Week 16 was a long one in fantasy hockey with the all-star break creating a double week in most leagues. Now, back to a stable schedule in Week 17, three Canadian teams are atop the man-game leading teams with the Edmonton Oilers headlining the list.
The Oilers fired head coach Dave Tippet after they dropped their second straight game after the all-star break. They promoted Jay Woodcroft from AHL Bakersfield as the new head coach, and the team responded with a solid victory over the New York Islanders last night. A weaker opponent, yes, but still a huge step in the right direction for an Oilers squad that has lost its way over the past couple months. I even stopped choosing Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in Tim Hortons‘ pick’em pool. Now, it’s time to jump back onto the Oilers’ wagon and pick up some of their depth forwards.
With five games this coming week, the Oilers are the clear favourite team in terms of man games and could be in for a nice bump from their new coach as well.
Joining them are fellow Canadian teams the Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets, both with four games next week. Here are our top pickups for Week 17.
1. Kailer Yamamoto – RW – Edmonton Oilers – 6% Rostered
The Oilers have settled into a nice rotation of top-six forwards since they decided to sign Evander Kane. Yamamoto, who had success alongside Draisaitl in the past, is now back on Draisaitl’s wing with Kane on the other side. This line has incredible scoring potential for the Oilers and since McDavid is on his own line, the Draisaitl line doesn’t have to face the stiffest defensive competition.
Yamamoto doesn’t have the counting stats to be relevant yet, but with the potentially new life the Oilers will have with a new coach plus the five game slate, he’s a solid flier to add. At just 6% rostered in Yahoo! leagues, he’s almost surely available in your league.
Another Oiler to consider is Jesse Puljujarvi. He’s only 34% owned after a rough stretch, but alongside McDavid and Zach Hyman, Puljujarvi is another player definitely worth adding with the Oilers’ schedule this upcoming week.
2. Matt Boldy – LW – Edmonton Oilers – 23% Rostered
The Minnesota Wild are a legitimately good team. They don’t have the big name forwards like some of their other Central Division competition outside of Kirill Kaprizov, but Matt Boldy is a rookie that is showing he belongs in the NHL and isn’t going anywhere.
Boldy has 10 points in 11 games this season, is currently slotted on the second line with Kevin Fiala on the other wing, and is on the flank of the first power play unit. Getting an offense first player who plays PP1 at this stage of the season is a rarity, and Boldy isn’t just some fringe player filling in for someone who got hurt. He’s a really good player and will probably be on PP1 for the rest of the season.
He puts up a ton of shots, throws a few hits and adds a block every once in a while as well. He’s 23% rostered right now but that will not last. He’s a good pickup for Week 17 with Minnesota having four games on the calendar, but he’s a good pickup for the rest of the season.
3. Alex Tuch – RW – Buffalo Sabres – 35% Rostered
The Buffalo Sabres are generally a team you stay away from in fantasy, but this year they have some really interesting pieces. Among them is newly acquired winger Alex Tuch. We’ve been beating the Tuch drum for a while now, and he’s done nothing but make himself even more fantasy relevant each week.
He has 14 points in 14 games this season, 44 shots, 16 hits, and 12 blocks. There are very few forwards that fill the stat sheet like Tuch does. He’s on the top line and top power play for the Sabres and unless your league counts plus minus, Tuch should be owned. Pick him up before someone else does. He’s 35% rostered, but that definitely won’t last.
Ahead of tonight’s Flames contest, the bookies have predicted the Flames as the heavy favourite, with Betway Sports pricing the Flames at -125 and the Islanders at +230 to win the game in regulation, with an overtime decision being priced at +330.