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Karlsson, Keith & Subban

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The Chicago Blackhawks have been on the power play more than any other team while Washington has spent …

Defenseman scoring should be an important part of your fantasy team. While a lot of fantasy teams will look for one spot to be a player who does not score much but gets plenty of penalty minutes, finding a player who does everything or at least a couple of categories well, can go a long way to help you win your pool.

Ten defensemen have at least 20 points thus far this season including Erik Karlsson, Duncan Keith, P.K. Subban, Dustin Byfuglien, Keith Yandle, Brent Seabrook, Kevin Shattenkirk  Jay Bouwmeester, Oliver-Ekman Larsson and Niklas Kronwall.

The top-10 in plus-minus are: Seabrook, Erik Johnson, Keith, Justin Braun, Jan Hejda, Matt Niskanen, Francois Beauchemin, Hampus Lindholm, Bouwmeester and Kronwall.

The top-10 in penalty minutes are: Matt Carkner, Radko Gudas, Erik Gudbranson, Mark Borowiecki, Brenden Dillon, Mike Green, Andrew Ference, Shane O'Brien and Byfuglien.

The top-10 in shots on goal are: Byfulgien, Karlsson, Subban, Jason Garrison, Keith, John Carlson, Yandle, Drew Doughty, Kris Letang, Green and Torey Krug.

The top-10 in power play points are: Karlsson, Yandle, Subban, Cody Franson, Shattenkirk, Cam Fowler, Keith, Byfuglien, Kronwall, Andrei Markov, Krug and Shea Weber.

As you can see, players like Byfuglien, Keith, Karlsson, Kronwall, Yandle and Keith are among the leaders in a few categories with Seabrook and Krug up among the leaders in two categories.

Players like Krug and Seabrook were taken very late in most pools, if at all and they make a big difference in winning your pools.

Don’t forget, for everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's Player News, and follow @Rotoworld_ HK and @mfinewaxhockey on Twitter.

 

Now to The Week Ahead.

WEEK OF DECEMBER 16-22

4 Games - Colorado, Dallas, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg

3 Games–Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Columbus, Detroit, Edmonton,  Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Washington

2 Games- Carolina, Chicago

Los Angeles, the New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Toronto play three games at home.

Anaheim, Calgary, Florida, Phoenix, Vancouver and Winnipeg play three games on the road.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday's NHL games. It's $10 to join and first prize is $400. Starts Friday at 7pm ET. Here's the FanDuel link. 

INJURIES

Corey Crawford is out at least three weeks with a lower body injury. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

@ Detroit, @ New Jersey, @ New York Islanders

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

Ryan Getzlaf is red-hot as he is on a 15 game point scoring streak in which he has six goals and 18 points. Corey Perry may be the best all-round fantasy skater in the NHL this season as he is second in the league in goals with 21, fifth in points with 36, has the 13th best plus/minus at plus-13 and four power play goals. Alex Grant has scored in each of his first two NHL games. Francois Beauchemin (upper body) is likely to play this week as is Jakob Silfverberg who was been out with a broken hand.

BOSTON

Games this week

vs. Calgary, @ Buffalo, vs. Buffalo

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Bruins play the Sabres in a home-and-home series so expect to see Milan Lucic and Adam McQuaid add to their penalty minute totals. Reilly Smith continues to play well with seven goals and 21 points in 33 games. The Bruins are hurting with injuries to Dougie Hamilton who is out two-four week with a lower body injury and Daniel Paille who is not in the lineup with an upper body injury. Shawn Thornton will have his suspension decided upon on Friday after he injured Brooks Orpik on December 7. A lot of experts think he’ll get seven or eight games while others think 10-15 games.

BUFFALO

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Boston, @ Boston

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Sabres play a home-and-home series against the Bruins this week so look for John Scott, Steve Ott and Cody McCormick to add to their penalty minute totals if there are fisticuffs. Cody Hodgson missed Thursday’s game with an undisclosed ailment. Buffalo is sending two first round picks who have played for the Sabres Rasmus Ristolainen, the Sabres first round pick in 2013 and Mikhail Grigorenko, the first pick in 2012 to the World Junior Tournament and that experience can only help the duo in the long run. Tyler Myers is a minus-13 but had 39 penalty minutes in 32 games.

CALGARY

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. @ Detroit, @ Pittsburgh

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The big news in the NHL this week was Brian Burke firing GM Jay Feaster and proclaiming himself the interim general manager although he did say that a new one would be hired in the immediate future. The Flames sent Sven Baertschi to the minors on Thursday as he had two goals and 11 points in 26 games. Rookie Sean Monahan skated for the first time in three weeks on Wednesday as he tries to return from a broken foot. He has nine goals and 15 points in 24 games. Reto Berra had a couple of strong starts in a row as he gave up three goals on 55 shots in going 1-1.

CAROLINA

Games this week

vs. Washington, @ Tampa Bay

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Tampa Bay (Saturday)

Notes

Alexander Semin returned to the Carolina lineup on Thursday after missing 12 games with a concussion. Jeff Skinner has been a welcome addition of late as he has seven goals and nine points in his last seven games going into action on Thursday. He was out for 11 games with an upper body injury. Andrej Sekera is quickly moving upwards through the fantasy ranks on the blueline as he has six goals and 18 points this season with two goals and eight points in his last 10 games. Anton Khudobin is due back shortly and that will force the Hurricanes into moving Justin Peters, likely to the minors.

CHICAGO

Games this week

@ Nashville, vs. Vancouver

Rested team: vs. Vancouver (Friday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

The red hot Blackhawks have to be the Stanley Cup favorites at this time. Duncan Keith certainly has to be considered for the Norris Trophy as he has 28 points and a plus-17 rating on the blueline. Patrick Kane is second in the NHL in scoring with 42 points, one behind the great Sidney Crosby. Corey Crawford suffered a lower body injury this week and is expected to be out of action for three weeks. The injury has forced the Blackhawks to start Antti Raanta, an off-season acquisition from the SM-liiga where he was the MVP of the playoffs last season. Chicago wanted to give him one year in the minors to acclimate him to the North American game but he  has shone in Chicago as he is 5-0-1 with a 2.12 GAA and a .926 save percentage. Kent Simpson is now his backup.

COLORADO

Games this week

vs. Dallas, @ Dallas, vs. Edmonton, @ Los Angeles

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

Colorado plays three times in four nights so look for Jean-Sebastien Giguere to play at least once in place of Semyon Varlamov. The Avs play a home-and-home series against Dallas so look for Patrick Bordeleau or Cody McLeod to add to their penalty minute totals if there are any fisticuffs. When Varlamov was arrested on October 30, he was 7-1-0 with a 1.76 GAA and a .945 save percentage. Since then, he is 7-7-0 with a 2.83 GAA and  a .907 save percentage.  Quite a difference. Paul Stastny has not recorded a point in his last eight games.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, @ Philadelphia, vs. Philadelphia

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Blue Jackets play the Flyers in a home-and-home series this week so look for Brandon Dubinsky or Nick Foligno to take care of things if any rough stuff breaks out. Curtis McElhinney left Thursday’s game with a lower body injury and with Sergei Bobrovsky already out of action with a groin injury that will keep him on the shelf for another three-four weeks, the net now belongs to Mike McKenna. Ryan Johansen is on a seven game scoring streak. James Wisniewski has missed the last three games with an upper body injury. Dubinsky is having a great fantasy season with six goals, 20 points and a plus-five rating to go with 66 penalty minutes.

DALLAS

Games this week

@ Colorado, vs. Colorado, vs. Vancouver, @ San Jose

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Stars play three games in four nights this week so look for Dan Ellis to play once in relief of Kari Lehtonen. Dallas also plays a home-and-home series with the Avalanche so look for Antoine Roussel and Brenden Dillon to add to their penalty minute totals. I featured Roussel in this column last week and in two games since he had two goals, three points and 16 penalty minutes. I talked about Roussel last week and he rewarded his fantasy owners with two goals and 16 penalty minutes to go with nine hits on Tuesday. Jamie Benn is in a big slump with only four assists in his last 10 games as he now has 26 points in 30 games, one point behind Tyler Seguin. Valeri Nichushkin is shows flashes of being a stud as he had a goal and three assists Saturday on a line with Seguin and Benn.

DETROIT

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. Calgary, @ Toronto

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

Jimmy Howard suffered a knee injury this week and will be out at least a week or two. Jonas Gustavsson now has the net and has actually been better this season than Howard as The Monster is 8-1-2 with a 1.93 GAA and a .933 save percentage to Howard’s 6-8-7 record with a 2.65 GAA and a .910 save percentage. Dan DeKeyser is close to returning to action from a separated shoulder as he has been on the injured reserve list since November 20. Henrik Zetterberg has been placed on the long-term injured reserve list and will not be eligible to return until December 28 as he is out with a back injury.

EDMONTON

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ Colorado, vs. St. Louis

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

Sam Gagner is starting to heat up with 10 points in his last 13 games. He got off to a slow start upon his return from a broken jaw suffered in the pre-season and is worth looking at in deeper leagues. Taylor Hall was the second star of the week as he had four goals and six points in three games. Ilya Bryzgalov could be close to a return as he has been taking shots on goal this past week. He is out with a concussion but played well in his three starts giving up only six goals in 98 shots. Nail Yakupov has five goals and 11 points in 30 games with a horrible minus-20 rating. Among the regulars, enforcer Luke Gazdic leads the way in plus/minus at plus-one.

FLORIDA

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Ottawa, @ Winnipeg

Rested team: @ Toronto (Tuesday), @ Ottawa (Thursday)

Tired Team: @ Winnipeg (Friday)

Notes

The Panthers play three games in four nights so it appears that Scott Clemmensen will play once with Tim Thomas getting the other two starts. The Panthers are in Canada for all three games this week. Brad Boyes is the active leader in the NHL with 35 shootout goals. Tim Thomas has won his last three starts but may have been injured in practice Thursday as he left the ice early. Aleksander Barkov broke an eight game pointless streak on Tuesday with an assist. Dmitry Kulikov was a healthy scratch Tuesday due to his play and not because he was involved in a trade according to GM Dale Tallon.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, vs. San Jose, vs. Colorado

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

No matter who the Kings put in net, they get great goaltending this season as Ben Scrivens is 7-2-4 with a 1.56 GAA and a .943 save percentage. But Martin Jones has been even better as he has had the last four starts in a row. He is 4-0-0 with a 0.74 GAA and a .974 save percentage as he went 177:16 minutes without allowing a goal. Jonathan Quick is still out of action with a groin injury but may have a tough time getting back the net full time upon his return. Drew Doughty is having a very good fantasy season with six goals, 16 points, a plus-seven rating and 34 penalty minutes. Mike Richards has only 10 penalty minutes but has six goals and 27 points.

MINNESOTA

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, @ Pittsburgh, @ New York Rangers

Rested team: @ Pittsburgh (Thursday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

Mathew Dumba has been loaned to the Canadian U20 team and do not be surprised if the defenseman is sent back to the WHL once he returns from Sweden.  Dany Heatley played on the fourth line this past week and saw only eight minutes of action on Thursday including 1:24 minutes of power play time. He is not worth owning at this time. Jason Zucker was bumped up to the second unit on Wednesday alongside Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter but was benched on Thursday.  Josh Harding is 16-5-3 this season with a sparkling 1.52 GAA and a .938 save percentage.

MONTREAL

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, @ St. Louis, @ Nashville

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

Although his 14-10-2 record does not indicate it, Carey Price has been terrific this season with a 2.08 GAA and a .933 save percentage. David Desharnais was red hot for a while with three goals and nine points in eight games but he is pointless in his last four starts. He has three goals and 10 points in 31 games this season. P.K. Subban leads the Habs in points with 24 and has a plus-eight rating but is now the third best fantasy defenseman in the NHL, behind Duncan Keith and Erik Karlsson. Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec lead the Canadiens with 11 goals but Pacioretty has only three helpers on the season while Plekanec has 11.

NASHVILLE

Games this week

vs. Chicago, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Montreal

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

Seth Jones’ ice time is dropping as he has averaged only 11:04 minutes in his last three games. He has seen over 30 minutes of action in two games this season so this is a significant drop in play. He has three goals and 10 points with a minus-10 rating. Carter Hutton has played well in back-to-back games and has regained the net, however temporarily, from Marek Mazanec. Look for Filip Forsberg to be sent to the minors again once he recovers from an upper body injury. He is an in-between player right now as he is struggling in the NHL but is too good for the AHL. David Legwand leads the Predators in points with 24, including 10 on the power play.

NEW JERSEY

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Anaheim, @ Washington

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Devils play three times in four nights so look for Martin Brodeur and Cory Schneider to play once each with coach Peter DeBoer deciding on the third game. Ryane Clowe has been medically cleared to return to action from a concussion suffered on October 13 but still needs to get into game shape. Bryce Salvador is now able to skate after fracturing his foot on October 21. It was thought at the time he would missed a week to 10 days but it was a lot longer than that. Forty-one-year-old Jaromir Jagr continues to play like someone in his mid-20s as he has 11 goals and 14 assists to lead the Devils in both categories. He wants to play in the NHL as long as some team wants him and with stats like this, it’s hard to believe that anyone wouldn’t want him.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, @ New York Rangers, vs. Anaheim

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

Evgeni Nabokov was activated from the injured reserve list on Thursday and with the Islanders struggling, look for Nabokov to get the majority of the starts in the foreseeable future. The Islanders recalled Ryan Strome from the minors and he is worth taking, especially in keeper leagues. He had 17 points in his last eight games in the AHL and led the league in scoring with 33 points. The fifth overall pick in the 2011 Draft will likely make his debut on December 14.  Pierre-Marc Bouchard was placed on waivers and then sent to the minors upon passing through waivers. The Islanders will likely deal Thomas Vanek at the trade deadline as their playoff hopes are getting slimmer.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week

vs. Pittsburgh, vs. New York Islanders, vs. Minnesota

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

Henrik Lundqvist has been struggling of late and was pulled from Thursday’s game after giving up three goals on 13 shots in the first 11 minutes of the first period. He is 9-14-1 this season with a 2.71 GAA and a .910 save percentage, certainly not what you were paying for when you drafted him in the first round this season. If you are looking for penalty minutes, the Rangers called up defenseman Dylan McIlrath from the minors where he had 115 minutes in just 24 games. Another player to look at for minutes is Derek Dorsett who returned this week after missing three games with a wrist injury. 

OTTAWA     

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, @ New Jersey, vs. Florida, vs. Phoenix

Rested team: None

Tired Team: vs. Florida (Thursday)

Notes

The Senators play three games in four nights as part of a four game week so look for Robin Lehner and Craig Anderson to share the net. Anderson has struggled this season but stopped 40 of 41 shots on Thursday so he could be turning his season around. Bobby Ryan scored his 15th of the season on Thursday. The Senators recalled defenseman Cody Ceci from the minors and he made his NHL debut Thursday as he was a plus-two in a 2-1 win over Buffalo. Ceci was drafted 15th overall in the 2012 Draft and he has a big shot from the point as well as being a very good passer.

PHILADELPHIA

Games this week

vs. Washington, vs. Columbus, @ Columbus

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Flyers play the back half of a home-and-home series with Washington on Tuesday and then play a home-and-home series with Columbus so look for Zac Rinaldo and Steve Downie to add to their penalty minute totals. Rookie Michael Raffl has only two goals and five points in 20 games but has both goals and an assist in his last three games. Claude Giroux continues to disappoint his fantasy owners with only six goals and 23 points in 32 games. He has eight points in his last 10 games but he was expected to be at over a point-a-game pace this season. Despite his mediocre play, he leads the Flyers by five points with Brayden Schenn in second with 18 points.

PHOENIX

Games this week

@ Montreal, @ Toronto, @ Ottawa

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

Shane Doan has a mysterious illness that has forced him to miss the last three games and there is no timetable for his return. Zbynek Michalek was activated from the injured list and that is good news if your league uses the blocked shots category. Mike Ribeiro leads the Coyotes with 26 points, one ahead of Radim Vrbata. Rob Klinkhammer is someone to look at if you need help in plus/minus as he is at plus-15. He also has seven goals and 14 points in 31 games so he can chip in offensively. Mike Smith is 14-6-5 but his peripherals are so-so, especially his 3.01 GAA.

PITTSBURGH

Games this week

vs. Toronto, @ New York Rangers, vs. Minnesota, vs. Calgary

Rested team: None

Tired Team: vs. Minnesota (Thursday)

Notes

The Penguins play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Jeff Zatkoff to play once for Marc-Andre Fleury. It was a tough game for the Penguins on December 7 against the Bruins as they lost Brooks Orpik to a concussion/sore neck/sore back and then had James Neal suspended for five games for kneeing Brad Marchand in the head.  Sidney Crosby leads the NHL in points with 43. Only two players on the Penguins have good plus/minus ratings, Matt Niskanen at plus-16 and Chris Kunitz at plus-13.

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

@ Ottawa, vs. San Jose, vs. Montreal, @ Edmonton

Rested team: None

Tired Team: vs. San Jose (Tuesday)

Notes

Brian Elliott should get at least one start for Jaroslav Halak as the Blues play three games in four nights as part of a four game week. David Backes continues to show that last season was an aberration as he now has 15 goals, 29 points, a plus-10 rating and 60 penalty minutes in 30 games. He also has six power play goals and nine power play points.  T.J. Oshie has only four goals but has 27 points. The Magnus Paajarvi for David Perron trade has not worked out for the Blues thus far as Paajarvi has only two goals and a minus-two rating in 12 games while Perron has 14 goals and 27 points with six goals on the power play for Edmonton. Jaden Schwartz has quietly put together a good season with eight goals, 22 points and a plus-13 rating in 30 games.

SAN JOSE

Games this week

@ St. Louis, @ Los Angeles, vs. Dallas

Rested team: vs. St. Louis (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

Joe Pavelski is getting third line minutes in five-on-five situations (now with Tommy Wingels and Matthew Nieto) but is on the first power play and that is why his fantasy value is high as he has 12 goals and 30 points in 32 games with six goals and 10 assists coming with the man-advantage. Martin Havlat has only two goals and five points in 18 games and has been held off the scoresheet in his last five games. Antti Niemi has a 17-5-6 record with a 2.23 GAA and a .916 save percentage this season. Wingels has been a surprise this season with nine goals and 20 points in 32 games and a plus-10 rating.

TAMPA BAY

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, vs. Nashville, vs. Carolina

Rested team: vs. Carolina (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

Keep an eye on Nikita Kucherov who has three goals in eight games including two goals in his last two outings. He was selected 58th overall in the 2011 Draft and the Lightning love his offensive potential. Ben Bishop has had a great season for the Lightning as he is 16-5-2 this season with a 2.05 GAA and a .931 save percentage. Victor Hedman is still out with a lower body injury and could miss more action this week as he is not making any progress. Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson each have a goal and three assists with a plus-three rating in their last four games.  

TORONTO

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, vs. Florida, vs. Phoenix, vs. Detroit

Rested team: None

Tired Team: vs. Florida (Tuesday)

Notes

The Maple Leafs play three games in four nights as part of a four game week so look for Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer to split the net. The Maple Leafs have not won a game in regulation in their last 12 outings. Cody Franson finally scored his first goal of the season on Wednesday. Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner were a good pairing for the two games that Dion Phaneuf was forced to sit out with a suspension that he received for a hit into the boards on the Bruins Kevan Miller. The Maple Leafs have been terrible killing penalties of late as they have slipped to 27th in the NHL at 77.2 percent after being as high as second earlier in the season.

VANCOUVER

Games this week

@ Minnesota, @ Dallas, @ Chicago, vs. Winnipeg

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Chicago (Friday)

Notes

The Canucks goalie Eddie Lack should play at least once this week for Roberto Luongo as Vancouver plays three games in four nights. Luongo was the third star of the week with a 3-0-0 record to go with a 1.30 GAA and a .960 save percentage. Four players have been responsible for most of the Canucks power play success as Henrik Sedin and his twin brother Daniel Sedin each have three goals and eight assists while Ryan Kesler has five goals and four helpers. Defenseman Jason Garrison leads the way on the blueline with three goals and five assists. Jannik Hansen is seeing first line time with the Sedin twins.

WASHINGTON

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, @ Carolina, vs. New Jersey

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Capitals play the back end of a home-and-home series with Philadelphia on Tuesday and since tempers could flare, look for Tom Wilson and Aaron Volpatti (if he is in the lineup) to increase their penalty minute totals. Michal Neuvirth could return this week after spending the weekend in the AHL getting in some game action as he tries to return from an ankle injury. Alex Ovechkin has 26 goals in 29 games but has only nine assists. This is an anomaly as he usually picks up plenty of helpers. Nicklas Backstrom now has 32 points in 31 games after a five point game Monday.

WINNIPEG

Games this week

@ Columbus, @ Buffalo, vs. Florida, @ Vancouver

Rested team: vs. Florida (Friday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Jets play four times this week but not three in four games. Still, expect to see Al Montoya play at least once for Ondrej Pavelec. Bryan Little has 13 goals and 29 points this season with one goal and seven helpers in his last 10 games. Evander Kane has missed the last five games with a lower body injury and will miss at least one more. He has only seven goals and 14 points in 26 games and has been a disappointment to his fantasy owners. Mark Scheifele has only three goals and 11 points in 33 games but has been scoring a bit more of late as he has two goals and six points in his last 10. 

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