NHL Fantasy Hockey: Week 7 Preview

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price

Two-Game Teams

Dallas, Ottawa

If there was a team that could use a light week, it’s Ottawa. I say that because G Craig Anderson is on the road to recovery. In Dallas, a light week could be useful for Lehtonen, who recently returned from a groin injury. With so much up in the air in net and no viable superstars up front, I would hesitate to start anyone from these two-game teams.

Three-Game Teams

Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Minnesota, Nashville, Vancouver

Of these seven teams, only Nashville (vs. EDM, vs. MIN) and Vancouver (@CBJ, @MIN) play back-to-backs. With the goaltending situation in Vancouver the way it is, expect neither goalie to get all three starts. Boston’s first line is as good as any in hockey right now, so I have little worry starting any skater for the Bruins. With three road games and Thomas Vanek day-to-day, I worry about Buffalo this week. Goalie injuries being what they are you will probably have to start Ryan Miller, but you won’t like it. Calgary has San Jose at home and then a California road trip so beyond a handful of their top end players, expect some pain. Carolina just lost G Cam Ward for possibly the rest of the regular season, expect some plus/minus to stagnate or decline for their skaters. Minnesota visits Chicago before a home/away back-to-back with Nashville and Vancouver. Not a great spot for their players or goalies.

Four-Game Teams

Anaheim, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Montréal, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington, Winnipeg, 

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price during the second period of the Heritage Classic at McMahon Stadium Anne Marie Sorvin USA TODAY Sports

A great week for Anaheim up ahead with Phoenix twice, Calgary and a banged-up St. Louis. Start everyone you have from the Ducks. They are also the only four-game team that doesn’t play a back-to-back sometime this week. The historical Chicago team has a back-to-back with Minnesota and Colorado, followed by a visit to Denver and hosting Edmonton. Everyone from the Blackhawks starts this week too. Colorado might have the worst schedule this week with Chicago twice, Detroit and San Jose so address your lineup accordingly. Columbus has a home-and-home with Detroit at the end of the week with Edmonton and Vancouver coming in, so those of you hurting at goalie might want to stay away from either option in Blue Jacket land. Detroit might have the easiest schedule this week with Colorado and Edmonton coming in followed by that home-and-home with Columbus, so start everyone from the Red Wings. There are four road games ahead for Edmonton including a back-to-back with Detroit and Nashville, sandwiched by a visit to Columbus and Chicago. Obviously, all your Oilers stars are a must-start, but don’t expect a good plus/minus from any of them. This is probably the last call for Florida, with three division game this week. Don’t expect them to be up for the task. Los Angeles has four straight home  games, while Montréal and St. Louis play all four on the road. The Habs play four of the five Southeast Division teams (save Washington) while the Blues visit the Pacific Division. I would avoid the goaltending situation in St. Louis but I expect Carey Price to get all four starts for the Canadiens. The Islanders and Rangers have similar schedules in that they both play all three divisions this week including a home/away back-to-back situation and play each other as well. Henrik Lundqvist has been great for the Rangers lately, going 3-1-2 and averaging two goals against in his last six starts. Expect more of the same from him. You obviously start all your offensive players from both teams. Philadelphia has a tough stretch ahead (Rangers, Penguins, Bruins, Sabres), so while they’re scoring goals, I don’t anticipate that they’ll be able to stop them from going in their own net. Of their four games this week, each of Pittsburgh’s four opponents rank in the top-12 in goals-for in the NHL this year and have back-to-back road games against Toronto and the Islanders. Be wary of plus/minus and goaltending from the Penguins this week. This is a huge week for Washington. They have four games all against teams fighting for a playoff spot (ranked 9-15 in the East). If they have playoff aspirations, they should go at least 3-1 if not 4-0. Expect a big week for them. Finally, this is also a big week for Winnipeg. They face the Panthers twice (the worst team in the East who just lost José Theodore for possibly the season), plus Tampa Bay and New Jersey teams that are in huge slides (combined 0-7-1 in their last four games each, scoring less than two goals/game). With a clean sweep, they can put some distance between themselves and everyone else except Carolina and make it a two-horse race in the second half for the division title. Expect a big week from all the Jets players.

Five-Game Teams

New Jersey is the only five-game team out there this week. Start everyone from this team if you’ve got them (except, of course, Martin Brodeur).

Six Players I Like


Winnipeg Jets center Bryan Little
Winnipeg Jets center Bryan Little during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center Jets beat the Sabres 2 1 Kevin Hoffman USA TODAY Sports

Bryan Little (C/RW-WPG) – Surprisingly still available in a number of leagues, Little is centering the top line in Winnipeg with Wheeler and Ladd and is producing as a result. He has a goal and two assists in his last three games and is a staple of the first power-play unit. I would also expect him to start putting more pucks in the net, with his shooting percentage (8.1) currently residing well-below his career norm of 12.3%. With Winnipeg getting the lob-ball of schedules this week, look for him and the Jets let the good times roll.

Jaden Schwartz (C-STL) – With the injury bug hitting the Blues, rookie Jaden Schwartz is getting the minutes on the top forward line with Backes and Oshie. A guy talked about by Neil Parker of The Fake Hockey on my most recent podcast, he managed over 18 minutes of ice-time in his last game after never having cracked 14 minutes yet this year. While he’s still not getting the power-play minutes, he’s a great points-only play and is readily available in a lot of leagues.


Ty Barrie (D-COL) – With Erik Johnson just getting cleared for contact today, you might only get a couple games out of him. But until then, he’s playing top PP minutes with a pretty good unit and should still see power-play time once Johnson comes back. He’s a point-producing defenceman who is growing with the rest of the team at the same time so there are some pains (-3 rating being one of them), but the production will be there in the position he’s in. Enjoy it for probably the last time from him.

Jakub Kindl (D-DET) – Outside of Kronwall, there hasn’t been a whole lot to like on the back end for Detroit fantasy-wise this year. Kindl may be the exception. He was a point-producing defenceman in the OHL, was solid in the AHL and is now making his mark in the NHL. He’s getting the most PP minutes among Detroit defencemen not named Kronwall and has cracked 20 minutes twice in the last four games after doing so just once in his first 11. While he’s more of a deeper-league option, he’s someone to keep an eye on as he gets more comfortable (nine SOG in his last two games).


Jimmy Howard (G-DET) – He is someone I have never been high on, but if he is going to have a big week, this is probably it. With two home games against Colorado and Edmonton and a home-and-home with Columbus, Detroit should go 4-0 this week. While I doubt that Howard gets all the starts, probably three of them, they are all great spots and Howard should improve on his less-than-mediocre numbers he’s put up so far this year.

Braden Holtby (G-WSH) – What the what? I know. I wasn’t expecting this either. I had no faith in Holtby going into the season and he didn’t have a very good start. But he’s allowed just five goals in his last four games, including two impressive shutouts of Carolina and Winnipeg (in Winnipeg, nonetheless). With all four opponents this week in the bottom-half of the NHL in terms of goals-for, I look for Holtby to continue the trend.

Players I Don’t Like This Week


Jarome Iginla (RW-CGY) – A couple weeks after he was on my “players I like” list, he’s on the flipside of the coin. After the predictable slow start, Iginla has five goals in his last four games. While I expect him to keep racking goals, I don’t expect that to come this week. The Flames plays just three games and have Antti Niemi, Viktor Fasth and Jon Quick on their schedule. Fasth and Niemi are both Top 10 in goals against and save percentage and Jon Quick is finding his groove. I don’t expect a lot from Calgary this week and would hesitate with Iginla unless options were limited.

Phil Kessel (RW-TOR) – After struggling to start the season, Phil The Thrill is reverting back to that with just one goal and three assists in his last six games, sporting a (-6) rating over that stretch. There is a tough stretch of games ahead including a somehow-still relevant Senators/Bruins back-to-back. Without Joffrey Lupul there it seems like there’s no one that can play with Kessel and keep him on the scoresheet. Expect the struggles to continue, or restart, or whatever.


Brian Campbell (D-BUF) – While the production has been there this year (15 points) the plus/minus has not. He’s actually tied with (surprise, surprise) teammate Filip Kuba for the second-worst plus/minus in the league and it’s not going to get a whole lot better with José Theodore likely out for the rest of the year. With three win-streaking teams on the schedule, it’s not going to get a whole lot better up ahead. In a points-only league he’s still a must-start, but I would hesitate in rotisserie H2H formats.

Justin Schultz (D-EDM) – When the season is said and done, he will be in the running for the Calder trophy. But Edmonton has been on a slide lately, just 2-4-1 in their last seven and have scored more than two goals just once over that stretch. While he figures to be an integral part of the offence all year, four road games in a week including Detroit, Nashville and Chicago doesn’t inspire confidence in me.


Niklas Backstrom (G-MIN) – Only three games on the schedule for Minnesota this week, and three tough ones with Chicago and back-to-back road games with Nashville and Vancouver. With the likelihood of only two starts this week combined with none of them being a good spot, it could be a tough week for a goalie who has otherwise been stellar this year. His worst game of the year came against Vancouver nearly a month ago, so you could be relying on one good start at best. I can’t advocate that situation by any stretch.

Devan Dubnyk (G-EDM) – Dubnyk was on his was to facing a possible split-start situation by allowing 25 goals in eight games until back-up Nikolai Khabibulin was injured. Now the job is his but the Oilers have the aforementioned four road games this week. Dubnyk was not very good against most of the upcoming teams last year (goals against of 3.5 vs. CHI, 3.7 vs. DET and 2.5 vs. NSH) and I have concerns about his confidence now. Injuries dictate a lot this year, but if it’s avoidable I would leave him on the bench.

Well that’s all for this week. As always you can reach me on Twitter for your specific questions. Remember, there’s only four weeks left in most H2H leagues, so if you are on the outside of playoffs looking in, you have to constantly be looking to improve your team. The stagnate team usually gets left out.

author avatar
Michael Clifford
Michael Clifford was born and raised in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada and is a graduate of the Unviersity of New Brunswick. He writes about fantasy hockey and baseball for XNSports and FantasyTrade411.com. He can be reached on Twitter @SlimCliffy for any fantasy hockey questions. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');