Fantasy Hockey Week #8: 5 Studs and 5 Duds

Week 8 is officially completed and the week was wrapped up with a win from our team of the week, the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings surged offensively this week, scoring 19 goals in four games and picking up four victories along the way. Henrik Zetterberg bounced back quite nicely from his dud status last week, leading the way for the Wings this week with six points in four games. Pavel Datsyuk was also brilliant after coming back from injury, picking up four goals in three games. Also coming back from injury was Stephen Weiss, who finally got some games in for the Wings after playing in only 26 games last year. Weiss contributed nicely in his return, picking up five points in four games. Finally, Jimmy Howard continued his fine form by going 3-0 on the week. Howard has won four out his last five starts and has been the biggest reason for the Wings success so far this season.

Sticking with the goaltenders, there has been no greater stud so far this season than Pekka Rinne. The Nashville goaltender leads the league in wins with 14 and owns the league’s best save percentage at a .933 (for goalies who have started more than 10 games). Rinne is on fire, winning his last six starts and losing only once in his last 10 starts, which is truly remarkable. Rinne’s excellent play has lead the Preds to first in the league so far this season, so if you picked this guy in your pool, what a steal he is turning out to be. Corey Crawford is another goalie who is coming on as of late. Crawford won all three starts during week 8 while also winning eight of his last 10 starts.

Two other goalies didn’t share the same success this past week, Frederik Andersen had a couple of forgettable starts against the Hawks and Sharks. Andersen was pulled against the Sharks after letting in five goals on just 19 shots. The Ducks goaltender has cooled quite a bit as of late, picking up just four wins in his last 10 starts. Braden Holtby is another goalie in dud-like form as of late, Holtby was abysmal against the Leafs Saturday night, after letting in three goals on just 12 shots. The Caps goalie has dropped three of his last four decisions. Look for the two goaltenders to pick up their play in week 9.

Finally, two veterans in the league had opposite weeks during week 8. Alex Tanguay enjoyed great success during week 8, with the Avalanche veteran put up 4 points in 2 games. The 35 year old veteran has been one of Colorado’s best players this season, leading the team in goals with eight. The veteran has been a nice stud for the team so far this season. Patrik Elias hasn’t had the same luck as Tanguay and the New Jersey veteran had a real tough week, failing to earn a point while picking up a brutal - 6 rating in three games. Elias has two goals in 24 games so far this season, while posting a rough minus 12 rating. Look for the 38 year old winger to be possible trade bait during the trade deadline, if the Devils remain out of contention.

That’s a wrap for our honorable studs and duds for the week, let us now see who the top 5 studs and top 5 duds are for week 8 in the NHL, enjoy.

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10 STUD: Patrick Kane (2G, 3A, +5)

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Ladies and gentlemen, the Chicago Blackhawks are back and in a big way. The Hawks outscored the opposition 11-4 in week 8, while going 3-0. In addition , Chicago has won eight out of their last 10. During week 8, Patrick Kane led the way offensively for the Hawks, picking up five points in three games. After a slow start to the season, Kane is really starting to find some chemistry on the Hawks second line with Kris Versteeg and Brad Richards. Kane has been a big stud in his last seven games picking up 12 points, and you should ride this guy every night without asking questions.

9 DUD: Jonathan Drouin (0G, 0A, EVEN)

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

After scoring a goal during his NHL debut, fantasy teams got really excited when thinking about what a prospect Drouin may turn out to be for their fantasy team. Unfortunately, Drouin has left fantasy teams in a sticky situation by not scoring a goal since his first game, 16 games ago! In addition, Drouin was a healthy scratch against the Capitals this past Wednesday. The Lightning are being really cautious with Drouin so far and don’t want to rush things for the young player. It may be time to either drop Drouin or keep him as a bench player till the rookie finds his groove in the NHL.

8 STUD: Karri Ramo (2W, 0L, 0.00 GAA)

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After dropping three straight starts in the month of October, Karri Ramo lost more starts to Jonas Hiller. Since losing those three games in a row, Ramo has won his last four starts, while picking up two shutouts in week 8 against the Coyotes and Sharks. Ramo’s position as the teams number one is still in doubt, but the Flames goaltender has been red hot (no pun attended) as of late. Ramo could  turn out to be a strong bench goaltender for your fantasy team, and if he's still available, Karri is an interesting pick up.

7 DUD: Jason Spezza (0G, 1A, -2)

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The transition for Spezza hasn’t been as smooth as many people thought it would be. Jason enjoyed some success with the Stars on a top line with Benn and Seguin, but since being removed from that top unit, Spezza has failed to find consistency and has failed to create second line scoring depth for the Stars. Spezza was brought into Dallas so that the Stars would have a solid 1-2 punch down the middle, but that hasn’t been the case so far, especially with Spezza scoring only twice in his last nine games. The transition is taking a little longer than expected in Dallas, but stay patient fantasy owners, as Spezza is due sooner or later.

6 STUD: Jiri Hudler (4G, 2A, +3)

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With injuries piling up in Calgary, Hudler has turned up the heat, leading the way for the Flames offensively. Hudler leads the team with 11 goals and sits behind Mark Giordano for the team lead in points with 23. The veteran has picked a good time to heat up, racking up goals in four straight games, Hudler has also scored in five of his last six games. Jiri has enjoyed some great chemistry on a line with the talented Johnny Gaudreau and Josh Jooris. Major praise goes to the Flames veteran for a tremendous week.

5 DUD: Brent Burns (0G, 0A, -2)

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Despite starting off the season in fine form, the converted Sharks defensemen has cooled off quite a bit recently. Burns currently has only one goal in his last 10 games, but Burns has also struggled defensively, putting up a team worse -9 rating. The Sharks defenseman has had only one game in his last 10 where he was a plus player, so the Sharks while hope Burns can improve in his own end in the next upcoming games.

4 STUD LINE OF THE WEEK: Alex Killorn, Steven Stamkos & Ryan Callahan (5G, 7A, +6)

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The Lightning moved around some pieces to create some serious depth at the center position, and while doing so, the Bolts have enjoyed tremendous success by matching Stamkos on a top line with Ryan Callahan. The top line for the Lightning accounted for half of the teams goals in week 8 and Callahan is benefiting greatly from the change, picking up six points in his last three games. Killorn has also been in great form as of late, scoring goals in five out his last six games. This line juggling has been very successful for the Lightning, so major stud praises go out to this top line and Jon Cooper for making these changes.

3 Mike Smith (0W, 1L, 3.79 GAA)

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

One thing fantasy teams expected out of Smith when drafting him was seeing the goaltender get lots of starts, having started in 61 games last season. So far this season, this has not been the case due to Smith’s poor start. Smith has unbelievably dropped his last seven starts and his last victory came against the Islanders on November 7th, almost a month ago. Devan Dubnyk has benefited from Smith’s poor play, going 5-1-1 so far this season. Patience may be growing thin on fantasy teams that own Mike Smith and week 9 will be crucial for the goaltender to get back on track. Dropping Smith may be a viable option if this next week doesn’t improve for the Coyotes goalie.

2 STUDS: Sidney Crosby & Evgeni Malkin (4G, 9A, +4)

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What a week for the Penguins' two headed monster. After a slow couple of weeks, Sid the Kid is back, collecting seven points in week 8. With his strong play this week, Crosby rocketed back up on top of the leaderboards with 33 points. Malkin is in great form as well, picking up six points this past week. Malkin has found some nice chemistry on a new line with Chris Kunitz and Blake Comeau. Comeau benefited nicely from being moved onto the second line with Malkin, picking up a hat-trick in a win against the Leafs. Like Sid, Malkin is climbing up the NHL leaderboards with 29 points, Malkin currently sits fourth in league points and is just four behind Sid for the league lead.

1 DUDS: Tanner Pearson, Jeff Carter & Tyler Toffoli (1G, 1A, -5)

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The league’s hottest line in the month of October has hit a bit of a rough patch during November. Carter has struggled as of late, picking up one point in his last five games. His linemates also haven’t fared too well. Toffoli, who was scoring at will to start the season, has scored once in his last six games, while Pearson has also struggled scoring, with only three points in his last ten. In an effort to ignite the players, coach Sutter split them up, placing Toffoli on a line with Kopitar and added Trevor Lewis to the second line with Pearson and Carter. Look for this rough patch to be short lived, as these players have a real connection together. This line can turn back into studs very quickly.

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