STOCK NOW Fantasy hockey stock watch - How coaching change affects...

Fantasy hockey stock watch – How coaching change affects struggling Blues


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Are we now in for a ‘new coach bump’ in St. Louis? After launching 2023-24 with a 13-14-1 record, comprising a recent run of four-straight losses, GM Doug Armstrong and Co. are done with Craig Berube, instead handing the head-coaching keys over (at least temporarily) to Drew Bannister. Now we’ll see if the club follows in the skating strides of the Oilers and Wild, which have both experienced a revival since making such a change, in rebounding under the recent Thunderbirds bench boss. Invested fantasy managers and Blues fans alike best hope so.

Jordan Kyrou, Pavel Buchnevich, and Brayden Schenn top the list of underperforming forwards who, with a look to history, talent, and skillset, clearly have more to give. For crying out loud, Kyrou scored 37 goals last year. This season thus far? Five. Still seeing regular minutes on the Blues’ top line and power play, the 25-year-old is undoubtedly due a resurgence. As is defenseman Torey Krug who, despite anchoring the top unit, has three power-play points to his credit. Three. From a puck-mover who’s averaged 0.63 points/game throughout his career.

Never even mind goalie Jordan Binnington, who’s been tough between the pipes for most of this campaign. If a new voice behind the bench helps the club improve at all – again, as it has in Edmonton and Minnesota – Binnington is set to only benefit as an individual. If you’ve held onto St. Louis’ No. 1 this long, or any other Blues fantasy asset, may as well sit tight for a bit now, and gauge how the team responds to a Bannister. Beginning Thursday against the visiting Senators.

As for the NHL’s schedule to wrap up the work week, this Wednesday to Friday stretch feels more balanced than many, featuring five games Wednesday, eight on Thursday, and six Friday.

Resources: Goalie depth chart | Daily lines | Projections | Play for free | Player rater | Most added/dropped | Mock draft lobby | How to watch on ESPN+

Stock Up

William Eklund, F, San Jose Sharks: After missing one game with a minor lower-body injury, the youngster returned to San Jose’s lineup with oomph, scoring the winner in the third period Tuesday against the visiting Jets. A member of the Sharks’ top line and power play, Eklund has three goals and three assists in his past five contests. Pick him up in deeper leagues.

Nazem Kadri, F, Calgary Flames: The Flames can’t blame their recent run of poor fortune on a lack of production from their No. 2 center. He’s doing his bit. Skating between Connor Zary and Martin Pospisil, Kadri has three goals and four assists on 20 shots in five games. For you fans of ye olde ‘eye test’, he also looks ever dangerous, tuned in, and the best kind of annoyed, every shift these days. The Flames visit Minnesota on Thursday.

Matt Boldy, F, Minnesota Wild: The Wild forward remains much too available across the fantasy field relative to his current performance. If desiring some extra scoring pop, pick up Boldy asap, preferably ahead of Thursday’s tilt with the Flames. The young winger scored two of his six goals in seven recent games – plus an assist – in Calgary last week.

Ivan Prosvetov, G, Colorado Avalanche: While there’s little question Alexandar Georgiev is the go-to in Colorado, the Avalanche’s backup is making a case to steal away a few more starts, here and there. This week’s perfect showing as substitute, helping his team to a come-from-behind 6-5 win against the Flames, was impressive indeed. Plus, Georgiev hasn’t been his stingiest self of late. Give Prosvetov a thought when he gets the nod, and the matchup makes favorable sense.

Stock Down

Kyle Connor, F, Winnipeg Jets First word out of Winnipeg on Kyle Connor is about as lousy as expected. After suffering the worst of Sunday’s nasty knee-on-knee with Ryan Strome, the scoring winger is expected to miss six to eight weeks, forcing Rick Bowness to fiddle with his top six and No. 1 power play. The Jets’ first game without their top scorer – a 2-1 loss to the Sharks – saw Gabriel Vilardi sub in on the top line, with Morgan Barron popping onto the second. Nikolaj Ehlers – one of the club’s more productive skaters of late – took over Connor’s spot on the No. 1 power play.

Shuffling aside, another obvious fantasy-relevant takeaway is that the Jets are a lesser team without their most dynamic scoring forward. Losing Connor as a linemate is likely to affect Mark Scheifele’s numbers overall – the more pressing issue is to what degree. How the club manages altogether is also of concern, in affecting fantasy netminding numbers, as far as wins/losses go. While you’re not going to drop Connor Hellebuyck because the winger is out until late January, the situation certainly merits monitoring. Starting in L.A. on Wednesday.

Andrei Svechnikov, F, Carolina Hurricanes: After scoring one goal in 16 games, Svechnikov is now out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. Time to part ways.

Streamer Specials

Petr Mrazek, G, Chicago Blackhawks: If interested in an out-of-box streaming option, consider the Blackhawks’ No. 1 in Seattle on Thursday. All considered, Mrazek has been rather solid for his club season long, earning valuable fantasy points during more favorable matchups. Like versus the Blues and Ducks within the past week. Or against Thursday’s opponent in late November, when he earned third-star honors against the Kraken.

Semyon Varlamov, G, New York Islanders: Varlamov – winner of three-straight – is projected to start when the red-hot Islanders host the ice-cold Ducks on Thursday.

Alex Nedeljkovic, G, Pittsburgh Penguins: As was supposed in this space to start this week, Nedeljkovic is projected (still not confirmed) to start in Montreal Wednesday after Tristan Jarry earned the (much-needed) victory over the Coyotes Tuesday. I like the Penguins’ backup a lot in this matchup, if that’s how it indeed manifests.


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