It’s a very average week in the NHL, with most teams playing three games. There are of course a few exceptions, but don’t expect your fantastic stats to slip off the page this week. There are only four teams that play four games and two that only play two.
The teams that play the most are the Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, San Jose Sharks and Tampa Bay Lightning. While, on the other side, the The Dallas Stars and Philadelphia Flyers only play two games. The Flyers are crumbling, you might want to avoid players from them altogether, when now is a bad time for the Stars’ schedule to slow down, as they are hot right now. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t add more players for the long haul. The depth of the Lightning may be worth examining as both Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point are injured.
(Joined Nov 29, ESPN Fantasy Hockey)
Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks (25.4%)
Trevor Zegras has really raised his level of play lately and got back into the Calder Trophy race. In his last four games, he has collected four assists and managed eight shots in his last game. He also received a six-minute penalty during that period. Something that fantasy owners may escape is that Zegras can contribute to all categories. He averages 2.5 shots per game, has more penalty minutes than games, scores both goals and assists, and plays on the power play.
He’s found the chemistry on the second row, and that makes for better games when opponents worry about the underrated first row of Adam Henrique, Ryan Getzlaf and Troy Terry over the Anaheim Ducks.
Robert Thomas, Saint-Louis Blues (12.3%)
While Robert Thomas doesn’t add value to all categories, if you need assists, ice time, or even power-play points, he’s not possessed much, probably for that reason. Thomas recorded 20 points in 21 games, but only scored two goals, 31 shots and 10 penalty minutes, which isn’t bad considering that would translate to 40 over a full semester.
Jesper Bratt, New Jersey Devils (9.5%)
Jesper Bratt has been consistently overlooked in all of the Fantasy Leagues, but he should be targeted immediately if he’s available, which he should be. Owned in less than 10 percent of the leagues, he’s scored a ton since rocking the slow start. In his last four games alone, Bratt has a stat line of one, five assists, plus-six and 14 shots. CBS Sports, November 28, 2021).
His season totals stand at 17 points in 19 games and 54 shots. He’s playing on a much underrated line with Dawson Mercer and Andreas Johnsson, who should also be reviewed.
Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes (55.8%)
Clayton Keller had an alarming start to the season, but playing against the Arizona Coyotes, who were in overall shambles, didn’t help. Part of the reason for some recent success is due to his playing and finding his scoring touch. The Coyotes have never been a feared team for their scoring ability, but Keller has racked up points in the past.
Related: NHL Stat Corner: Capitals, Penguins, Oilers, Panthers, Predators and Kings
In his last five games, although he was ruled out in his last appearance against the Dallas Stars, he has scored two goals, five assists and has a plus-six rating.
Marcus Foligno, Minnesota Wild (18.9%)
Minnesota Wild players have been underrated this season, as even more could have appeared on this list, including Ryan Hartman. Instead, I’ve chosen to focus here on Marcus Foligno, who belongs to less than 20 percent of the leagues, rather than more than 40 percent for Hartman. Many have not yet understood how well the Wild is doing in committee. Of course, that doesn’t make a lot of players a go-to, but they always float at the top of the waiver thread to give your squad a boost when needed.
Lately, Foligno has been playing well above his season average, getting over 18 minutes of ice time per game. With that extra ice time, he was able to score three goals and one assist in the last five games. He shoots the puck more than you’d expect, and an added bonus is that he gets a lot of penalty minutes. His total for the season is already 41.
Reilly Smith, Vegas Golden Knights (35%)
Reilly Smith has been on a tear of goals lately as the Vegas Golden Knights begin to regain their health (“Vegas Golden Knights Report Tickets: Robin Lehner, Reilly Smith leading the way at the end of the season quarter “, athleticism, November 26, 2021). He has scored one goal in four of his last five and seven goals in his last nine after scoring just twice in the top 12. In a team that is good and can score from anywhere, a player like this because he is able to succeed not only because of his own talents but also those around him.
Mats Zuccarello, Minnesota Wild (36.5%)
Another Wild forward who is neglected despite a very good season offensively. His chemistry with Kirill Kaprizov continues to add a ton of value to Mats Zuccarello, so as long as he’s playing close to Kaprizov, Zuccarello is definitely worth it.
He might not shoot most often or sit in the penalty box too often, but he has 16 points in 16 games and is producing on the power play. Zuccarello is also playing good minutes for a striker, averaging over 18 minutes per game, and also has a very good over / under at this point in the season due to a strong squad around him and a good line.
Shayne Gostisbehere, Arizona Coyotes (37.4%)
Very good rebound season in the most unlikely places, Shayne Gostisbehere shows once again that he is always capable of producing points regardless of the team for which he evolves. The Coyotes power play features two defenders, Jakob Chychrun and Gostisbehere since they are both attacking forces and the attacking group is weaker.
This has helped him record 15 points in the team’s first 21 games this season. At this rate, Gostisbehere should easily exceed 50 points, even if its production drops a little. The Coyotes weren’t going to stay as bad as they had to start the season all year. Even during this time, it seemed like Gostisbehere was the only one to consistently score points.
Jake Oettinger, Dallas Stars (24.7%)
Action will be taken in Dallas once all of their goaltenders are healthy, but for now, Jake Oettinger has taken over from the Stars and has won all four of his starts this season since his recall from the American Hockey League.
He’s only allowed five goals in his four starts and has an incredible 1.26 goals against average (GAA) and .959 save percentage (SV%). It helped turn the Stars’ season around and should be the best net streaming option with longer potential for success. By the way he plays, he will force the team to keep him.
James Reimer, Sharks of San JosÃ© (23.2%)
The season of highs and lows for the San Jose Sharks continues, but one of the constants has been James Reimer in net. He took over the starting post from Adin Hill, and for good reason. The Sharks still believe they can win and will do whatever they can to do while their veterans still have their juice.
Reimer has seven wins this season and three in the last four games. His totals for the year are 2.06 GAA, .933 SV% and one shutout coming in yesterday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks. He can be a long term option as long as the Sharks remain competitive.
It’s always worth keeping an eye out for teams that don’t necessarily have a ton of star power, but instead have a lot of players doing committee work. In this, you will be able to find many streaming options on teams like the Wild or the New Jersey Devils. Try your luck on one of these players this week, and you shouldn’t be disappointed with the results.
Rob Couch is a THW freelance writer covering primarily the Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers. It covers everything you need to know about fantasy hockey. He will also keep you posted on the NHL Stat Corner and NHL trade talks.
You can find more of his work on Kraken Chronicle as well as The Faceoff Hockey Network. Or check out some interesting articles here.
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