You can blame me for the Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzel pick ups. Even, though, they have been SUPER productive up until their recent injuries and if you have them on your roster, there’s a chance you’ve moved on anyway. Problem is, you just may need some replacements now.
*If you’re thinking about entering a Fantasy Hockey Playoff pool you may want to keep Sheary and Guentzel in mind, as the Penguins are poised to make another run despite all these injuries.
& Conor Sheary pic.twitter.com/eoMYm8c5PX
— Anna (@NHLpittPENS) March 27, 2017
Guentzel (concussion) skated with his teammates Sunday, but in a non-contact jersey. We could see him back in the lineup this week, but if you don’t have an IR PLUS spot then you may just need to cut your ties. It’s too bad, because he’s been really good with Crosby.
As for Sheary, well, he left early in Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers due to what the Penguins are calling a lower-body injury. When watching it looked like he was bothered by his right hand. Either way, he’s listed as day-to-day for now. Sheary is not an immediate drop with the Penguins off until Wednesday. Pittsburgh also plays Friday and Sunday, which you’ll see below are important days.
With Evgeni Malkin (upper-body) still absent from practice, it’s allowing more ice for others like Nick Bonino, Bryan Rust and Matt Cullen.
At the end of the day, it’s all about Sidney Crosby isn’t it? Who is going to get their shot to play with Sid? Crosby started last night’s game on a line with Rust and Sheary but that only lasted a couple shifts. He then played the second period with Rust and at times Tom Kuhnhackl before joining Cullen and Phil Kessel in the third when the Penguins were trying to make a push to get back in to the game.
There will be some line juggling I’m sure this week, so let it play out at practice. That said, Rust, Bonino and Cullen should be on your radar, and with the days off you can wait to make the adds until Tuesday night, or Wednesday morning.
Week 23 Fantasy Hockey Injuries, News & Notes:
Dustin Byfuglien (upper-body) – Two straight games in the press box for the big defenseman and that’s a major blow to Fantasy owners, as he hits every single Fantasy Hockey category. He’s really hard to replace, but here are a couple of players who do close to what he does.
*Big Byf Replacements:
If he doesn’t play by Tuesday, you can’t mess around waiting for him to come back.
Jakob Chychrun plays Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday this week and fits the theme of what I like to do as you’ll see below. He has 20 shots, 18 hits and 14 blocks in the last two weeks. Problem is he plays for Arizona and they don’t score much and get scored on a lot. Plus/Minus could take a hit. He’s actually a plus two over his last nine games with two goals and five points. Two of those points were on the PP.
There are a trio of Edmonton Oilers defensemen who could help. If you’re looking for straight production Andrej Sekera has eight points in the last two weeks to go along with 29 blocks. Adam Larsson has 36 hits and 23 blocks over that same time frame and Oscar Klefbom has 18 shots, 25 blocks and quarterbacks the Edmonton power play which is Top 5 in the league.
In fact, if you’re looking for just blocks, all three are in the Top 15 among defensemen in blocked shots over the last month with Kris Russell second on that list and second overall in the NHL.
Mark Streit is another option, but he won’t get you any hits like Byfuglien. If what you really need is hits, look to Ottawa as Mark Borowiecki has 41 of them in his last five games.
Tuukka Rask (lower-body) – Missed Friday’s practice and Saturday’s game, but returned to practice Monday and thinks he can play Tuesday against the Nashville Predators. A lot of people were burned by Rask this week and you’d be lucky to make it through with his performance, but if you did, I’d have a hard time starting him. That said, you may not have any other options.
Frederik Andersen (upper-body) – Practiced for a bit Monday, but is ruled out Tuesday against the Florida Panthers.
John Gibson (lower-body) – Gibson returned to practice and is close to playing. Not sure Anaheim can go back to him with Jonathan Bernier playing so well.
Tyler Johnson (knee) – The Lightning center skated Sunday, but there’s a good chance him and Steven Stamkos (knee) won’t return before the end of the season. Brayden Point has been on point with four goals and eight points in his last eight games. (Sorry about that, I couldn’t help myself). The C/RW is playing with Nikita Kucherov who just snipes all day.
Week 23 Fantasy Hockey Preview:
There are two teams that play five games during Week 23 of the Fantasy Hockey season and you’ll notice both play Monday and Tuesday, play again mid-week before ending the week with games on Saturday and Sunday. Just because they have five games, doesn’t mean they are must adds as you’ll see below it’s sometimes best to target smaller scheduled nights in the NHL. That is exactly how you get the edge on your opponent in head-to-head leagues.
Nashville Predators (Mon @ NYI, Tue @ BOS, Thu vs TOR, Sat vs MIN, Sun @ STL).
Ryan Ellis – He’s finally over the 50 percent mark in leagues as he continues to produce with three goals and five points in his last four games. Ellis has at least two shots on goal in 11 straight games and at least two blocks in eight straight. The Preds’ defenseman is having a breakout year with 15 goals, 35 points, 11 on the power play, a +14 rating and 123 blocks. All are career highs and he missed some time.
Calle Jarnkrok – With 39 faceoff wins in his last three games, that is what he’s doing best right now. He does have 15 goals on the year and has shown some chemistry with James Neal, having picked up two points in his last four games, but he’s more of a deep league add with faceoffs. Those faceoffs will go from double-digit wins to single-digit wins once Mike Fisher (lower-body) returns, but he’s not expected to play Monday or Tuesday.
Craig Smith – I’m not crazy about the right winger, but he is riding a three-game assist run with six over that span. Could try and ride the hot hand in DFS.
Carolina Hurricanes (MON vs DET, Tue vs DET, Thu vs COB, Sat vs DAL, Sun @ PIT)
This is the second time in the last three weeks that the NHL has scheduled a five-game week for the Hurricanes. A lot of these players have been talked about before, added, dropped and now added again.
Elias Lindholm – Oh Mama! Lindholm has points in 10 straight games and you’d be silly not to roster him if you could. Four goals, 11 points (three on power play), and 24 shots over that span.
Sebastian Aho – He’s currently riding a six-game point streak where he has three goals and five assists. Three of his eight points have come on the power play.
Phillip Di Giuseppe – For now, he’s the third member of the line, a promotion despite being held pointless in his last three games. He does, however, have 21 hits in his last five games and 81 in 31 games this season.
Jaccob Slavin – His seven points are the second most along defenseman over the last two weeks.
*The first two I would look to add, but are most likely taken. Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen are solid fall back options and they are currently skating on a line together. Teravainen is second on the team with 25 shots on goal over the last two weeks.
Attacking Monday, Friday and Sunday:
Pittsburgh Penguins (Wed vs CHI, Fri @ NYR, Sun vs CAR)
*More Rust, Bonino and Cullen talk.
Rust has six shots and four hits in his two games since returning from injury and that’s what he’s done all year. In his 51 games played this season, Rust has 93 shots and 85 hits to go along with 12 goals and 25 points. He’s good enough to play with Crosby and he likely will all week.
Bonino and Cullen are getting power play time and winning faceoffs. Bonino is the better add as he gets more ice and is more productive in the other categories. Cullen is a sneaky good DFS play.
Chicago Blackhawks (Mon @ TB, Wed @ PIT, Fri vs COB, Sun @ BOS)
Nick Schmaltz – lost his job on a line with Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarian mid week most likely due to the face he was 5-for-38 in the faceoff circle since Artem Anismov (lower-body) suffered his injury. He may have played himself back on it during a 7-0 loss in Florida. Believe it or not!
John Hayden – This kid has seemed to have played himself off a top-six role, but keep an eye on him. In six games with Chicago he has one goal, three points, 14 shots, 25 hits and a plus four rating. If you’re not scoring, you better put pucks on net and throw your body around and he has been
You make it through this week with those two and other Chicago players on your squad and your reward is a date next week with the Colorado Avalanche.
Washington Capitals (Tue @ MIN, Wed @ COL, Fri @ ARI, Sun @ COB)
Justin Williams – Two goals and three points in his last four games, but most importantly he’s centerman is either Evgeny Kuznetsov or Nicklas Backstrom. No I lied, most importantly the CAPS play Arizona and Colorado. Those two teams give up a lot of rubber and Williams had eight shots on goal in a game earlier this month.
Marcus Johansson – Three apples in his last four games and six shots on goal in his last three. He also plays in a top-six role.
Andre Burakovsky – He may not be worth the add if you only have a select few, but the matchup is at least right.
St. Louis Blues (Mon vs ARI, Wed @ ARI, Fri @ COL, Sun vs NSH)
Jaden Schwartz – Most likely not available, but hovering around that 50 percent threshold. Schwartz also had eight shots on goal in a game earlier this month. He has 19 in his last four to go along with two goals and three points.
Patrik Berglund – The injury to Paul Stastny (lower-body) who is out week-to-week gives more ice to Berglund who can contribute in hit and faceoff categories as well.
David Perron – This play is all about taking a shot with two games against the Coyotes and one against the Avalanche. He does have three points in his last four games.
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