20 Fantasy Thoughts: Time to buy all things New York Islanders

Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders. (Dave Sandford/Getty)

Bitter that your favourite player wasn’t selected to be an All-Star?

Get in line.

In case you didn’t know, we’re just three weeks away from the big game in Sin City.

But there’s no way you haven’t heard. That’s because social media has been ablaze since the rosters were unveiled back on Thursday night.

There is, however, a silver lining to all the saltiness and consternation. It’s inspired yours truly to have a little fun and compile some fantasy All-Star teams.

Each squad consists of 11 players (six forwards, three defencemen, two goalies). They’re curated based on current fantasy ranking under standard categories.

For the purpose of this exercise, I did not feel obliged to include at least one player from each NHL team.


Atlantic Division
F – BOS Brad Marchand
F – FLA Jonathan Huberdeau
F – TBL Steven Stamkos
F – TOR Auston Matthews
F – TOR William Nylander
F – DET Tyler Bertuzzi
D – TBL Victor Hedman
D – FLA Aaron Ekblad
D – TOR Morgan Rielly
G – TOR Jack Campbell
G – TBL Andrei Vasilevskiy

Metro Division
F – WSH Alex Ovechkin
F – NYR Chris Kreider
F – WSH Evgeny Kuznetsov
F – NYR Artemi Panarin
F – CAR Sebastian Aho
F – PIT Jake Guentzel
D – NYR Adam Fox
D – PIT Kris Letang
D – CAR Anthony DeAngelo
G – NYR Igor Shesterkin
G – PIT Tristan Jarry

Central Division
F – COL Nazem Kadri
F – COL Gabriel Landeskog
F – STL Pavel Buchnevich
F – COL Mikko Rantanen
F – MIN Ryan Hartman
F – MIN Kirill Kaprizov
D – COL Cale Makar
D – NSH Roman Josi
D – COL Devon Toews
G – NSH Juuse Saros
G – WPG Connor Hellebuyck

Pacific Division
F – EDM Leon Draisaitl
F – EDM Connor McDavid
F – CGY Johnny Gaudreau
F – CGY Matthew Tkachuk
F – SJS Timo Meier
F – ANA Troy Terry
D – VAN Quinn Hughes
D – VGK Alex Pietrangelo
D – VGK Shea Theodore
G – CGY Jacob Markstrom
G – LAK Jonathan Quick

Obviously, some big names like Nathan MacKinnon and Sidney Crosby didn’t make the cut. Ultimately, injuries and missed games are the reason behind that. Don’t @ me.

1. Theoretically, it’s time to buy on all things New York Islanders. And to be fair, most of the reasoning behind that is strictly because they’ve played a league-low 30 games. Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee, Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov should be at the top of your wish list.

2. Additionally, keep close tabs on Noah Dobson and Oliver Wahlstrom. Before the Isles went dark, both were trending upwards towards must-own territory. We’ll see if they can heat up again.

3. Lastly, put Kiefer Bellows on your watch list. Quietly, the dual-eligible winger has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past nine outings.

4. Drop Jeremy Swayman, which is pretty self-explanatory. The 23-year-old was sent to the AHL following Boston’s signing of Tuukka Rask. He’s got a bright future.

5. If you can stomach rostering an inactive player for a couple days, grab Evander Kane. Assuming he signs somewhere this week, the power forward could prove to be a difference maker for your fantasy team.

6. Find a way to move on from Carter Hart. Simply put, the 23-year-old has zero help in front of him. After an initial boost following the coaching change, the Flyers have returned to mediocrity. They’ve lost seven in a row.

7. With that in mind, it could be a good time to execute a buy-low on Claude Giroux. By the day, it’s becoming more and more likely that the Flyers captain could be on the move between now and the trade deadline—assuming he’d like to, of course.

8. I’ve been banging the Tanner Jeannot for Calder drum all season long, but how about Florida’s Anton Lundell? The Finnish centre now has four goals and 10 points over the past nine games. Take a flier.

9. Some Jason Robertson/Ondrej Palat injury replacements: Clayton Keller, Alex Kerfoot and Max Comtois.

10. Grab Adrian Kempe. The Kings forward, who was just named to his first All-Star Game, has five goals in his past eight outings. Kempe’s creeping towards must-own territory.

11. Trade for Tom Wilson. The Capitals winger, who snapped a seven-game goalless drought on Saturday afternoon, has just two points in the past 11 games. He’ll turn things around; the resume speaks for itself.

12. T.J. Oshie left Saturday’s game with an upper body issue and did not return. Patric Hornqvist, Robert Thomas and Alex Tuch can be of assistance in the interim.

13. Once he’s out of Covid protocol, have a look at blueliner Matt Grzelcyk. He’s racked up 11 points in the past 13 games for the red-hot Bruins. Boston is 8-1-0 in 2022.

14. Brian Dumoulin is another stealth blue line option right now. Eight of his 10 points on the season have come in the past 14 games.

15. Target MacKenzie Weegar and Brent Burns on the trade market. Weegar had four points on Saturday night, he has 10 points in the past nine games. Meantime, Burns has two goals and seven helpers in the past eight games. Think about it.

16. Regardless of his highly documented offensive struggles, I still believe in Elias Pettersson. He’s way too talented to not get going eventually.

The splits:

Under Bruce Boudreau – 12 GP: 2 G, 3 A, 5 P, +1, 18 SOG
Under Travis Green – 25 GP: 4 G, 8 A, 12 P, -6, 61 SOG


17. Cut ties with Phillipp Grubauer. It’s hard to believe the German was a Vezina finalist last season. He’s got no confidence right now and is pretty much losing his starting job to Chris Driedger. He’s struggled big-time.

Jake Oettinger, Braden Holtby, Vitek Vanecek and Cal Petersen are far better crease options.

18. It’s time to unpack this week’s schedule (Jan. 17 – 23):

Monday: 8 Games
Tuesday: 8 Games
Wednesday: 3 Games
Thursday: 9 Games
Friday: 8 Games
Saturday: 11 Games
Sunday: 5 Games

Total: 52 Games

19. In total, there are 13 four-game teams to target: ARI, BUF, COL, FLA, LAK, MTL, NSH, NYI, OTT, PHI, PIT, SEA, WPG.

Take a closer look at these two schedules:

Colorado Avalanche: Mon (MIN), Wed (@ANA), Thurs (@LAK), Sat (MTL)
Waiver Looks: Valeri Nichushkin, Pavel Francouz
SN Fantasy Pool: COL Goalies 3, Nazem Kadri 2

Florida Panthers: Tues (@CGY), Thurs (@EDM), Fri (@VAN), Sun (@SEA)
Waiver Looks: Anton Lundell, Patric Hornqvist
SN Fantasy Pool: Jonathan Huberdeau 3, Aaron Ekblad 2

20. Stay away from waiver adds in Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Vegas. Each team plays just twice.

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