. Brian Elliott is probably still the safer play for Fantasy owners, but now is the time to start scooping up Leclaire in Fantasy ... Veteran forward Daniel Alfredsson turned 37 on Friday. He leads Ottawa with 28 points, but the Swedish forward has only scored four goals in his last 18 games.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Goalie Jonas Gustavsson (heart) returned to practice on Friday. He is hoping to make a quick return to the ice and could be back in Week 11 since undergoing a second procedure on his heart since the summer. However, The Monster is still a risky start for the upcoming scoring period ... Niklas Hagman has one goal and five assists during a five-game point streak. He continues to pile on the points. Hagman has been one of the NHL's hottest players since mid-November with nine goals and 14 points in his last 13 games ... Jason Blake has three goals and two assists in his last five games.
Favorable matchup: Buffalo (@MON, @OTT, TOR, PIT). Buffalo faces three teams -- Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto -- allowing 2.78 or more goals per game. The Sabres are also averaging 3.00 or more goals against each of those opponents this season.
Unfavorable matchup: Toronto (OTT, PHO, @BUF, BOS). Give the Maple Leafs some credit. They have been playing very well over the last few weeks. They have won six of their last nine games and have scored three or more goals in each victory. Unfortunately, their good times could hit a roadblock in Week 11. Toronto is about to face the three of the top five defenses in the NHL. They are Buffalo (2.21 GAA), Phoenix (2.26) and Boston (2.33). They are also averaging 2.00 or fewer goals against their three Eastern Conference opponents.
|1.||Jose Theodore, G, WAS||31|
|2.||Andrew Brunette, LW, MIN||65|
|3.||Michael Frolik, LW, FLA||33|
|4.||Andy Greene, D, NJ||53|
|5.||Pekka Rinne, G, NSH||59|
|6.||Alexandre Burrows, LW, VAN||60|
|7.||Mikhail Grabovski, C, TOR||23|
|8.||Jeff Deslauriers, G, EDM||14|
|9.||Chris Drury, C, NYR||12|
|10.||Kris Russell, D, CLB||9|
Atlanta Thrashers: Trying to ignite some slumping players, coach
John Anderson tweaked his second and third lines on Thursday against the
Canucks. He moved Evander Kane to the
second line with Todd White and Bryan Little. Kane and Little failed to score, but they combined for
seven shots. Slava Kozlov was dropped to
the third line with Rich Peverley and Colby Armstrong ... All-Star forward Ilya Kovalchuk is letting his emotions spill out onto the ice during
a prolonged scoring slump. Kovalchuk has only scored four times in his
last 13 games and has racked up 33 penalty minutes in that span,
including a pair of game misconducts.
Carolina Hurricanes: Erik Cole is expected to miss a few weeks with an upper-body injury ... Goalie Cam Ward has returned to the lineup after missing 13 games with a leg laceration. Coach Paul Maurice is usually cautious with players once they return from injury, but we expect him to play Ward as much as possible. Feel free to activate Ward for Week 11 ... It seems Rod Brind'Amour's banishment to the fourth line is a permanent move. Once considered a top defensive forward, Brind'Amour has a league worst minus-19 rating and is minus-42 since last season. He has had some real troubles since returning from a torn ACL last year and is no longer a safe Fantasy start ... Sergei Samsonov was banished to the press box on Wednesday against the Devils after playing in the first 29 games. He hasn't produced much this season (10 points, minus-11), so the benching isn't a surprise.
Florida Panthers: Defenseman Ville Koistinen has cleared re-entry waivers and will remain at Rochester of the AHL until Florida needs a body because of an injury.
Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning's top two scorers -- Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone -- were hurt in Wednesday's loss to the Oilers, but both injuries were far less serious than first thought. Malone (lower body) and Stamkos (upper body) dressed on Friday against Colorado, so keep them active for Week 11 ... Rookie defenseman Victor Hedman has scored twice in his last three games after going the first 27 games with a goal ... After getting hot in the first few weeks of November, forward Alex Tanguay is once again mired in a slump. He has no goals and one point in his last six games. In fact, he hasn't scored in 12 appearances.
Washington Capitals: Mike Knuble (broken finger) returned to action on Friday against Carolina despite not being 100 percent. It's safe to play him in Fantasy, if you choose, but there are some concerns how well he will perform since he is not fully recovered ... Goalie Semyon Varlamov (lower body) is on injured reserve and not expected back until at least Dec. 23. Keep him reserved for Week 11 and consider starting Jose Theodore for the upcoming scoring period as a No. 2 Fantasy goalie.
Favorable matchup: Florida (@NYI, ATL, CAR, @CAR). The Panthers are mired in a scoring funk again, having lit the lamp only five times in their last four games. But they could definitely take out some frustrations in Week 11. All three of their opponents are allowing 2.86 or more goals per contest.
Unfavorable matchup: Tampa Bay (@NSH, @DET, @STL). Tampa Bay is another team mired in a scoring drought. They are averaging just 1.8 goals per game in five December contests. But unlike Florida, their struggles might continue in Week 11. All three of Tampa Bay's opponents are allowing 2.71 or fewer goals per game. The Lightning also have to go on the road where they are averaging only 2.20 goals per game (24th).
Chicago Blackhawks: Center Jonathan Toews
has scored in four of his last five games. He has bounced back well
since suffering a concussion earlier this season. Toews has totaled
seven goals (five power play) and 13 points in his last 14 games.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Raffi Torres has six of his 10 goals on the power play ... Goalie Steve Mason finally had his first shutout of the season on Wednesday against the Panthers. It took him 24 games to get it after Mason had a NHL-high 10 shutouts in 61 games last season as a rookie ... Rick Nash had his first goal in six games on Thursday against the Predators. Nash has been in a bit of a scoring funk lately with only three goals in his last 13 games.
Detroit Red Wings: Detroit's 2009-10 injury woes continued when forward Daniel Cleary went down Wednesday with a separated shoulder. He is expected to miss four weeks. Detroit is already without Niklas Kronwall (leg), Valtteri Filppula (wrist), Jason Williams (ankle) and Johan Franzen (knee) ... Coach Mike Babcock continues to show some tough love toward struggling forward Ville Leino. He sat the 26-year-old forward for two games before returning him to the lineup on Friday against the Ducks. Leino has scored only three times in his first 27 games this season after scoring five times in his first 13 games with Detroit last season.
Nashville Predators: Jordin Tootoo is enjoying the most productive stretch of his career. He has seven points (one goal) in his last 10 games ... Now that he is healthy, top-line center Jason Arnott is playing up to his Fantasy potential. He has 14 points (eight goals) in his last 12 games.
St. Louis Blues: Brad Boyes is starting to display a scoring touch again after getting off to a very sluggish start. He has scored six times in his last 14 games after scoring twice in his first 15 appearances ... Andy McDonald, on the other hand, is showing no scoring touch. McDonald hasn't scored a goal since Nov. 10 -- a stretch of 13 games. He has just four assists in that span.
Favorable matchup: Nashville (@CLB, TB, @EDM, @CGY). The Central Division has a lot of bad matchups for Fantasy owners in Week 11, but Nashville is one of the teams that has a little ray of sunshine. Calgary is the only defense they will face ranked in the top half of the league. Nashville is also on the road for three games, where they do a decent job of scoring goals. They rank 13th in road GFA (2.64).
Unfavorable matchup: St. Louis (CGY, @CHI, TB). It doesn't bode well for the 29th ranked offense (2.34 GFA) to have to face a pair of top five defenses in Chicago (2.14 GAA) and Calgary (2.33) during the upcoming scoring period.
Calgary Flames: Left wing Nigel Dawes
moved to the top line with Jarome Iginla
and Olli Jokinen on Wednesday against the
Thrashers and scored his ninth goal of the season. Dawes has five goals
in his last eight games and has been one of the team's best goal scorers
the last few weeks ... Iginla hasn't been as good scoring, with only one
goal in his last eight games. However, he does have eight assists in
that span and is still finding ways to be productive ... Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff is arguably having one of the best runs of his
career. He hasn't allowed more than two goals in his last nine starts
and has allowed only 10 goals total in that span.
Colorado Avalanche: Goalie Craig Anderson returned to action on Friday against the Lightning after missing four games with a neck injury. As good as Peter Budaj was in Anderson's absence, the Florida Panthers transplant should return to full-time work and can be considered a safe start for Week 11 ... Ryan O'Reilly has hit a rookie wall after a hot start to his career. He has gone nine games without a point and has no goals and two assists in his past 16 appearances ... Fellow rookie Matt Duchene is going the opposite way after slumping from late October through mid-November. He now has six goals and three assists in his last eight games.
Edmonton Oilers: Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin has only improved marginally from a back injury that has kept him out since late November, so don't plan on activating him for Week 11. Continue to use Jeff Deslauriers as a stopgap Fantasy option ... Defenseman Denis Grebeshkov is close to returning from a knee injury that has kept him out since mid-November. He is off injured reserve, so consider him a low-risk start for Week 11.
Minnesota Wild: Defenseman Brent Burns is expected to be out until at least January with a concussion ... As expected, Mikko Koivu is thriving in Todd Richards' forechecking system. He has six goals and 18 points in his last 14 games. He is up to 30 points on the season. Under former coach Jacques Lemaire, the center usually had to play between or above the offensive-zone faceoff circles to recover defensively. Under Richards, the center is allowed to forecheck aggressively ... Left wing Andrew Brunette has a team-high 10 goals. He has scored only once over his last five games, but has seven assists in that span.
Vancouver Canucks: Defenseman Alexander Edler is expected to miss two weeks because of a left arm injury suffered Tuesday against the Predators. Mathieu Schneider is expected to dress regularly in Edler's absence ... Top-line center Henrik Sedin has managed two assists in all five of his December games and six of his last seven appearances ... Daniel Sedin had a hat trick Wednesday against the Thrashers and has five goals and four assists in five December games. He is definitely back to 100 percent after missing several weeks with a broken foot ... Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff is plus-10 his last 11 games and plus-16 this season, sitting second overall in the NHL behind New Jersey's Zach Parise (plus-18).
Favorable matchup: Vancouver (LA, ANA, WAS, STL). The Canucks love playing at General Motors Place, so they will find it comforting they don't have to leave their home ice once during Week 11. The Canucks are second in home GFA (3.53), trailing only Washington (3.71).
Unfavorable matchup: Calgary (@STL, LA, NSH). Unlike the Central Division, the Northwest has a lot of favorable matchups in Week 11. Calgary is one of the few teams that could face a tough challenge scoring goals. They face two top 15 defenses in St. Louis (2.55 GAA) and Calgary (2.71).
Anaheim Ducks: Joffrey Lupul
recently returned from a back injury that kept him out seven games, but
he finds himself back on the day-to-day watch because of numbness in his
leg. This is a bad time for him to be dealing with an injury since Teemu Selanne is out several weeks with a broken hand ... Dan Sexton was recalled from the minors when Selanne went on
injured reserve. He is making the most of his opportunities with three
goals in his first four games. Sexton also took an Anaheim rookie record
nine shots on Tuesday against the Stars as he scored twice in a 4-3 win
... Center Saku Koivu has scored in two
straight games and three of five.
Dallas Stars: James Neal looks to be emerging from a slump. He has two goals and two assists in his first three December games after going the final five November games without a point ... Prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy made a brief appearance with the Stars earlier this week as Dallas needed a fresh body because of injury. But Vishnevskiy played only one game before getting demoted to the minors. He remains a long-term Fantasy keeper.
Los Angeles Kings: Coach Terry Murray said there is maybe a chance injured forward Ryan Smyth (upper body) will return during a three-game road trip that starts on Monday against the Canucks. However, Smyth is still a risky start for Week 11. Murray wants to keep Smyth out as long as possible to make sure he is 100 percent and it's not like Los Angeles is losing in his absence ... Center Jarret Stoll has three goals and four assists during a six-game point streak to open up December ... Defenseman Jack Johnson is having one of the better offensive runs of his career with one goal and six assists in his last six games.
Phoenix Coyotes: Defenseman Ed Jovanovski is eligible to return from a two-game suspension on Monday against the Red Wings, so feel free to keep him active for Week 11 ... Scottie Upshall leads the Coyotes with nine goals. He has 11 points (six goals) in his last 17 games ... Defenseman Keith Yandle is day to day with a foot injury.
San Jose Sharks: Ryane Clowe has five goals and 12 points during a career-high 10-game point streak that started on Nov. 17 ... Devin Setoguchi hasn't been as fortunate. He has no points in five games since returning from a leg injury and has no points in his last eight contests.
Favorable matchup: Dallas (@CAR, @ATL, DET). The Pacific Division has a lot of tough matchups in Week 11, but Dallas gets to take a break from the rigors of Western Conference competition to play a pair of games against two Eastern Conference foes -- Carolina and Atlanta. It just happens to be that Carolina is last in defense (3.53 GAA) and Atlanta is also near the bottom of the league (2.86).
Unfavorable matchup: Anaheim (@VAN, @SJ, PHO). The Ducks wrap up a four-game road trip in Week 11 against two of the toughest defenses in the NHL -- Vancouver (2.61 GAA) and San Jose (2.59). Then, they get to play at home, but have to face Phoenix, who are fourth in GAA (2.26). They are averaging 2.67 or fewer goals per game against San Jose and Phoenix.
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