Fantasy Hockey: NHL Risers and Fallers Heading Into Week 8

I am in a good mood this week for some unexplained reason, so as a result, I have decided to do a glass half full kind of list this week. Two risers for every faller. I hope you too will be in a pleasant mood after this week’s fantasy action, and this list should at least get you off to a good start. Also, be sure to check out past riser and faller sections for some added happiness.

Kings forward Tyler Toffoli looks for the puck in an NHL game -- Getty Images

Forwards:

Risers

Tyler Toffoli, LA F – Two weeks ago, Toffoli was playing for the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL. Now he is playing on the second line for the L.A. Kings, putting the NHL on notice with at least one point in 6 of his 7 games played this season. My guess is the Monarchs will have to finish the season without him because Toffoli is on the Kings to stay. He has totaled 4 goals and 4 assists with a +5 rating in limited action. His role with the Kings is going to increase as the season moves along because this kind of production cannot be kept on the bench. This kid is good and it is time for everyone to recognize.

Marcus Johansson, Wsh F – Johansson, like Toffoli, has registered at least one point in 6 of his last 7 games, but unlike Toffoli, Johansson has been doing this all season long. He has only scored 2 goals this season, but if you team is lacking assists, Johansson has 16. That trails only Joe Thornton, Henrik Sedin, and teammate Nicklas Backstrom for tops in the league, and Johansson doesn’t have Alex Ovechkin as a line mate. Johansson is, however, on the top power play unit with both Backstrom and Ovechkin which may help explain his eight power play points. If your team needs assists and/or power play points, Johansson’s your man.

Fallers

Teemu Selanne, Ana F – Five years ago, heck even two years ago, Selanne would have never found himself on this list. It’s even hard for me to write this because I have nothing but respect and admiration for this future hall of famer, but facts are facts. The fact is Selanne has 3 goals and 4 assists in 17 games this season. The 43-year-old Selanne is finally looking his age in what is his last year in the league. If you drafted Selanne hoping he would continue drinking from the fountain of youth, I’m sorry to say this, but it appears the fountain has finally run dry.

Defensemen:

Risers

Andrew MacDonald, NYI D – If you know me then you know I am a man who loves his ice time. The average time on ice category is the easiest to predict, so I always make sure to play players who play a lot. Players go on scoring streaks and scoring droughts all the time, but the time they spend on the ice remains the same. Now to MacDonald, who is averaging 27:10 minutes of ice time. That’s third in the league behind top fantasy draft picks Ryan Suter and Erik Karlsson. That’s pretty good for a player who went undrafted in most leagues. MacDonald will often spend upwards of 30 minutes on the ice and won’t hamper you in any other categories. He has 3 assists in the last 7 games with a +1 rating and 11 shots on goal. Not too shabby. My advice, pick up MacDonald and never worry about losing that average time on ice category for the rest of the season.

Slava Voynov, LA D – Stat line: Voynov has 1 goal, 4 assists, a +5 rating, 2 penalty minutes, 1 power play point, with 22:12 minutes of average time on ice, and 14 shots on goal in his last 6 games. There is nothing there that looks bad. On the contrary, that stat line looks pretty darn good. Those are stats you would be happy to have your top defensive draft pick accumulate and not something you would expect from someone on the waiver wire. Why is this guy still on some leagues’ waiver wire? If Voynov is somehow still available in your league, pick him up already. Geez.

Fallers

Jack Johnson, Cls D – We go from a current King on the rise in Voynov to a former King on the decline in Johnson. When Johnson was traded from the Kings to the Blue Jackets last season, we all knew his fantasy value would dip, and we are now starting to see that come to fruition. Johnson has 0 goals and just 2 assists in his last 16 games with the Jackets and has a -7 rating on the season. Johnson is a good player and is the unquestioned No. 1 defenseman in Columbus, but unfortunately for Johnson and his fantasy owners, the Blue Jackets just aren’t that good. The Jackets had a surge at the end of last season and there was some hope for them and their players coming into this season, but it is starting to seem like that was just a dream. Johnson doesn’t have a lot of help around him and it has shown in his statistical outputs.

Goalies:

Risers

Ben Scrivens, LA G – Scrivens seemed to be an afterthought in the Jonathan Bernier trade that the Kings made with the Toronto Maple Leafs this offseason. Kind of a throw-in so that the Kings weren’t left without a back-up goalie. No one ever thought that Scrivens would come close to matching Bernier’s output, but he was a cheaper alternative for the Kings who were going to ride Jonathan Quick hard anyways. Well from what is admittedly a small sample size, Scrivens is outperforming Bernier so far this season. It is unknown how long Quick will be out and once Quick returns, Scrivens will be reduced to spot starts, but for the time being Scrivens needs to be owned in all standard fantasy leagues. Scrivens has won four of his five starts this season with three of them being shutouts. He has shutout his last two opponents and has a 1.24 GAA and .955 save percentage on the season. It looks like the Kings knew what they were doing when they had Toronto include Scrivens in their trade package for Bernier after all.

Martin Brodeur, NJ G – The ageless one. Just when you think his time is up, Brodeur goes and wins four straight starts and six of his last seven. During this seven game stretch, Brodeur has a 1.15 GAA and a .952 save percentage giving up eight total goals in seven starts. When the Devils traded for Cory Schneider on draft day, it appeared that Brodeur’s days were numbered, but Brodeur is not ready to hand over the No. 1 goaltending gig just yet. While the statistics between the two are similar, Schneider has just one win in nine starts making Brodeur the clear favorite in New Jersey for now and perhaps forever. Who knows how long this guy can play?

Fallers

Evgeni Nabokov, NYI G – From the ageless one to the aging one. Nabokov is actually three years younger than Brodeur, but it looks like Nabokov will be the one out of the league first. Now the obvious is that Nabokov will be out for the next four weeks due to injury, but even when healthy, it doesn’t look good for Nabokov. He has a 3.30 GAA and a .892 save percentage on the season and was already in the process of being phased out by Kevin Poulin before the injury. Nabokov can be safely dropped in all leagues since his days as a No. 1 goalie in the NHL are over.

Cover Photo: Tyler Toffoli (Source: Getty Images)

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