Oilers Fantasy Hockey Forecast - 03/29/2011
Hartikainen, VandeVelde & Cogliano take the stage in this week's Forecast
This week, the theme is all about opportunity. The following players have stepped up and provided excellent performances despite Edmonton’s recent struggle on the scoreboard.
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TONIGHT AT 11:00PM
No more than one hour following the completion of Tuesday's game vs. Los Angeles, the newly introduced salaries for all our highlighted players will be implemented.
Here are this week’s salary amendments:
TEEMU HARTIKAINEN ($1M > 3M)
Hartikainen closed out the week in dramatic fashion as the 20-year-old rookie beat Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff to record his first career NHL goal. All things considered, this was the stamp on an already impressive week for the young Finn.
Although Hartikainen’s numbers in Nashville and St. Louis were average amongst the Oilers crop, his 31 points vs. Calgary was a team-high that featured success in a number of varied categories. Hartikainen will always present an offensive threat, but his success as a crash-and-bang player will certainly help to boost his totals and balance his increasingly valuable attack.
Hartikainen loaded up with three shots on goal, two hits and two blocked shots to balance his personal scoresheet. As he has proven in a little over a week with the big club, his multi-pronged attack will provide value, even in a losing cause for his team.
CHRIS VANDEVELDE ($1M > 3M)
In Chris VandeVelde’s five career games in the NHL, the 24-year-old rookie has already established a niche that could forecast a long career as an Oiler. Of course, that’s most certainly a premature indication, but VandeVelde’s executed totals in the faceoff dot have done wonders for this struggling Edmonton squad.
Against the Flames this past Saturday night, VandeVelde posted a game-high 68-percent efficiency rate in the circle, giving him a total of eight Fantasy points for his efforts. For an Oilers team that typically struggles in this area, his masterfully assembled skill has given him the opportunity to climb the ladder as one of the team’s new leaders up front.
In total, VandeVelde was able to accumulate 21 points on this night; eight of which were collected through faceoffs, but the rest was a collaborative effort that came through his work in getting shots on goal, giving hits, and blocking shots; again, a balanced attack.
While offence is considered to be second in line, VandeVelde’s balanced approach (much like the work of fellow teammate Hartikainen) has already proven to be an incredibly valuable commodity. With faceoffs continuing to be a hot topic and an area for concern in Oil Country, VandeVelde has been given a great opportunity to seize a new role.
ANDREW COGLIANO ($1M > 2M)
Speaking of players who have been given elevated roles in the wake of the Oilers’ injury situation, Andrew Cogliano has stepped up with solid play in the middle. While offence has continued to present a challenge for this injury-depleted Edmonton squad, Cogliano’s balanced attack has helped make him a valuable contributor over the past few games.
Perhaps most surprisingly, Cogliano has been a physical force in recent games. Against Calgary, he was able to accumulate 18 points on the night; the bulk of which came in the hits category. In addition, his faceoff numbers have been steadily improving as he looks to cement his role as the team’s current go-to middleman.
With increasing opportunity being allocated in the final seven games, look for Cogliano to continue his resurgence and become of the Oilers’ most valued Fantasy commodities.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The aforementioned players’ salaries will be changed immediately following the game vs. Los Angeles, but the rest of the week is shaping up to provide an important matchup to close out the month of March.
As always, prizes are awarded at the end of each month to our monthly winners in two categories: Most points accumulated and the top per-game points average. You only have two games left to earn your rank in one of these winning categories, so make the most of your chance. Good luck!
Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com