Fantasy Hockey Advice Opening-month bargains are out there
Take a look at your league’s free-agent pool and the backend of rivals’ lineup and you will discover under-valued players who can provide second-tier scoring and goaltending. To find this season’s overlooked bounty, take this advice and mine the roster of the resurgent Detroit Red Wings.
The Red Wings did not garner much (if any) preseason attention and were selected by several online pundits to miss the Stanley Cup playoffs for a second consecutive spring. Except for speedster Dylan Larkin, a majority of the players likely were overlooked in recent drafts.
If a member of your team suffers an October injury or looks like he’s still on summer vacation, there are a number of hungry Wings able to provide quality depth.
Outside of true Detroit fans
Anthony Mantha likely is still available. The 2013 first-round draft pick is learning to compete with a consistent edge and is driving hard to the net, recording two three-point efforts in the Wings’ opening five matches. He is a true top-6 talent.
Gustav Nyquist, who scored 55 goals in his first two regular seasons but combined to register just 29 the past two, also could be an easy get. The right winger went scoreless in his first four starts before breaking through with two goals at Vegas last Friday.
Martin Frk, a rookie with a laser shot, has earned a role on the power play and spent time on a line with Larkin and Mantha. Larkin probably would need to be acquired via trade, but by claiming probable free agents Mantha and Frk and pulling off a deal, you could start the entire line, increasing the probability of netting multi-point goals.
Don’t be fooled by Tomas Tatar’s slow start. He again will contribute 25-plus goals. Justin Abdelkader, a 20-goal scorer three seasons ago, also could be an interesting pickup, but he would have to provide more PIMs, like the 120 spot he put up during 2014-15.
The goalies make this intriguing.
No. 1a Jimmy Howard was rated by a variety of websites at the bottom third of preseason starting goalies. Chances are the 12-year veteran with 202 career wins, through Sunday, could be landed as a free agent or “stolen” via trade. He is primed to return to elite status.
No. 1b Petr Mrazek is coming off a subpar season, but is still just 25 years old and entering his prime. Its unlikely many team owners afforded a roster spot for Mrazek, who earned his first win of the season Friday at expansion Vegas. Get him.
When healthy, Howard is a proven all-star. When focused, Mrazek can be all-world – and remains the Red Wings future starter. By possessing both Howard and Mrazek and a top-tier third goalie, you will quickly see goalie points accumulate.
The Red Wings last season failed to qualify for the postseason for the first time in 25 years. Many of the players suffered injuries and simply had off years during the final fling at The Joe. Now at a dazzling new place, don’t expect Larkin to compile a rating anywhere near last season’s mesmerizing minus-28 mark.
Forget what the preseason pundits predicted. The Red Wings are still a few years from contending for a Stanley Cup, but their core could give your team an early push now. Check out the Pro Lineup Builder for all the inside Daily Fantasy Hockey advice.