Welcome to week 17 of the Fantasy Planner, getting you ready for next week's fantasy hockey action. (1/24 through 1/31).
Week 17 Matchups
Teams with 4 games: Calgary, Detroit, LA, New Jersey, NY Isles, NY Rangers, Phoenix, St. Louis, Washington
Teams with 2 games: Boston, Philadelphia, San Jose
Look for the Capitals to have a big week, not that they needed the help. They've got 3 of 4 at home, facing off against NYI, Anaheim, Florida, and Tampa Bay. Ovechkin could have the scoring lead by this time next week.
On the other side, don't expect much production out of the Bruins over the next 7 days, as they play at Buffalo and then home to LA the next day.
Phil Kessel (F - TOR)
He's still in a goal-scoring funk, but at least he's back on the scoresheet. After a horrible dry spell, Kessel is now riding a 7 game point streak, with 1 goal and 7 assists over that span. He's still seeing prime time on the power play and he's getting his shots. He had 8 a few days ago against Atlanta. Look for Kessel to start putting pucks in the net again soon.
Andy Greene (D - NJ)
A month ago, Greene was a hot commodity on the blueline. He's gone stone cold. He finally registered one assist last week after going a painful nine game draught with nothing on the board. He's still a key player for the Devils on defense, but don't expect him to help your team down the stretch.
Tim Thomas (G - BOS)
Just when we thought it was safe to accept Mr. Thomas as a top-tier goalie, he's gone and proved us wrong again. Thomas is having a mediocre season, and lately, it's gotten worse. He's lost 4 of his past 5 starts and is allowing 3+ goals against per game over the past 2 weeks. I don't recommend dropping him, but you'd better have a backup plan for the remainder of the season if he's one of your top 2 goalies.
Here are a few names who may be available in your league and are worth a look:
Rick DiPietro (G - NYI)
I certainly would not recommend pinning the hopes of your team on the health of Rick DiPietro, but he is back and seems to be playing well, so there is little risk in putting him on your bench if he is available. The Islanders have suddenly become a relevant team, and DiPietro is arriving just in time to benefit.
Guillaume Latendresse (F - MIN)
Check your waiver wire. Latendresse is going fast. It took a few weeks for him to find his place after arriving in Minnesota in late November, but for the past month, he's been money for the Wild. He has contributed 3 multi-point games in January, including a four point performance against the Penguins. He has 7 goals and 5 assists in 10 games this month.
Jack Hillen (D - NYI)
Who is Jack Hillen? Good question. Up until now, fantasy owners haven't paid much attention to the second year defenseman. But he's a defenseman with 5 points in his past 6 games, so maybe it's time we found out. Hillen logs big minutes for the Islanders, who are one of the hottest teams in the league right now, so maybe it is worth taking a risk on him at this point.