Frozen Fantasy: Time to Refocus

Frozen Fantasy: Time to Refocus

This article is part of our Frozen Fantasy series.

Remember my big trade? The one that everyone thought I stole?

Not so fast.

It you don't remember it, I'll recap it here. I got Sidney Crosby, Brad Marchand, Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan Ellis for first-round minor pick in 2022, Cole Caufield, Philip Tomasino and Brandt Clarke. Still sounds like I won?

Again. Not so fast.

Right after the trade, I quickly jumped into third. Today? I am down in eighth, two spots from postseason eligibility, and I have a sorry .483 winning percentage. I haven't won a week since the last full one in November.

Gulp. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit disheartened.

COVID-19 and PPD have hung like anchors on my team. It would be easy to be one of "those managers". You know, the kind that aren't tanking, but simply ignore their teams once adversity hits.

Not me. It ain't over until it's over. It's been a rough six weeks, but I refuse to give in.

Sure, I need a little luck with the teams right in front of me. But if I can get into the playoffs, I think I can make some noise.

After all, my top-9 forwards are Kirill Kaprizov, Mitch Marner, Sidney Crosby, Brad Marchand, Anze Kopitar, Trevor Zegras, Gabriel Landeskog, J.T. Miller, and Nicklas Backstrom. On a team that ices 12. My D is decent enough, while Jacob Markstrom, Elvis Merzlikins and Ilya Samsonov

Remember my big trade? The one that everyone thought I stole?

Not so fast.

It you don't remember it, I'll recap it here. I got Sidney Crosby, Brad Marchand, Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan Ellis for first-round minor pick in 2022, Cole Caufield, Philip Tomasino and Brandt Clarke. Still sounds like I won?

Again. Not so fast.

Right after the trade, I quickly jumped into third. Today? I am down in eighth, two spots from postseason eligibility, and I have a sorry .483 winning percentage. I haven't won a week since the last full one in November.

Gulp. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit disheartened.

COVID-19 and PPD have hung like anchors on my team. It would be easy to be one of "those managers". You know, the kind that aren't tanking, but simply ignore their teams once adversity hits.

Not me. It ain't over until it's over. It's been a rough six weeks, but I refuse to give in.

Sure, I need a little luck with the teams right in front of me. But if I can get into the playoffs, I think I can make some noise.

After all, my top-9 forwards are Kirill Kaprizov, Mitch Marner, Sidney Crosby, Brad Marchand, Anze Kopitar, Trevor Zegras, Gabriel Landeskog, J.T. Miller, and Nicklas Backstrom. On a team that ices 12. My D is decent enough, while Jacob Markstrom, Elvis Merzlikins and Ilya Samsonov protect my net.

Sweet load. I know! So time to change my goal and refocus. Just get into the postseason and then make some real noise.

I like my chances if I can. So, look out boys – here I come.

Now let's take a look at who caught my eye this week.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel, LW/RW, Colorado (15 percent Yahoo!) – Desperate times call for desperate moves. I dumped the talented, but stuck in quicksand Nick Schmaltz for Aube-Kubel this week. AK had a three-game, five-point streak snapped Friday night, but the 25-year-old is still flying on a powerful, hard-nosed third line in Mile High City. Aube-Kubel laid 25 hits in his last six games (heading into Saturday night) and that was just what I needed. Take a look if you need that too.

Dustin Brown, RW, Los Angeles (9 percent Yahoo!) – Short-term pickup alert! Brown came off a six-game break due to PPDs and COVID-19 protocols, and put that rest to work with five points (two goals, three assists) on 12 SOG in his last four games heading into Saturday. And added eight hits. Brown has 1,266 hard-hitting games of mileage on his 37-year-old body, so wear-and-tear is real. Use him while he's rested and then pick up someone else.

Michael Bunting, RW, Toronto (15 percent Yahoo!)Zach Hyman who? Bunting has proven more than capable of filling the industrious Hyman's skates beside Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. And at a much better price point. He rode into Saturday's action on a three-game, three-assist streak with five each of SOG and hits, and got an early goal. Toronto's offense is elite, so the top-six (and more) should be on rosters everywhere.

Ryan Getzlaf, C, Anaheim (40 percent Yahoo!) – Need faceoff wins? Look no further. Getzlaf's beard is grey, but his hands aren't. And the guy's smarts always put him in the right place. So you'll get a few points and a lot of dot domination – he had a couple assists and a whopping 33 FW in three games heading into Saturday. That's like a shot of adrenaline for that category without sacrificing scoring.

Nico Hischier, C, New Jersey (26 percent Yahoo!) – There are days I just don't understand some roster trends. This week, I watched Hischier's roster percentage gently drop. What's he done since the holiday PPD break? In six games, Hischier has four goals, two assists and a whopping 71 FW – the youngster is damn good at the dot. He also put up 20 shots and six blocks, and a couple of his points came on the PP. Sure, center is deep, but Hischier's roster percentage shouldn't be dropping. Who cares – their loss can now be your gain.

Joonas Korpisalo, G, Columbus (9 percent Yahoo!) – Korpisalo is on the last year of a $2.8 mil per season contract and more talented than other backups around the league. He'll either get traded or walk as an UFA, and we both know there are teams in need of goaltending. I'm looking at you, Edmonton (among others). Korpisalo has played more of late, but his overall numbers aren't great. This is a pickup now for future potential. The Jackets won't let him walk for nothing if there's any market, and a change of scenery might be all it takes for him to deliver better totals.  

Trevor Moore, LW/RW, Los Angeles (4 percent Yahoo!) – Moore has played like a man possessed since games started after the holiday PPD period with 10 points, including three goals, in seven games. And added category coverage with 23 shots, 11 hits and eight blocks. This torrid pace won't continue – Moore only has 16 points on the season and that's over 37 games. But hot is hot, and so many fantasy managers are missing out on this run. Moore is riding a three-game, five-point streak heading into Seattle on Saturday night. And looks like a natural on the Kings' second line. He's already helping one of my squads.

Riley Stillman, D, Chicago (1 percent Yahoo!) – Cory's kid isn't an offensive player like his dad, but the young man is doing well in his own right thus far in his career. Stillman is riding a career-high four-game scoring streak (one goal, four assists) heading into Saturday – that matches teammate Seth Jones' team-best streak. And his on-ice aggressiveness is shining through, with nine hits and five blocks on this same streak. Stillman is a good under-the-radar pickup for category coverage.

Urho Vaakanainen, D, Boston (0 percent Yahoo!) – Vaakanainen was drafted as a minute-munching NHL puck mover, but no one thought he'd deliver much offense. And maybe he won't long term. But right now, he has four assists in five games this season, plus five hits, four blocks and a plus-6 rating. There's plenty of room in fantasy for a defender who can quietly cover categories and pick up a few points. I nabbed Vaakanainen in one league to give me roster flexibility and depth. He's solid, not sexy. And solid never goes out of style.

Back to refocusing.

I don't just talk about waiver pickups – I make them, and I do it from this list. If they weren't good enough for me, then why the heck would you even bother?

Trevor Moore is going to help me make up ground in the league with my big nine. And Urho Vaakanainen is helping backfill an IR'd Damon Severson in the same league.

I have Korpisalo and Getzlaf in my big home league and they are both contributing. I used Aube-Kubel for a bit – enough to take advantage of that streak.

And I'm still trying to figure out which one of my teams can absorb Stillman.

Do not give in, even if COVID-19 hits you as hard as it hit me. Change your goal. And sharpen your focus.

Remember – those early PPDs have to be made up at some point, so games in hand will definitely come in handy. Really handy.

Until next week.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Janet Eagleson
Janet Eagleson is a seven-time Finalist and four-time winner of the Hockey Writer of the Year award from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. She is a lifelong Toronto Maple Leafs fan, loved the OHL London Knights when they were bad and cheers loudly for the Blackhawks, too. But her top passion? The World Junior Hockey Championships each and every year.
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