Oilers Fantasy Hockey Forecast - 02/21/2011
Hot sticks & streaking production highlight this week's Forecast
Perhaps most importantly for those involved with Oilers Fantasy Hockey, the individual performances were outstanding. Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky in particular stunned Rexall Place with tremendous performances that single-handidly provided their club with the opportunity to win.
The homestand wrapped up Saturday afternoon, with Hall scoring three power-plays goals in the third period to propel the Oilers to a 5-3 victory. The natural hat-trick was recorded on the back of his NHL season-high nine shots on goal, providing him with the highest output of the season in terms of Fantasy Hockey numbers; an incredible total of 43 points in a single game.
That was only one of the amazing offensive performances to take place in the past week. This week's Forecast will feature three players currently riding hot sticks and budding confidence.
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No more than two hours following the completion of tonight's game vs. Minnesota, the salaries of this week’s highlighted players will be amended, while last week’s players (Smid, Vandermeer and Foster) will be reverted back to their standard cap-hits.
Here are this week’s salary amendments:
TAYLOR HALL ($4M > $5M)
What more can be said about the superb play of sensational rookie Taylor Hall? The 19-year old is currently tied with power-forward Dustin Penner for the team lead in goals with 20, and his 38 points in 59 games have placed him second overall in points behind Ales Hemsky.
While the salary increase is marginal in relative terms, you truly have to appreciate what Hall brings to the table on a nightly basis. One of the greatest components of his game is that, while goal-scoring is naturally going to come, his offensive mind can bring about the greatest point increases by attempts.
On Saturday afternoon when the Oilers emerged with 5-3 victory over Atlanta, Hall had accumulated an incredible total of nine shots on goal. Three crossed the goal line, but each attempt provided value on the Fantasy scoresheet. On a steady course, Hall is developing into the most dependable and productive players on the roster as he continues to lead the season standings.
ALES HEMSKY ($4M > $6M)
For the first time this season, a player will have his salary increased beyond the $5 million mark. After enduring a mid-season struggle in which he battled a pair of injuries, Ales Hemsky has returned to form in emphatic fashion.
Hemsky produced a remarkable four goals and seven points in the final three games of the homestand. Now, the task at hand is carrying that momentum on the road as the Oilers embark on a quick two-game road trip before returning back to Rexall Place Friday evening. Fittingly so, Hemsky's career-long struggle has been consistency; a struggle that has been caused due to untimely ailments that have forced extended periods of time on the sidelines.
With the opportunity to keep things going, look for Hemsky to continue firing on all cylinders as the trade deadline looms. Whether or not he remains on the team remains to be seen, but his production at the moment is certainly turning heads, both in Edmonton and across the league.
SHAWN HORCOFF ($6M > $5M)
With big dollars being shelled out and Hemsky entering the fold as the most expensive roster player, a break was in order. Since being reunited with familiar linemates Dustin Penner and the aforementioned Hemsky, the Oilers captain has returned to his early-season offensive form with excellent offensive performances to help complement the influx of surging production.
Much like Hemsky and Hall, the final three games of the recent homestand provided the catalyst for a change in his play. Horcoff was able to collect one goal and five points in that stretch, which has helped quell the negativity surrounding his struggle to produce shortly after returning from his month-long absence.
Even with his offensive touch in bloom, the $20 million salary cap is limiting in certain areas. As such, despite his recent surge, Horcoff will be discounted to provide another angle of attack. It's up to you to decide which direction you feel is best for the upcoming week that includes the trade deadline.
Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com