We’ve made our list. We’ve checked it twice. Let’s recap Week 10 with who has been naughty and who has been nice.
Jeff Skinner – C/LW/RW – 78% Owned
Shame on those of you who haven’t realized that Skinner is not only back from injury, but he’s now shaken off the rust and looks as good as he ever has producing a five-goal, six-point week. And no wonder – the Hurricanes have finally paired Skinner with Eric Staal as the two have helped get each other out of the fantasy gutter.
Now, it hasn’t always worked out with Skinner and Staal as a pairing and the Hurricanes may split these two up once they get healthy up front, but that’s no excuse to sleep on Skinner.
Valeri Nichushkin – RW – 8% Owned
The only thing that kept Nichushkin out of the top spot this week is his complete lack of ownership. Had he been owned in even a quarter of all pools he’d have made a dent worthy enough of MVP. As it stands now he is woefully under-owned.
It makes some sense. His numbers for the year are not very good (just 15 points in 27 games) but since the calendar flipped to November Nichushkin has stepped up his play scoring 13 points in his last 16 games while skating heavy minutes alongside Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.
Granted, half of the points in that run came over three games this week so he benefits from the small sample here but still, he’s keeping good company and warrants owning as the third member of one of the league’s most potent lines.
Patrick Kane – C/RW – 100% Owned
Finally, Kane’s affinity for change explains itself. He just likes to drop dimes!
He had seven of them across four games this week to help vault himself into a tie for second in league scoring.
Josh Harding – G – 82% Owned
This is even less explicable than the non-100% Skinner ownership.
Hello, people! Harding has only been the single most valuable goalie in fantasy all season, as he surely was this week. Harding sits first in the league in goals-against average and shutouts, second in wins and third in save percentage.
Honourable Mentions: David Perron, Roberto Luongo, Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, Carey Price, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Olli Jokinen, Sidney Crosby, Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, Milan Lucic, Jared Spurgeon, James van Riemsdyk, Jason Garrison, Tom Gilbert, Alex Goligoski, Phil Kessel, Mike Ribeiro, Martin Jones, Tomas Tatar, Sean Couturier, Tim Thomas, Ryan Johansen.
The LVP (Least Valuable Player)
Corey Crawford – G – 99% Owned
Talk about adding injury to insult. Crawford left Sunday’s sure win against the Panthers before it was all sown up costing him the double-u. He had gone 0-3 that week with some absolutely miserable stats. It would’ve done him a world of good to get that gimmie, but alas, it wasn’t in the cards.
Crawford does still lead the league in wins but his underlying stats are very mediocre and there’s an argument to be made that recent call-up Antti Raanta is a better option, at least until Crawford gets his act together.
I will never know what possessed the Blackhawks to give Crawford that massive extension when the key to their success in recent years has involved punting on goaltending and relying on affordable options. They have two Cups to show for that strategy. Now they are paying big-time money for small-time play. Hopefully you aren’t doing the same.
Not Last but Certainly Least
Jakub Voracek – RW – 66% Owned
Voracek was nothing but a big old minus-4 this week, dragging down his fantasy owners with performances worse than mere O-fers. He hasn’t scored in going on two weeks and has to be trying the patience of his fantasy owners.
I swear it makes sense to hang onto him though. Voracek still skates big minutes alongside Claude Giroux, who has turned the corner of late. Voracek is simply suffering from a serious lack of puck luck.
He is shooting just 4.5% this year and his teammates have done no better with him on the ice. That is bound to improve over time. Of course, you could argue that this season’s woes are simply making up for his over-achieving last year but that’s not how this stuff generally works. So unless you believe in fantasy karma you should probably see these LVP performances as an opportunity to buy low.
Tobias Enstrom – D – 77% Owned
We at Dobber Hockey have championed Enstrom as a solid buy-low candidate over the past few weeks, but holy mackerel is that blowing up in our collective face. Enstrom has just two points in his last 23 games and has been an overall minus over that span as well. He was notably bad this week with a zero-point minus-3 effort across three games.
At this point one must assume he is playing hurt because there’s no other explanation that makes sense. Indeed, Enstrom is suffering some miserable puck luck of his own but this goes beyond just bad luck. Something is quite clearly rotten here.
Semyon Varlamov – G – 85% Owned
Varlamov made only one appearance, but was lit up by the Oilers for eight goals, single-handedly bringing his save percentage back down to Earth.
Dis-Honourable Mentions: Paul Stastny, Alex Pietrangelo, Marek Mazanec, Chris Stewart, Ryan O’Reilly, Jussi Jokinen, Marcus Johansson, Teddy Purcell, Jimmy Howard, Patrick Roy, Andrew Ladd, Kyle Turris, Dustin Byfuglien, James Neal.