Each week, Jordan will attempt to provide you with guidance and inside information as you pick your Hockey Night in Canada fantasy pool lineup presented by Kia, with a focus on finding "sleeper" picks to help fill the roster when cap space is low.
This week is number 6 of the Kia Fantasy Pool and begins on Saturday Nov. 4.
Although the season is still within its first 20 games there have been plenty of surprises. How about those Edmonton Oilers?
Did any of you out there think they would be on top of the Northwest division 11 games into the season? Edmonton is finally showing results from their vast crop of first round talent, and if you’ve been following my advice you’ve reaped the rewards (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins).
For me, the big disappointment has been the collective play of both Stanley Cup participants, the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks. As of Nov. 2, Boston is sitting in the Eastern Conference basement, and the Canucks have been average at best with a 6-5-1 record. Although I think both teams will bounce back, you might want to avoid their respective stars until they start to win a few more games.
Something I liked last week: Andrew Ladd of the Winnipeg Jets standing up for his teammate Tobias Enstrom. The Jets were in Florida playing the Panthers on Monday night when Panthers forward Jack Skille delivered a questionable hit on the Jets blue liner in the second period. Enstrom would leave the game and has returned to Winnipeg considered day-to-day with an upper body injury. In the third period, Ladd stepped right in and fought Skille, delivering several hard uppercuts and showing why this new franchise has chosen to build the team with him as its captain.
Now, on to the picks for this week.
Starting with goaltending, this week has some similarities to last week. In Week 6 there are a few goalies to avoid due to the amount of games they will play. Under this strategy I would not select Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT), or Ilya Bryzgalov (PHI). Although Fleury has had a great start, Pittsburgh is only playing twice.
As for Bryzgalov, he has two main reasons why he should be avoided. The first is his stats (3.16 GAA, .880 save percentage) and the second is his low number of potential starts (vs. CBJ, @ TB).
In these situations, you have to go with a 3-start goalie and hope for a clean sweep of points. This week I am going to put an authoritative stamp on last week’s pick. Start Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford again!
If you started Crawford last week you already have four points from two wins with a game tomorrow in Florida, and a game Friday in Tampa Bay. If you made him your goalie 3-star, those points are doubled. I can’t resist selling him to you again for Week 6. Chicago has another four games on tap (vs. VAN, @ STL, @ CBJ, vs. CGY). They are playing a handful of the weaker Western Conference teams and should win three of four.
So far this season Crawford is 5-2-2 and has earned fantasy pool points in seven of nine games played. I also think you should make him your goalie 3-star so you can double his point output. Why not ride the hot hand until he, or his team schedule, give you a reason not to?
His player value cost of 3 is pretty standard for a high-end goalie, yet still below the ‘elite’ goalies who will cost you four points. Cough cough, Roberto Luongo anybody?
My pick on the blue-line for this week is Vancouver Canuck defencemen Alex Edler. Some of you may question the obvious as Edler is currently third among defencemen in points, but that would be premature.
I like Edler for two other reasons. First, Edler has scored 10 of 12 points in the last 15 days (7 GP). This shows he has become comfortable in his new leadership role and is confident. The other reason I like him is because he is filling the offensive void left by Christian Ehrhoff (BUF) and is now seeing top time on the Vancouver power play.
The Canucks take to the ice three times in Week 6 and all on the road (@ CHI, @ LA, @ ANA). Normally, this would be a slight concern but Edler is seeing plenty of ice (23:28) and Vancouver is riding a two-game win streak. Most of all, at a player value cost of ‘2’ Edler can occupy one of your top defensive spots and you can fill out the other 3 spaces with guys who have a player value of ‘1’. It’s only a matter of time before the Canucks shake off the rust and this guy seems to be leading the charge on the blue-line.
In the forward spot I want you to think about Alex Burmistrov (WPG). The Winnipeg Jets forward plays 4 games during Week 6 (@ NJ, @ NYR, @ BUF, vs. FLA). The three road games shouldn’t be much of an issue to the Jets as it's something they have had to accept for this season. Although Burmistrov is just in his second season he has shown a consistent ability to put up points with three goals and six assists, and points in seven of his 11 games played. There aren’t a whole lot of reasons for excitement on this Winnipeg team thus far, but I really believe Burmistrov is one of them. At a player value of ‘1’ he can be inserted into your lineup as your last forward, and with the four games played he should be good for a handful of points.
I wouldn’t use your three star status on him for this week, but he should still be useful.
Good luck with your Week 6 selections and remember to have your rosters set in time Saturday's 3 p.m. ET deadline. Once you get your roster in be sure to tune it at 5 p.m ET to watch Hockey Night in Canada, as coverage begins with Game Day, hosted by Andi Petrillo and PJ Stock.