Fantasy Hockey Week #13: 5 Duds and 5 Studs

I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and welcome back to week 13 of fantasy hockey’s 5 duds and 5 studs. The Montreal Canadiens are week 13’s team of the week. The Habs continue to roll, as they went 4-0 this past week while sweeping their five game road trip. The Habs relied on solid goaltending and some balanced depth throughout the line up. Max Pacioretty led the way offensively for the team, picking up three goal and an assist in four games. Carey Price was tremendous as well and we'll have more on him a little later.

Around the league, there were some other notable studs worth mentioning. Sid Crosby looks to be back on track after registering a six point week. Crosby had a whale of a game against the Lightning, picking up four assists. Crosby sits five points back of league leader Jakub Voracek and Voracek’s days at the top may be numbered. After a slow start to the season, Bobby Ryan seems to be picking up his play and Ryan was a true stud in week 13, picking up a hat-trick against the lowly Buffalo Sabres. Finally, two underrated players deserve some praise for their play this past week. Ondrej Palat is one of them. Palat is quietly enjoying great success on Tampa’s second line featuring Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and himself. The line, as of right now, has been the Bolts most consistent line all year long. Palat shined bright against the Sabres, picking up four points and, in the next game, Palat added to his hot streak picking up two assists against the Penguins, capping off an impressive seven point week for the young Lightning winger. The second underrated player worth mentioning is probably the least talked about number one center in the league, Bryan Little. The Jets top center has been quietly impressive this season, putting up 15 goals and 15 assists along with a +9 rating. Little is currently red hot, riding a six game point streak. Bryan had five points this past week and he was particularly tremendous in a 5-1 victory against the Leafs, as he picked up a goal and two assists in the victory.

Switching over to the goalies, a couple of goaltenders who didn’t make the studs or duds list this week deserve some recognition for different reasons. Jaroslav Halak continued his dominance, almost having another perfect week before finally getting beaten Sunday night against the Oilers. Halak has been a pure fantasy gem so far this season, going 21-7. Halak had picked up victories in seven consecutive starts before the loss. What a year it’s been for Halak and the Islanders thus far. On the other side of the spectrum, Tuukka Rask continues to struggle, picking up only 15 wins out of 32 starts this season. Rask had another tough week during week 13, going a mediocre 1-3. Rask has dropped eight out of his last 11 starts and fantasy owners of Rask are beginning to lose their patience with Boston’s number 1. Tuukka and the Bruins desperately need to turn around their season before it’s too late.

That’s a wrap for this week’s honorable mentions. Let’s now take a look at week 13’s 5 duds and 5 studs, enjoy.

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10 DUD: Jakub Voracek (1G, 1A, -3)

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Arguably the NHL’s best player so far this season, Voracek endured his most difficult week yet. In large part, Voracek’s lack of production was due to the fact that the team’s superstar, captain Claude Giroux, endured a leg injury and was out for the last game and a half. Voracek had his worst game of the season this past Monday against the Coyotes, as Jakub failed to make an impact on the score sheet and was a liability defensively picking up a -3 rating. Voracek has one goal in his last six games. It will be interesting to see how the young power forward reacts to his recent slump in the upcoming weeks.

9 STUD: Kevin Shattenkirk (2G, 4A, +3)

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With Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester struggling at the back end this season, Kevin Shattenkrk has taken it upon himself to carry the load offensively from the back end. Kevin has been an absolute rock at the back for the Blues so far this season, as Shattenkirk leads the team with 28 assists and sits only behind Vladimir Tarasenko for the team lead in points. Kevin currently leads all defensemen with 28 assists and is tied with Mark Giordano for the lead league for points from a d-man, with 35 in just 39 games. Shattenkirk has been a gem defensively as well, with a strong +17 rating second to only T.J. Brodie amongst defensemen. Big praise goes out to Shattenkirk and his season so far for the Blues.

8 DUD: Corey Perry (1G, 0A, -2)

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After getting off to a tremendous start, Corey Perry’s recent injuries have really hurt his production this season. Since returning during week 13, Perry got off to a slow start and his situation is understandable since his last game was December 5th. Perry failed to a register a point in his first two games back while picking up a -3 rating. No need to panic, as Perry is getting back into the swing of things and you should keep him as a starter every night without question.

7 STUD: Ryan Strome (1G, 6A, EVEN)

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What a week for the Islanders former 5th pick overall. A huge reason for the Islanders success this season is how much depth they have spread out on four lines. Ryan Strome has found some nice chemistry on the team's 3rd line, alongside Anders Lee and Frans Nielsen. New Years Eve was an unforgettable night for Strome, who picked up his first career four point night against the Jets, on the way to a 5-2 victory. Ryan is quietly having a brilliant first full season with the Islanders, picking up 28 points in 38 games. Congrats to Strome for a career week and we'll definitely be hearing more about this kid in the future.

6 DUD: Ryan Suter (0G, 0A, -2)

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After a strong finish to last season, the Wild are really struggling to gain any momentum so far this season. The Wild have only three wins in their last 10 and are slipping farther away from a playoff spot. Suter has been one of the big reasons for the team’s struggles as of late, as Ryan has only one goal in 35 games this season. On top of that, he has only been a plus player twice in his last 10 games. Expect management changes to take place if the Wild don’t pick it up in a hurry and week 14 will be crucial for Suter and the Wild.

5 STUD: Carey Price (3W, 0L, 1.33 GAA)

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Montreal’s success so far this season stems from their tremendous goaltending. Price had yet again another great week going 3-0. Carey has picked up five straight wins and has won eight out of his last nine starts. Carey’s 22-9 record ranks him second in the league for most wins, only three back of Pekka Rinne. To put into perspective how good Price has been, the Canadiens goaltender hasn’t allowed more than two goals in his last nine starts which is simply brilliant. This may be the season Price finally lands the Vezina as the league’s top goalie.

4 DUD: Steve Mason (0W, 4L, 2.97 GAA)

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After resurrecting his career last season, it seems like Mason is back to his old ways and losing games on a consistent basis. Mason dropped all four starts this week and in addition, Steve has dropped his last six starts and has only two wins in his last 10. Despite his poor play, there is reason to believe the Flyers can turn things around and go on a run of their own, but patience is wearing thin with fantasy owners of Mason. My advice, if Mason doesn’t begin to pick things up during week 14, it may be time to let him go and look elsewhere.

3 STUD LINE OF THE WEEK: Alex Steen, David Backes & T.J. Oshie (7G, 10A, +6)

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What a week for this line, particularly Oshie and Steen, who tore it up for the Blues this week. The Blues were in desperate need of some scoring depth after seeing Tarasenko carry most of the load offensively during the first half of the season. The line of T.J. Oshie, Alex Steen and David Backes stepped up big time against the Sharks Saturday night. Oshie picked up a hat-trick along with an assist, while Alex Steen had himself a pretty good night as well, picking up a goal along with three assists. Oshie is now in the midst of a three game goal streak and this is the Oshie we expected at the beginning of the season. He’s hot now, so ride him as much as you can.

2 DUD: Patrick Marleau (0G, 0A, -3)

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After a strong start to the season, Marleau has hit a wall offensively for the Sharks. Marleau is in the midst of a horrible pointless drought, failing to pick up a point in his last nine games. In addition, Marleau is -5 on the season, 5th worst amongst his teammates. My advice, a veteran like Marleau will pull out of his recent slump sooner rather than later and with Thornton injured, Marleau will take on more responsibilities offensively. Don’t make any drastic decisions like dropping the guy, as you will surely regret it.

1 STUD: Jaromir Jagr (4G, 1A, +3)

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After picking up a hat-trick at the age of 42, how can this guy not be the number one stud of the week? Jagr set a record this week, becoming the oldest player in NHL history to record a hat-trick just a month shy of 43 years old. Jagr claims he can play till 50 and after seeing what he can still do on a nightly basis, I really don’t doubt this at all. Almost 43, Jagr leads his team in assists with 16 and points with 25. I don’t think this will be the final season we see Jagr and there's already speculation rising about where Jagr will end up at the deadline. It will be interesting to see how things work out for number 68 and if he will in fact compete for the Cup on a different team this season.

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