Fantasy Hockey Weekly Planner: April 1-7

by Daniel Dobish on March 29, 2013 @ 15:45:21 PDT


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Minnesota Wild

The Wild have been one of the hottest teams in the league, and it all goes back to goaltender Niklas Backstrom. He has won seven consecutive starts and lowered his goals against average (GAA) to 2.32. While he has allowed seven goals over the past two games, it is nice for fantasy owners that Backstrom has offensive support and doesn't have to be perfect to avoid losses.

Must start: Niklas Backstrom, Cal Clutterbuck (hits/blocked shots leagues), Matt Cullen, Dany Heatley, Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Devin Setoguchi, Ryan Suter

Montreal Canadiens

Center Max Pacioretty has failed to score a goal in five games dating back to his game-winning shot March 16, but he does have five helpers over his past four games. He remains a must-start option in all leagues. The Habs have three home games on the schedule, and we'll get a good idea what this team is made of when they host Boston Saturday, April 6.

Must start: Brian Gionta, Andrei Markov, Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec, Carey Price, P.K. Subban

New Jersey Devils

The Devils have gotten a nice jump start with goaltender Martin Brodeur returning from a month-long absence due to injury. He is 2-0-1 with just four goals allowed in his three appearances since coming back. The news isn't as good for right wing Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder), who is expected to miss at least two weeks with a right shoulder injury. He could be sidelined as much as a month, too, but is worth keeping on a roster in case he returns earlier.

Must start: Martin Brodeur, David Clarkson, Patrik Elias, Marek Zidlicky

New York Islanders

If left wing Matt Moulson and center John Tavares played on another team - even another team in the New York Metropolitan area - they would be household names. It's hard to believe that two guys fly so far under the radar in such a big market. Moulson trails Tavares by one point for the team lead, and each has performed at more than a point-per-game clip this season.

Must start: Brad Boyes, Travis Hamonic (hits/blocked shots leagues), Matt Martin (hits/blocked shots leagues), Andrew McDonald (hits/blocked shots leagues), Matt Moulson, Mark Streit (hits/blocked shots leagues), John Tavares

New York Rangers

The New York Daily News reports the Rangers are concerned that goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (head) has taken too many shots to the head in recent weeks, and they are keeping an eye on him for possible concussion symptoms. That makes him a risky play heading into the upcoming week. If you're a daily player, it's probably a good idea to add goaltender Martin Biron just for insurance.

Must start: Martin Biron (daily leagues), Michael del Zotto, Marian Gaborik, Carl Hagelin, Rick Nash, Brad Richards, Derek Stepan

St. Louis Blues

It is likely even die-hard fantasy players would fail if asked who leads the Blues in scoring. It is right wing Chris Stewart, who has been red hot for an extended period. While he is scoreless in his past three games, he still has eight goals with 16 points in 14 games during the month of March. Center Patrik Berglund has also picked up his play, lighting the lamp five times in the past 11 games to take the team lead with 15 markers.

Must start: Patrik Berglund, Jaroslav Halak, T.J. Oshie, David Perron, Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk, Alexander Steen, Chris Stewart

San Jose Sharks

Remember when left wing Patrick Marleau was lighting the world on fire with nine goals, 13 points and a plus-6 rating in his first five games this season? He has managed just seven goals with 11 points and an awful minus-10 rating in 28 games since Jan. 29. Ouch. He still leads the team in goals, but center Logan Couture has been a far more steady contributor, and he is just two goals behind for the team lead. Be careful with defenseman Dan Boyle, as he is another player who could be on the move.

Must start: Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau, Antti Niemi, Joe Thornton

Tampa Bay Lightning

There have been rumors the Lightning might deal diminutive right wing Martin St. Louis, but general manager Steve Yzerman said no. That is good news, and so is the fact that new bench boss Jon Cooper plans to employ a more wide-open offensive style. So if you own St. Louis or center Steven Stamkos, the coaching change is huge for you.

Must start: Cory Conacher, Vincent Lecavalier, Teddy Purcell, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos

Washington Capitals

Left wing Alex Ovechkin has been playing out of his mind lately, closing the team points lead of center Mike Ribeiro to just three. Ovie has managed six goals with 10 points and a plus-3 rating over his past six games, finally giving fantasy owners and fans what they want.

Must start: Nicklas Backstrom, Troy Brouwer, John Carlson (hits/blocked shots leagues), Braden Holtby, Alex Ovechkin, Mike Ribeiro

Winnipeg Jets

Left wing Evander Kane seems to be a very streaky player, but one thing is constant in his game: hits. Rarely do high-skill players dish out the blows, but he is in the top 10 in the NHL with 113 hits through 35 games. He and Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown are actually the only two skaters in the league with double-digit goal totals while also ranking in the top 20 in hits.

Must start: Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom, Ron Hainsey (hits/blocked shots leagues), Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, Blake Wheeler

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About Daniel Dobish

Daniel is a Hot Off the Wire Analyst who joined the KFFL staff in 2010. He is a veteran of the fantasy industry dating back to 1999, with stops at, The Sports Forecaster, and His work has also appeared on and Daniel was named the 2011 Fantasy Golf Writer of the Year, 2011 Fantasy Racing Writer of the Year, and he was nominated for the 2011 Fantasy Hockey Writer of the Year. Daniel lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.

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