I know what you're thinking – I've got lots of time left to right the ship when it comes to my fantasy hockey team, and now that the fantasy football season is all wrapped up, I'll turn my attention to the ice.
Well guess what? There isn't as much time left in the season as you think, as we're passed the official halfway point of the NHL schedule, so you better start paying attention right now.
Lucky for you, we're here to help.
Fantasy Hockey Advice for Week 14 in the NHL
Who’s Hot: Besides the usual suspects in Pittsburgh and Anaheim, Philadelphia is a solid 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. They are .500 on the road, so don’t be afraid to start any Flyers during a road trip. Ottawa has only lost 3 of the last 10, and are finding ways to win without their captain, Jason Spezza, in the lineup.
Who’s Not: Washington is a dismal 3-4-3 in their last 10 games, and they're barely hanging on to the 8th playoff spot in the East. Alexander Ovechkin had a relatively quiet week, and may be struggling to carry the offensive load game in and game out. Their goaltending situation is in flux as Philpp Grubauer, a relatively unknown 4th-round pick from Germany, has taken over as the starting goalie for Braden Holtby, who allowed 5 goals in 11 shots against the low-scoring Minnesota Wild in his last game. Phoenix has only 2 wins in their last 10 games, but injuries have been their biggest issue, and they're getting Shane Doan back in the line-up this week.
Four Games This Week: Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Toronto
Two Games This Week: Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg
5 Up: Players to Start This Week
C Mike Fisher, Nashville Predators
Last 3 weeks: 9 games – 4G / 6A / Even
Once brought in from Ottawa to help the Preds make a playoff run (ask your Dad about it), Fisher may have found his 25-goal form again. At the very least, he is hot right now and you may not be able to say that for another five years.
LW Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes
Last 3 weeks: 8 games – 7G / 3A / -7
The two caveats with Skinner are his lack of durability (insert figure skating joke here), and his lousy +/- rating lately. With Eric Staal banged up, Skinner will receive even more ice time, and can be dominant when hot.
RW Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers
Last 3 weeks: 10 games – 9G / 4A / +5
This guy is one of the more underrated players in the league. He is heavyweight tough, but can really play the game as well. Philly is playing its best hockey right now and has 4 games this week, so be sure to get Simmonds into your line-up if you can.
D Marek Zidlicky, New Jersey Devils
Last 3 weeks: 9 games – 4G / 3A / +4
Where would the Devils be without Zidlicky and his trusty sidekick, Andy Greene? At 36 years of age, he is second on the team in ice time (to Greene), third in points, and plays 4 games this week, including favorable outings against Florida and Toronto.
G Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators
Last 3 weeks: 7 games – 5-1 / 2.57 GAA / .922 S. Pct.
This just in – Craig Anderson doesn’t suck any more! After a brutal start to the year, Anderson has slowly taken the No. 1 job back from Robin Lehner. While that is a huge development for him, the fact that Ottawa is now playing solid hockey is another reason to roll the dice with Anderson.
5 Down: Players to Sit This Week
C Bryan Little, Winnipeg Jets
Last 3 weeks: 10 games – 1G / 2A / +2
Little has had a very promising start to this season and is too good to ignore for long, but there is a malaise in Winnipeg that seems to infect each Jet for a week or two. He should be on bed rest for at least this week.
C Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames
Last 3 weeks: 9 games – 2G / 0A / -1
Monahan has been one of the only bright spots this year for a once proud franchise, but 19-year-old rookies are especially susceptible to rough patches, and it looks like this youngest is stuck in one. Here is an official stat I haven’t made up – the Flames have scored only one goal in their last 4 games! Stay away. Stay far, far away.
RW Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings
Last 3 weeks: 9 games – 2G / 1A / -2
Brown recently admitted this is most likely his worst season offensively, although he is becoming quite good at injuring opponents such as Tomas Hertl and Roberto Luongo. Los Angeles has had an anemic offense lately, and Brown now has only 14 points in 42 games.
D Slava Voynov, Los Angeles Kings
Last 3 weeks: 10 games – 0G / 2A / -2
Voynov is another King struggling to contribute lately. Jonathan Quick is now back in net, so coach Darryl Sutter may loosen the reigns somewhat offensively. Quick has the ability to bail his team out if needed, but don’t look for any offensive surge for a week or two.
G Mike Smith, Phoenix Coyotes
Last 3 weeks: 8 games – 1-3 / 2.62 GAA / .912 S. Pct.
The Coyotes have a defensive system under coach Dave Tippett, but have struggled more than usual lately with the absence of Shane Doan. He is back now after being diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Fever, but may not be at 100% efficiency for awhile. Additionally, their best player, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, is currently listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury. Smith is not winning games on his own as he’s done in the past so avoid him until the team in front of him is playing better.