Oilers Fantasy Hockey Forecast - 01/18/2011
Youthful exuberance & emphasis on even-strength play in this week's Forecast
With three losses highlighting the past week for the wrong reasons, the team’s inefficient power play has come to the forefront with the scarcity of offensive production being reflected on the Fantasy leaderboard. A current 0-for-37 stretch has meant that the Oilers’ offensive attack has come purely at even strength. Not only does this limit the different ways in which you can accumulate points, but the overall success of the team has taken a hit as well.
That being said, some of the most dominant performances of the season were showcased as a result of the goal-scoring discrepancy. Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky, in particular, stepped up in last Thursday’s win over the San Jose Sharks.
Hall recorded 51 points due to his pair of even strength goals, five shots on goal, and a strong plus-three rating. Hemsky, not to be outdone, collected an impressive 56 points on the back of his incredible season-high four-assist outing. The duo’s offensive prowess took control of the action, as no other Oiler came close to challenging for the top spot.
Although the Oilers’ most recent performances have been unable to inspire confidence in certain areas of the team’s game, past weeks that feature a losing record can often be an educational experience for the rest of us.
On this particular occasion, with the power play mired in a tremendous struggle, even-strength contributions become especially important. Hall and Hemsky proved as much with their successful outings in San Jose, while other unsung heroes were able to make their mark in the process; quietly, no doubt, but an impact nonetheless.
With that in mind, the theme of this week’s Forecast will be focused on a number of even-strength categories; areas that will help your lineup make the most of a game void of man-advantage success.
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No more than one hour following the completion of tonight’s game, the salaries of this week’s highlighted players will be amended, while last week’s players (Foster, Peckham and Gilbert) will be reverted back to their standard cap-hits.
Here are this week’s salary amendments:
LIAM REDDOX ($1M > $2M)
After narrowly missing out on making the opening day roster back in early October, Liam Reddox made the most of his assignment to the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons to help earn him another chance at the NHL level. Since being recalled on January 3, Reddox has brought the same effort and intensity that earned him a long look earlier in the season.
With an undeniable work ethic and desire to succeed, the feisty 24-year old has quickly established himself as one of the team’s most reliable players up front. In the past week, Reddox was able to produce double-digits in each game, and even come away with the highest point-total (31) against the Los Angeles Kings this past Saturday night.
What separates Reddox from other players in a similar situation is the aforementioned effort. An intense willingness to earn his ice in the trenches, combined with a touch of offensive flare has made Reddox one of the more dangerous players in a bottom six capacity.
In Saturday night’s tilt with the Kings, Reddox was able to dish out an impressive total of seven hits, in addition to one blocked shot and a plus-one rating. It was a tale of the underlying even-strength numbers that helped contribute to an impressive evening overall.
As a result of his strong performances and unheralded play, Reddox will receive a raise this week. Although the increase is minimal, his inclusion in your game-night lineup has become more of a decision. Choose wisely, as Reddox is on his way to becoming one of the game’s most valuable contributors.
JEFF PETRY ($1M > $2M)
Not to be outdone by the performance of fellow call-up Reddox, Jeff Petry has done an outstanding job since his recall on December 27. With the absences of Jim Vandermeer and Ryan Whitney on the blueline, Petry has been thrust up the depth chart as the team looks to develop a defensive gem.
Much like Reddox, Petry will be highlighted this week due to some incredible consistency and even-strength performances amidst a woeful stretch on the power play. With a 1-3-0 record also contributing to some disappointing results over the past week, the ability shown from the 23-year old is even more impressive.
Including Petry in your lineup would likely be a wise decision for a number of reasons. Not only is his even-strength play at a premium, but his offensive abilities will likely be a contributing factor to success on the power play when that area of Edmonton’s game gets sorted. Petry provides a delicate balance of power that will most definitely provide results as the Oilers open up a three-game homestand.
TAYLOR HALL ($4M > $3M)
It’s been an eventful past few weeks for Edmonton’s dynamic rookie forward. Taylor Hall now leads the Oilers, along with Dustin Penner, in goals with 14. Although his recent offensive surge has been the catalyst for his firm grasp of the Fantasy Hockey leaderboard’s top spot, his even-strength play has been the most impressive mark in a recent stretch void of power play success.
Even-strength tallies, shots on goal, and a surging plus-minus have been greatest reasons for his placing atop the leaderboard. There is one area of concern, however. With his recent move to centre, a greater emphasis has been placed on his faceoff stats. Although this can play into the hands of the 19-year old, it can also be a detriment when the Oilers come up short.
For example, in Sunday’s close 3-2 loss to Anaheim, Hall finished with a minus-eight Fantasy rating courtesy of a minus-seven total in the in the faceoff department. This could potentially cause issues moving forward if you wish to include Hall, but the benefits will likely outweigh the drawbacks.
With a solid foundation of even-strength play and some uncertainty regarding his future at centre, Hall will be discounted this week to a more manageable cap-hit.
Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com