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Fantasy Weekend Rundown: Who to Add for 14-Game Saturday

The 14 games on Saturday are the most since November, so fantasy hockey managers should make sure they take advantage before a three-game Sunday.
Robby Fabbri

It’s the busiest day of the fantasy week, with 14 games on Saturday. The Jets, Rangers, Sharks and Ducks get the night off, though the Jets and Rangers are in action on Sunday. As always, there are some odd start times to take note, including the Saturday early afternoon matinee in Dallas and an early start in Colorado at 5 p.m. local time.

That means a light Sunday with only three games, including games hosted by the Rangers and Canes that are starting two hours earlier than usual.

Here’s your weekend breakdown.


Flames at Stars (2 p.m. ET)

This is the first of three meetings between the two teams. Roope Hintz did not make the Stars’ road trip, where they scored just three goals in two games, but with the Stars hosting, there’s a chance Hintz will return to the lineup. If he does, it’ll make the Stars’ top line whole again, and they’ll need some scoring to defeat the Flames, who have scored 10 goals in three games so far during their road trip.

Of note, Tyler Toffoli has the hot hand with seven helpers in his past six games. It took the Flames a while, but their top six has been pretty fixed, with Toffoli playing opposite Dillon Dube with Elias Lindholm at center and Milan Lucic and Jonathan Huberdeau with Nazem Kadri in the middle on the second line.

Senators at Avalanche (7 p.m. ET)

The Avs need to stop the bleeding and fast. Gabriel Landeskog, Valeri Nichushkin and Bowen Byram are not close to returning, according to Jared Bednar, and they’ve lost seven of their past eight, including games they should’ve won easily against Arizona, Florida and Chicago. In fantasy, that’s great for players such as Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar because they’ll get tons of ice time, but the Avs also run the risk of pushing too few of their players too hard. Evan Rodrigues and J.T. Compher remain unsung heroes of that team and certainly have value in multi-category leagues, but it’s hard to win when touted rookies such as Alex Newhook just can’t seem to take the next step.

For the Sens, consistency remains elusive despite having an immensely talented young roster. Of note is Jake Sanderson, who is quietly having a solid season, and half of his 16 points have been scored on the power play. While that’s still Thomas Chabot’s territory, the emergence of Sanderson could see them split the duties more equally as soon as next season. His multi-category potential makes him worth rostering in banger leagues with many D slots to fill.

Blue Jackets at Red Wings (7 p.m. ET)

The biggest fantasy storylines for the Jackets include their continual search for a No. 1 center and the rise of sniper Kirill Marchenko. The spot between Patrik Laine and Johnny Gaudreau has been a revolving door all season, and it doesn’t seem like they want to commit to Kent Johnson full-time, which hurts his fantasy upside and keeps Jack Roslovic in the conversation, even though it’s pretty clear Roslovic’s a middle-six pivot without any signature skills. Marchenko, however, is undoubtedly going to be a top-six sniper one day, and while he can be hit-or-miss for fantasy managers, the long-term upside is real. Speaking of scoring, Adam Boqvist is their preferred power-play QB, but with Nick Blankenburg returning to the lineup – whom the Jackets really like – he might eat into Boqvist’s playing time with the man advantage. They can provide some sneaky upside for fantasy managers looking for offense from a fairly thin position.

For the Wings, the big story has been the return of Robby Fabbri, who is an excellent streaming option right now with a three-game goal streak, though note he’s under load management and does not play in back-to-backs yet. His play and the emergence of Jonatan Berggren, who remains an erstwhile pickup in deeper leagues, have really damped the fantasy value of Tyler Bertuzzi, who returned to his spot on the top line but has produced just one measly shot in two games. The internal competition of wingers has significantly impacted their fantasy value as well.

Canadiens at Islanders (7 p.m. ET)

Anytime you go into a game with a Samuel Montembeault-Cayden Primeau tandem, you should be a little worried. Montembeault should draw the start after making 39 saves in a win against the Preds in his previous start, and it seems like with each passing year, Primeau seems less likely to be a meaningful goalie in the NHL. That he’s already appeared in 18 NHL games as a seventh-round pick is already quite an accomplishment.

The Isles are looking to snap a four-game losing streak, but the trouble lately is that they can’t score. Other than a six-goal outburst against the Canucks, they’ve scored more than one goal just once in their past five games. Simon Holmstrom is playing in their top six, and Hudson Fasching is now a regular with Oliver Wahlstrom on the injured reserve, but neither has the same kind of offensive upside.

Flyers at Capitals (7 p.m. ET)

The Flyers have won five of their past six – yeah, you read that right – with goalie Samuel Ersson emerging as a hero and forming a pretty solid duo with Carter Hart. The Flyers play hard, so there will be times the hockey gods smile upon them. Travis Konecny and Scott Laughton remain solid multi-category producers in fantasy. Joel Farabee is scoring again with three goals in five games, and Cam York is an offensive defenseman who might eclipse Tony DeAngelo soon. In deeper leagues, they’re worth streaming while the Flyers are flying high.

Alex Ovechkin has not scored in three games, which is an eternity in his world, but the Caps don’t look quite right even with Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson back in the lineup because they’ve been away for so long. They’ll get there after a few more games, and both players can be valuable pieces to any fantasy roster. With Backstrom winning 71 percent of his faceoffs and Wilson dishing out 10 hits in two games, the early impressions are good.

Penguins at Hurricanes (7 p.m. ET)

It was a tough game for Dustin Tokarski last night with a 4-1 loss to the Jets, and now Casey DeSmith faces a similarly strong opponent in the Canes tonight. DeSmith is an average backup who’s already having trouble keeping the Pens afloat in Tristan Jarry’s absence, and the Pens' defense is currently in tatters without Jeff Petry and Kris Letang.

Frederik Andersen started their last game with Pyotr Kochetkov serving as the backup, and it’ll be interesting to see who the Canes start since they’ll be playing on Sunday as well. If Kotchetkov starts and Antti Raanta serves as the backup while Andersen sits today, and then Sunday sees Raanta start with Andersen as the backup while Kochetkov sits, it’ll give us a really good indication of how they’ll handle their goalie rotation. This is a confounding situation for fantasy managers, and I truly believe the Canes will carry three goalies into the playoffs. The other development is Max Pacioretty, who left the previous game with an upper-body injury. This is not good for the highly effective but injury-prone veteran. If he sits, expect Derek Stepan to draw in with Teuvo Teravainen potentially re-joining the top six, making him a top streaming option.

Maple Leafs at Bruins (7 p.m. ET)

A Leafs win would give the Bruins their first consecutive loss of the season, right after the Kraken just served them with their first regulation loss on home ice. The Leafs won their previous matchup in Toronto, but they may be without Auston Matthews again. Since Pierre Engvall has no offense to give, Alex Kerfoot gets elevated to the second line with William Nylander back on the right wing. That will boost Kerfoot’s offensive upside even when he barely registers on the fantasy radar otherwise.

Craig Smith was waived earlier this season but skated on the top line with Jake DeBrusk injured. Smith’s offense has slipped, and playing on that line won’t change much, but David Krejci, David Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha are back together again, and that’s been a very good line for them all season. It also bumps Taylor Hall – you really can’t trust him in fantasy – down to the third line, and he has not scored a goal since Dec. 17.

Canucks at Panthers (7 p.m. ET)

There will be goals. The Canucks can’t defend, but they can’t score, and the Panthers have enough talent to score a few despite being generally awful all season. Look for Oliver Ekman-Larsson to step back into the lineup if Travis Dermott cannot play, having left the previous game due to injury. The veteran OEL was healthy scratched (!), but his impact has been negligible even when he has played.

This is a great opportunity for Panthers forwards, especially Anton Lundell, who is playing on the top line with Aleksander Barkov, and Sam Reinhart, who usually plays well against his hometown team. They weren't good last game, but this is a game where the over in the over/under should be getting hammered.

Coyotes at Wild (8 p.m. ET)

Barrett Hayton has scored in three straight games, which is great because it means he’s still not officially a bust. Dylan Guenther scored two points in their last game, so those two are some of the really under-the-radar options for the Coyotes. The Wild pretty much have a 100 percent healthy lineup – unheard of during this time of the season – and will be predictably difficult to stop on offense when Kirill Kaprizov is on the ice. They'll also likely be tough to beat in net. Top center Sam Steel – by name but not function – has 15 points in his past 20 games.

Sabres at Predators (8 p.m. ET)

Elden Ring is probably the only thing harder to beat than Juuse Saros on a hot streak. He’s allowed five goals on 140 shots (.964 SP) in his past three games and is 3-1-0/.952/2.01 in January. The Sabres, meanwhile, have lost three straight with only five goals scored. They either score in bunches or not at all, and this is a bit of a lull for a really streaky team. They’re operating a three-goalie rotation like the Canes, but obviously, the upside is much lower. However, this might be a good streaming play for either Craig Anderson or Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Eric Comrie needs to see more action before deciding if he’s worth starting in the second half of the season. He was fine in the first half, but Anderson has maintained a top level of play, and UPL is obviously the goalie of the future.

I can’t get enough of Juuso Parssinen, partially because it’s an interesting story but because he’s the top center with Filip Forsberg on his wing and playing on PP1. There’s some sneaky offensive upside, even if it comes in spurts – as it is now with a five-game point streak – making him a great streaming option in deep leagues. Parssinen could get more ice time, but the Preds spread out their ice time.

Kraken at Blackhawks (8 p.m. ET)

The Kraken are the hottest team in the NHL with a seven-game point streak and handing the Bruins a loss in their home barn. They can go 7-for-7 on their road trip with a win, which should be no problem. The Hawks are easily the worst fantasy team this season, offering few options on offense other than Patrick Kane, who is expected to return to the lineup. Alex Stalock, who is doing his best to keep the Blackhawks somewhat respectable, is dealing with an illness. If Petr Mrazek starts, the Kraken might set a franchise record for goals in a game.

Lightning at Blues (8 p.m. ET)

A clash between two recent Cup champions will be an interesting matchup. It’s the old guard with the Lightning against the next generation of the Blues led by Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou, both of whom are really gaining momentum as top-tier offensive options. Pavel Buchnevich has been a really effective third piece of that line, and also note Jake Neighbours is on a three-game point streak.

Oilers at Golden Knights (10 p.m. ET)

We’ll see how the Oilers’ more balanced lineup fares against the Knights, who have always had a pretty deep squad. We shall also see if the Oilers dare to start Jack Campbell for both back-to-back games after they destroyed the Sharks last night, 7-1. Backup Calvin Pickard allowed four goals on 13 shots in 22 minutes in his last NHL appearance.

Fantasy managers who have rostered or traded for Zach Hyman recently (like me) are flipping tables and kicking chairs when Jay Woodcroft took him off Connor McDavid’s line. Now it’s Dylan Holloway who’s getting all the press. Whoever plays on McDavid’s wing will get a ton of attention in fantasy.

Devils at Kings (10:30 p.m. ET)

It's a rematch of the 2012 Stanley Cup final, and there are only three holdovers from that series who are still playing today, and they all play for the Kings. Yup, it’s Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick. (Only four more remain in the league: Adam Henrique, Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez and, somehow, Jeff Carter). But the focus should be on the Kings’ younger core, with Gabe Vilardi on a hot streak again with five points in three games and Quinton Byfield’s top-line role.

The Devils will be a tough test for Pheonix Copley, who should be rostered in most standard leagues given his strong performances for the Kings. Cracks are slowly starting to show in his play, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Kings trade for some goalie help. There are good reasons to trade Copley in fantasy while his stock is sky-high and good reasons to hang on to him as the starter on the Pacific’s second-best team. But it’s probably just wise to bench Copley in this matchup as he faces one of the league’s best offensive teams. Jack Hughes is coming off his second three-point effort in three games. Linemate Erik Haula has five assists in six games for this reason.


Canadiens at Rangers (5 p.m. ET)

The Rangers have dominated this series in recent years, and note it’s an early start time for this game and the Canes game. Chris Kreider did not play Thursday, and his status is questionable as of Friday night. Also, note the Rangers claimed Jake Leschyshyn off waivers from Vegas on Wednesday. Kreider’s and Julien Gauthier’s injuries might lead to Leschyshyn’s Rangers debut. Unfortunately, he is one of the few players in the league with zero fantasy value.

Canucks at Hurricanes (5 p.m. ET)

Both teams are playing back-to-back, but the Canucks are at a huge disadvantage in this one. It’ll be a 2 p.m. start time for the Canucks based on their home time zone, not to mention travel from Florida following their Saturday night game.

Coyotes at Jets (7 p.m. ET)

The Jets seem like a well-oiled machine, and the Coyotes should be no match. Like most things, the 2.0 version of the Jets has been much better than the first iteration, winning all but three of their 11 matchups in the past five years. 


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