Fantasy Hockey Buy & Sell: Week 12 (2021)
The conclusion of the fantasy hockey regular season is upon us. Standard head-to-head leagues will enter the six-team playoff format next week. That means it is time to make some hard decisions about who to keep around and who to cut when it matters most.
After almost a full season without COVID issues in Canada, we are now seeing widespread postponements in the North Division. Things are horrible in Vancouver, where there are upwards of 20 players and staff members in the protocol. Analysts are now calling into question if they will be able to complete the season. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly spoke on Monday with confidence that the Canucks will manage to play out their games. Regardless, I am not banking on having any Canuck for the fantasy playoff stretch. There is no player that I would consider “undroppable” if there is still no timetable for return on the eve of the fantasy playoffs.
Jake Oettinger (G – DAL)
Things have not gone as planned in Dallas this year. After a surprising trip to the Stanley Cup Final last season, the Stars now find themselves five points out of a playoff spot with three games in hand. A big reason for that is their instability in goal. Anton Khudobin played a pivotal role in the Stars’ success last season, but he has been inconsistent thus far this year. Ben Bishop remains on injured reserve, but he could return before the end of the year. Enter Jake Oettinger. The 22-year-old Boston University product has made the most of his opportunity this season. He touts a 2.24 GAA and a .918 save percentage.
The primary reason I am targeting Oettinger is his schedule. I am a firm believer in streaming goaltenders. In the week of 4/9, the Stars are scheduled to face the Red Wings four times. I expect Oettinger to receive two or three of those starts. Those are prime spot starts for free off the waiver wire.
Anthony Beauvillier (LW – NYI)
Beauvillier has eight goals in 28 games this season. Six of those goals have come in the last seven games. Beauvillier is skating on a line with Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey and the top power-play unit with Mat Barzal. The Islanders are scheduled to play several four-game weeks, which is extremely important in targeting for the fantasy playoffs. I am riding this wave until it’s over. Beauvillier has proven himself as a career 20-goal scorer, so if anything, he is just regressing to the mean lately.
Vladimir Tarasenko (RW – STL)
After losing their seventh straight on Monday, the St. Louis Blues have backed up to five points out of a playoff spot in the West Division. Savvy drafters and waiver early birds jumped at the opportunity to pick up Vladimir Tarasenko this season. Tarasenko was scheduled to miss the first three months of the season after having shoulder surgery. For those in leagues with an IR spot, Tarasenko was an optimal buy-low candidate. In 14 games since his return, he has just two goals and eight points. He is skating on the third line with Robert Thomas and Ivan Barbashev. He hasn’t exactly hit the ground running, which is understandable after the surgery he had. I can’t rely on him to suddenly regain old form within the next few weeks. To make matters worse, the Blues are sinking like a stone themselves. I don’t want anything to do with this situation right now. Maybe next season.
Johnny Gaudreau (LW/RW – CGY)
There have been a lot of disappointing seasons this year in the NHL. The Calgary Flames are near the top of that list. Calgary currently finds itself second-to-last in the North Division with nearly zero chance at making the playoffs. Last month, the team fired head coach Geoff Ward and brought in Darryl Sutter. Sutter is a hard-nosed coach that expects supreme effort every night. He has already been critical of Johnny Gaudreau’s effort during his short tenure. Despite an early spark upon Sutter’s arrival, the Flames quickly reverted to their losing ways. To make matters worse, from a fantasy perspective, Calgary has a sparse schedule during playoff weeks, including a couple of games against a Vancouver team that we aren’t sure will be returning to play this season. Gaudreau has four points in his last 14 games. I am selling most of my stock in the Flames if I can.