Welcome to the fantasy hockey stock market. Each week we will look at three players trending up and three players trending down.
Ryan McDonagh – D – Rangers – 2 Goals, 22 Assists, 73 Shots, 45 Games
With Kevin Shattenkirk out long-term we will see McDonagh back on the top power play unit for the Rangers. This is the role he filled last season when he piled up 42 points with a career high 15 on the power play.
We have already seen the fruits of this as McDonagh scored his first two goals of the season in his last outing. Look for McDonagh’s production to continue trending upward in the second half with one caveat. All bets are off if the rumours of a Rangers fire sale prove true. The team could be gutted, or McDonagh himself could be traded somewhere he’d be third or fourth in line for power play time.
Rasmus Ristolainen – D – Sabres – 10 Goals, 19 Assists, 92 Shots, 37 Games
It took the Sabres three months to figure out their power play under Phil Housley, but they are finally back on track scoring on 11 of their last 40 opportunities, good for a 27.5 per cent success rate that would be tops in the league. If you recall, the Sabres boasted the league’s top power play last season featuring all of the same players.
Ristolainen has particularly benefitted from this uptick scoring 13 points in the last 12 games with eight of those points coming with the man-advantage. Exactly half of Ristolainen’s 132 career points have come from power play scoring so he needs the Sabres to keep clicking. Should this past month prove an aberration Ristolainen will be back to waiver fodder, however if it continues he’ll be a game-changer for fantasy owners.
Kevin Labanc – W – Sharks – 5 Goals, 21 Assists, 82 Shots, 43 Games
The Sharks may be sunk without Joe Thornton, but his absence creates an opportunity for Labanc who is now the top playmaker in San Jose. Not that the sophomore can fill the future Hall-of-Famer’s shoes, but he’s the best they’ve got. Labanc is in for some big minutes on the top power play unit and has flashed chemistry with Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl on the second line. We already saw Labanc put up three assists in his last outing while skating a season high 18 minutes.
Mike Hoffman – W – Senators – 12 Goals, 18 Assists, 147 Shots, 47 Games
The Senators have been terrible since their trip to Sweden in November and only Mark Stone has been immune to their struggles. Hoffman has been particularly devastated with just six goals ad 14 points in 31 games since that trip across the pond. At this point, fantasy owners are begging for a trade to greener pastures.
Of course, as we have seen from Max Pacioretty, goal scorers this talented don’t stay quiet forever. Eventually, Hoffman will get it rolling again, but whether that’s in Ottawa or another city remains to be seen.
T.J. Oshie – RW – Capitals – 16 Goals, 20 Assists, 186 Shots, 46 Games
Oshie was a popular candidate to take a step backwards after posting a career high 33 goals while shooting over 23 per cent last season. That backwards step has come.
Oshie hasn’t scored a goal in over a month and has just five assists during that 13-game goal-less drought. He’ll score eventually, he’s too talented, takes too many shots, plays too many minutes and has too good of teammates not to. The question is, how many more will he score? What this cold streak suggests is that it is probably safer to consider Oshie a 20-goal/50-point guy than a 30-goal/60-point guy.
Jake Allen – G – Blues – 18 Wins, 16 Losses, 93 Goals Against, 36 Games
After a hot start, Allen’s inconsistencies have crept back in. Worse, the Blues have had a capable backup to turn to. Carter Hutton started five straight games before the All-Star break and put up some stellar numbers in the process. At some point this will move beyond simply “riding the hot hand”. There’s not even much of a controversy to be had. Hutton has simply been better.
Generally, a goaltender with Allen’s contract will be afforded every opportunity to win his starting gig back, but Allen has not yet put together a full season as a starter without any major hiccups. Last season the Blues simply had to ride out his inconsistent play because of a lack of alternatives. Now, Allen needs Hutton to stumble to get back into the mix.