After a rocky last couple weeks in the NHL and in fantasy hockey, the league is back up and running after its pause and fantasy matchups have started back up again. COVID has thrown some major wrenches into fantasy managers’ plans for the last few weeks, and that isn’t about to stop anytime soon.
The NHL has already announced a slew of postponements for next week, particularly involving games played in Canada. This has drastically altered the amount of man games played next week for many fantasy managers. In times like this picking up dependable streamer options is more important than ever.
Let’s take a look at some streaming options for Week 12 of the fantasy season, as well as some teams to avoid.
Dan Vladar G – Calgary Flames
Week 12 games: @FLA, @TBL, @CAR
Dan Vladar has been one of the surprise backup goalies across the entire NHL this season. Brought over to Calgary in the offseason with just five games of NHL experience, Vladar has been outstanding for the league’s best defensive team and has become a viable fantasy option.
So far this season, the 24-year-old has posted a 5–1–1 record along with a .928 save percentage and 2.10 GAA. He’s also helped Calgary lead the league in shutouts as he’s posted two in the six games he played.
Vladar has essentially only had one bad start all season, a 4–2 loss to San Jose back on December 7. Outside of that game, he’s posted a save percentage above .900 in four of his other five games. In his first start of the year he posted a .880 save percentage but still got the win and only allowed three goals.
With a back-to-back on the schedule Vladar is guaranteed to get at least one start next week. His results make it hard to bet against Vladar whenever he plays right now, even if the Flames do have some tough matchups next week. At just 15% owned he’d be an easy add in most leagues.
Casey DeSmith G – Pittsburgh Penguins
Week 12 games: vs. STL, @PHI, @DAL
Casey DeSmith has jumped onto fantasy radars as Penguins starter Tristan Jarry was placed on the COVID list earlier this week. With the Penguins playing three games next week including a back-to-back, DeSmith is guaranteed to get into at least one game if not more depending on Jarry’s status.
If Jarry were to remain out with COVID, DeSmith would very likely get two starts next week. Even better is the fact the Penguins have two easier matchups on the schedule as they face the 22nd ranked Flyers and 21st ranked Stars. Both the Flyers and Stars rank in the bottom half of the league for goals for.
DeSmith hasn’t been great this year, as he sits with a 2–3–1 record and .905 save percentage, however as a potential starter on the league’s 12th ranked team he brings some value regardless. He also won both of his two starts in December and allowed just one goal on a combined 62 shots.
At only 5% owned DeSmith is certainly worth taking a flyer on. He’s a lock for at least one start next week if not more. It’ll be worth monitoring the status of Jarry going into next week and if he continues to be out with COVID, DeSmith is a must add.
Milan Lucic LW – Calgary Flames
Week 12 games: @FLA, @TBL, @CAR
Never did I think I would be suggesting picking up Milan Lucic in fantasy would be a good idea, but here we are. So far this season Lucic has turned back the clock to a degree and has once again become fantasy relevant as a solid streamer option.
After putting up a combined 24 goals across the previous three seasons, Lucic already has eight on the year in just 29 games in 2021–22. At that pace he would produce 23 goals, his highest total since the 2016–17 season.
Lucic is providing some great category coverage as well as he’s averaging 2.76 hits and 1.3 shots per game. He’s also been bumped up to the Flames second line at times and is still logging time on the Flames’ second power play.
Lucic hasn’t risen to the elite category filler level he was in his prime of course, but as long as he keeps producing goals and points he’s a very useable as a streamer as he’ll always be a great source of hits.
Clayton Keller LW – Arizona Coyotes
Week 12 games: vs. WPG, vs. CHI, vs. NSH
Like Lucic, never would I have predicted recommending adding a player from the 2021–22 iteration of the Arizona Coyotes, but Clayton Keller has been too good recently to ignore. After being drafted around the 14th round in most leagues, Keller was promptly dropped by almost everyone after starting the season with just three goals and six points in his first 16 games.
However the skill was always there for Keller, it was just the circumstance bringing him down. After a tough start in which the Coyotes scored just 24 goals in their first 16 games, Keller has been on fire. He’s posted seven goals and 17 points in his last 14 games dating back to November 18th. He’s also producing around 2.7 shots per game.
Now finding some chemistry on the teams top line with Barrett Hayton and Nick Schmaltz, Keller looks set to continue to produce solid numbers for the rest of the season. For a player averaging a point per game over the past one and a half months, Keller is still owned in just 31% of Yahoo! league’s and is a must-add if he’s available.
Teams to avoid
Teams with two games
Carolina Hurricanes, Los Angeles Kings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets
Teams with one game
Buffalo Sabres, Seattle Kraken
Teams with no games
Montreal Canadiens, NY Islanders
Navigating the uncertainty of the NHL season
The NHL is going through a period of uncertainty, but fantasy hockey will push on. The managers keeping their fingers on the pulse of their leagues and on the NHL schedule will be the ones that come out on top, and with the plethora of postponements, it’s now more important than ever to optimize picking up and dropping players at the right moments.