Each week, Jordan will try to provide you with guidance and inside information as you pick your lineup in the Hockey Night in Canada Fantasy Pool presented by Kia, with a focus on finding "sleeper" picks to help fill the roster when cap space is low.
Week 23 (Saturday March 3rd to Friday March 9th)
Originally I was hoping to assess the fantasy ramifications of potential blockbuster trades on deadline day, but that day has come and gone with little fanfare.
Only 16 transactions occurred with the winning team of the day being the Nashville Predators. Acquiring Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad really strengthens their team and sets them up for a deep run in the post season. In review, there were actually no huge trades with fantasy ramifications on Monday but you should pay some attention to how Cody Hodgson fares in Buffalo as he will see first or second line duty and Andrei Kostitsyn in Nashville where he will start things off with Patric Hornqvist and David Legwand. With the deadline behind us owners can now shore up their fantasy favourites without worrying about a trade altering point production.
Here are my selections for Week 23 in the Hockey Night in Canada Hockey Pool presented by Kia.
If it's consistency in goal that you seek, then Coyotes netminder Mike Smith is your man. The little orphaned Phoenix Coyotes are currently the NHL's hottest team going 9-0-1 in their last 10 games. I should also mention that they were undefeated in regulation in the month of February and had one shootout loss as their only blemish. They currently sit in third in a tough Western Conference and have recently beaten such teams as the San Jose Sharks, Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks.
Individually, Smith hasn't lost a game since Jan. 31 and has earned Kia Fantasy Pool points in 70 per cent of games played this season and in 17 of his last 20 starts. In Week 23 the Coyotes will play in 4 games (VS CBJ, @ PIT, @ CBJ, VS MIN). Smith will likely see starts against Columbus, Pittsburgh, and Minnesota, giving way to backup Jason LaBarbera in the second part of the back to back on March 3rd (@ CBJ).
Either way, at a player value cost of '3' Smith gives you elite goalie status for non-elite price. Add Mike Smith, and give him your three star selection for double the points.
Sometimes, when a player is so good, you have to just pony up and pay the price. Ottawa Senators defencemen Erik Karlsson is one of those guys. It's been a long time since a defencemen was mentioned inside the league's top scorers and this year Karlsson is among them. As of Feb. 29, he was in seventh in points among all NHL skaters and is producing at a point per game pace. To further illustrate his dominance, he has a 23 point lead on the next highest scoring defencmen, Florida's Brian Campbell at 43 points. At a player value of '3' he isn't cheap for a defencemen but you should look at it from a comparative perspective of what his production output would cost you for a forward doing what he is doing. Every single guy Karlsson trails in the scoring race would cost a player value of '4' with the exception of Senators teammate Jason Spezza.
In Week 23 the Senators only play in 3 games (@ FLA, @ TB, VS NYR) but going forward this guy should be on your blue line with three star status (double points) from here on out in all weeks where Ottawa plays 3 games or more.
On forward this week I am suggesting a guy who was traded, but just prior to deadline day (AKA yawn-line day). On Feb. 21 Steve Downie went from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Colorado Avalanche for Kyle Quincey. Since then he has quietly racked up seven points in four games including three multi-point games. He's been skating with Ryan O'Reilly and Gabriel Landeskog and it's clearly been working very well.
I am intrigued with the prospect of adding Downie for Week 23, at a player value cost of '1'. Call it the foil to an owner who wants to also select Erik Karlsson (player value of 3).
Colorado plays four games (VS PIT, @ MIN, VS MIN, @ NAS) and Downie will see plenty of ice time with his new linemates. As a team Colorado sit just outside the Western Conference playoff picture (9th, 70 points) but they are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and are riding a 4-game win streak. I think owners can find a better target for their forward three star selection but Downie is a worthy consideration when filling your fifth and sixth forward spaces.
Good luck this week and be sure to have your picks in place in time for the Saturday March 3rd, 1pm/et deadline.
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