From the revitalized Canucks to the goalie situations in Dallas and Boston, these articles will aim to clarify and provide some solutions to your fantasy hockey questions involving players in recent headlines.
Sean Couturier, PHI
“Coots” started off the season on a heater collecting 11 points in his first eight games. While all seemed to be going smooth for the captain and Philly, things quickly started to fall apart from a team and player perspective. Ryan Ellis went down with an injury leaving the Flyers’ revamped d-core lacking defense.
The team’s performance as of late has definitely impacted Couturier’s production. While he still averages over 20 minutes per game, he is often playing against opposing teams’ #1 line. Philly has fallen to 7th in the Metro Division (10-12-4) and with just three points in his last 12 games, what are your options with Coots?
After downplaying him in the above paragraph, surely his value can’t be that high right? On paper, 16 points in 26 games is not brutal if you don’t look into the recent game logs. An analytics fan may even point out he leads the Flyers in xG (9), but that isn’t saying much for a team relying on several veterans for offence. Looking to acquire another struggling asset might be worthwhile. Look for names like Shea Theodore, still as a buy low in my eyes, Sam Bennett or Brock Boeser.
I have seen some cases in 10-team leagues where dropping Couturier seems like the right move in order to claim a must-add or activate an injured player, but I would not say the same in 12+ team leagues. Realistically, you will not find a top-six forward playing 20+ minutes a night on the wire in these larger leagues so you are better off holding Coots if you believe in Philly and perhaps a burst of offence from them under a new coach.
Brock Boeser, VAN
We see Boeser’s name appear again in this article because of how promising things look in Vancouver under Bruce Boudreau. Off to a perfect 4-0, Boeser seems to be one of the many Canucks benefitting under the new systems. In those four games, Boeser has 3 goals and an assist including a two game stretch in which he took nine shots on goal. That has been the most for Boeser in any two-game span this season. I can’t help but be intrigued by Brock going forward. Hopefully Elias Pettersson starts to have similar uptick in his production because the Canucks have too many offensive weapons to be 12-15-2 this season.
I spoke highly of Brock above and like what I see under Boudreau. The unorganized forward lines under Travis Green was often hard to understand and support, but Boeser will be a mainstay in the top-six and on PP1.
I’m acting as if Boeser was drafted in all leagues (which he should have been), but there is a significant amount of leagues out there where he is unowned. Currently sitting at 79% ownership on Yahoo, He should be about 10% higher and will likely get there if this production continues. He is worth an add over other weekly streamers like Kase or Tolvanen.
Tuukka Rask, BOS?
Rask has been undoubtedly the most talked-about free agent this season… if we can even call him that. Quite the odd situation with him and Boston as he received the league’s permission to work out and practice with the Bruins despite not being signed to a contract. I assume Boston wanted to hold off and see how Rask faired returning from his injury, but what lies ahead for Rask and the other two Boston goalies this season?
There is lots of speculation around Rask and what Boston’s plan is with him. The most common answer is Boston signing him and crossing the goalie bridge when they get there, but technically Rask can still sign anywhere. Will he demand a larger role than he may get in Boston? Potentially, but the Bruins may also want to solidify the crease for another playoff run.
Personally, I do not think goaltending has been the problem for Boston and I have been pleasantly surprised with Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman as of late. Would Boston send Swayman down to the AHL in order to get Rask into games? Perhaps, as he can be demoted without having to pass through waivers, but we just saw a similar example in Dallas where Anton Khudobin was waived in order to avoid sending Jake Oettinger down.
Pass on Him:
Rask is turning 35-years-old in March and nearing the twilight of his career. From a fantasy perspective I am not going out of my way to add Rask, I would be shocked to see him get more than 50% of the starts from the time he signs to the end of the season. If you have an open IR stash spot, adding him is not the worst option, but do not be dropping active goalies or players in order to stash a question mark.
Add and Trade Him:
While it doesn’t need to be from you, there will be interest in him from other managers in your league. If you happen to be first to add Rask, packaging him in a deal is not unrealistic. A manager may want to take a risk on him in hopes he signs and starts relatively soon. In a 1 for 1 trade I would try to snag a #3 fantasy defenseman like Pionk, Trouba or Provorov.
Jared Spurgeon, MIN
After missing 7 games with an injury, Spurgeon has returned to the Wild at the right time. Minnesota is first in the Western Conference (16-9-5) and that’s with FP favourite Kevin Fiala still struggling to get lucky. Imagine if he heats up too!
Spurgeon is an anchor on that Wild blue line and has slid right back into the PP1 role along with the usual #1 pairing. I want to own the guy who is involved in this offense right now and Spurgeon is that guy. He has a modest 11 points in 20 games thus far making him a perfect trade target.
Trade for Him:
At only 53% ownership on Yahoo, you don’t really need to give up much to acquire Spurgeon. A fringe forward this season like Copp, Kubalik or Batherson could do the trick. He is not your typical 60 point PP1 d-man, but on a team like Minnesota he is going to be touching the puck a lot in the offensive zone giving him plenty of assist opportunities.
Given his low ownership I would assume any Spurgeon owners have already considered dropping him this season. While he may be your least valuable d-man in fantasy, he will quickly become the best available d-man if dropped. I would be dropping Giordano, Parayko or Faulk before Spurgeon. Hold onto him and ride out Minny’s hot streak at least.
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