I hope everyone enjoyed going top heavy on Vancouver Canuck and Dallas Star players in Week 21.
The games played strategy is a very useful and simple philosophy. The more games a player plays, the greater chance he will record points. Week 22 brings forth a week where everyone plays in three or four games.
You have to factor in games played to determine a player's worth versus how many salary cap points they will cost. Another tactic I like to employ is to select players from teams who are trending upwards in the standings with prolonged win streaks.
This applies to players on the New Jersey Devils, Phoenix Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks. These teams are all winners of at least 70 per cent of their last 10 games. Players on winning teams tend to be more productive and this is important when it comes to fantasy.
Looking at trending teams with prolonged success I am able to filter out some guys who combined with their salary cap hit, might be good candidates this week.
Here are my selections for Week 21 in the Hockey Night in Canada Hockey Pool presented by Kia.
Since 2011 became 2012 there have not been many teams as hot as the New Jersey Devils. Since Janaury 1st they are 14-5-3 going from sixth in the Eastern Conference to fourth. Considering how tight things get in this final stretch of the season it says a lot for a team to move up two positions.
Knee-deep in the middle of this surge is Martin Brodeur. His 18 years of experience have included their share of ups and downs but lately it's been more of the 'ups' than anything. Brodeur has posted a record of 11-5-2 since Jan. 1, including wins against the Pittsburgh Penguins (twice), and New York Rangers (twice).
During Week 22 the Devils will play in four games (VS TB, @ NYR, @ BOS, @ WAS). Despite two back to back scenarios it's very likely Brodeur plays both Sunday and Monday since they are travelling from New Jersey to New York and it's a day game followed by a night game. At a player value cost of '3' Brodeur is good bang for your buck and a stronger option in comparison to any of the'4' goalies (Thomas, Bryzgalov, Howard, Rinne, Fleury, Luongo).
A little over a month ago I recommended that readers add Alex Pietrangelo of the St Louis Blues. I marketed him as a low-cost but high reward option. Now, present day, I want to make that same recommendation. Since we last visited with Pietrangelo on January 18th he has put up 13 points in 14 games, including four multi-point performances. He continues to lead all defensive counterparts on St Louis in average time on ice (24:46) and has six of the eight blue-line power-play points in that time frame.
St Louis has been enjoying their best season in a long time and are poised to ride high into the playoffs. This is a good example of finding a player on a trending team. At a player value cost of '1' Pietrangelo is a guy who should be on your team in all weeks where St Louis is playing three games or more. In Week 22 St Louis plays in four road games in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.
Keeping with my theme of finding strong fantasy candidates on trending teams, I think this week's forward nod goes to San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture. Delivering 56 points in 79 games last season, Couture is poised to smash that in 2012. A good balance of 27 goals and 24 assists has Couture just outside the top 20 in the points race.
It gets even better when looking at the last 30 days. Couture has 17 points in that span, good enough for fourth place in the NHL behind fantasy studs like Steven Stamkos and Ilya Kovalchuk. The big difference in that last sentence is that those guys cost 3-4 salary cap points where Couture can be added for '2'.
In the last month which included 13 games, Couture had multiple points on six occasions. The most impressive thing about Couture is that he's been able to record these results while playing on the second line and second power-play unit.
Week 22 sees the Sharks play on the road against Nashville and Minnesota, and at home versus Philadelphia and Buffalo. Couture should be good for a handful of points and a guy to be considered every time San Jose plays in four games.
Good luck this week and be sure to have your picks in place in time for the Saturday February 25th, 1pm/et deadline.
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