Oilers Fantasy Hockey Forecast - 12/21/2010
Whitney, Khabibulin & Hall are highlighted with holiday discounts
Three players in particular have been outstanding for the Oilers this season, and the on-ice value has translated to tremendous success off the ice as well. Of course, I’m referring to Oilers Fantasy Hockey. These players have provided the points and reliability to help establish a solid foundation on your Fantasy roster.
Perhaps even more importantly, these players seem to be improving on a daily basis, as we’re left wondering where the ceiling might be. At the moment, there doesn’t appear to be one.
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The one drawback to this trio as that they all come at a cost. Naturally, skill and results will translate to that. But with only a few days until Christmas, and in the spirit of giving, that will change as we head into a new week of action. All three of our highlighted players will come at a reduced cost to help fill your lineup with more talent and offensive results.
RYAN WHITNEY ($4M > $3M)
For defenceman Ryan Whitney, chemistry with his partners is typically derived from a robust skill-set and intelligence to recognize the ability and deficiencies of his partner.
Due to his calming influence and high skill level, other defenceman have been paired with Whitney to help concoct a balance of talent across the board. It has worked well, as the blueliner’s production remains on an upward curve regardless of his partner's experience or ability.
Although the veteran defenceman is still searching for his first goal of the season, Whitney still leads the team in points with an incredible total of 24 assists. While his offensive game is clearly thriving, Whitney’s all-encompassing value translates to success elsewhere as well. Blocked shots, ice-time, a team-leading plus-12 rating and more have made Whitney the most valuable player available.
Excluding Whitney from your game-night lineup likely wouldn’t have been a wise decision before, but it was understandable considering the make-up of the game. With only $20 million to spend, you need to do so wisely and fill holes to contribute in other areas.
With a salary reduction to $3 million for the upcoming week, I suggest Whitney becomes a lock in what could likely become a crowded roster.
NIKOLAI KHABIBULIN ($4M > $3M)
Of late, goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin has played some excellent hockey for the Oilers. With a 3-1-1 record highlighting his recent five-game resume, the veteran netminder is turning some heads once again.
Devan Dubnyk will likely get some starts in the near future, but for the time-being, Khabibulin has secured the number one role and will be treated as such in the world of Oilers Fantasy Hockey.
In realizing that selecting a goaltender is mandatory for the game, Khabibulin’s salary reduction is more about creating space elsewhere. Discounts are available this week, so take advantage of the opportunity to include some extra bodies and help boost your point totals.
TAYLOR HALL ($4M > $3M)
Ironically, Edmonton’s dynamic young superstar has quietly made a surge up the standings while his on-ice production as been anything but tame. After some emotional and creative goals at home during the six-game homestand, Hall put a stamp on another solid performance against the Blue Jackets with a three-assist outing (48 on the Fantasy scale, which is a season-high for the rookie).
That outstanding performance rocketed him up the leaderboard as well, with a team-high 69 Fantasy points gained this week.
With ten goals on the season and an ever-increasing pace that has built confidence in the young man, Hall looks poised to continue his offensive outburst as the Oilers take their act on the road.
Regardless of his talent and recent production, Hall has always been a bit of a gamble in the world of Fantasy Hockey. With offensive and defensive statistics helping to make up the cumulative totals, Hall’s game was up-and-down early in the season. With a $4 million cap hit associated with his name due to rookie bonuses, Hall was often excluded in favour of a safer bet.
Times are changing, though. With a salary reduction to $3 million for the next week, you again have more flexibility to put together a lineup that features an incredible level of offensive talent and reliability.
As always, these salary adjustments will be made immediately following the conclusion of tonight’s game vs. San Jose. In addition, last week's highlighted players' salaries (Theo Peckham, Ladislav Smid and Magnus Paajarvi) will be reverted back to their standard cap-hit. Use the opportunity tonight as one final scouting report with the new costs in mind.
Considering the level of offensive ability at your disposal this week, the next ten days could be pivotal. Remember, at the end of the month we’ll be awarding two more prizes to our December winners. Take advantage of this opportunity and make a late-month charge toward Fantasy Hockey glory.
Good luck to everyone and Merry Christmas!
Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com