It was an interesting week for the Phoenix Coyotes. They won two games in the shootout against the Sharks and Canucks, and were blown out on the Pond in a game that was closer than the final score would indicate. The special teams had a brutal week, going 1 for 11 (nine percent) on the power play and allowing four goals in 13 shorthanded chances (69 percent). The offensive explosion of the previous week was muted this time around, as they could only get two goals in each of the three games. Only four players had a multi-point week: Martin Hanzal, Mikkel Boedker, David Moss and Shane Doan. We begin the fantasy breakdown by looking at the Captain's performance and what it means going forward.
1. Shane Doan
|2013 - Shane Doan||16||6||4||10||0||8||3||0||1||49|
Doan got off to another one of his patented slow starts this season, with no points in his first five games and only three through the first nine. He's been turning it on lately though, with points in six of the last seven, including the big game tying goal against Vancouver and the opening tally in Anaheim. His six goals are tied for the team lead. He's second on the team for ice time among forwards and he's fourth on the team in hits. He's spent most of his time this season on a line with Antoine Vermette and Rob Klinkhammer, but this week saw him skating on the wing with Radim Vrbata on Martin Hanzal's line. That is an encouraging development if it's a trend that continues depending on Vrbata's injury (more on that coming up).
Doan had been dropped in over 10 percent of ESPN leagues the past two weeks, but his big week put him back on the 100 percent owned list (amazingly, he's still available in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues. There are no words). Doan's days of being a 30 goal/60 point guy are more than likely behind him. That being said, 20-25 goals and 40-50 points are more than possible from the Captain, especially if he's playing with talent like Hanzal and Vrbata. He's also not going to hurt you in SOG or hits (if your league counts that) and he's going to provide a healthy number of PIMs. If you are in a league where he's still a free agent, you should probably go ahead and fix that.
2. Mike Ribeiro
|2013 - Mike Ribeiro||17||5||6||11||-1||8||1||0||1||28|
On the surface, it would seem that Ribeiro is having a disappointing season. Six assists through 17 games isn't what he was signed for and he's only added three special teams points. He did get an assist Wednesday night on Doan's opening goal, but that was only his second point in the last seven games. There's something not working here, but is it Ribeiro's fault?
For starters, Ribeiro is shooting more this season than last (28 shots versus 22 through 17 games). He's also spent a lot of time centering a line with David Moss and Lauri Korpikoski. While there's questioning the effort you're getting out of those two, there is plenty to question about that lineup construction. Ribeiro needs to be playing with goal scorers like Vrbata, Doan or even Boedker, not third liners like Moss and Korpi. Vrbata, Doan, and Boedker have combined for 15 goals on 134 SOG for an 11.2 shooting percentage. Moss and Korpikoski have one goal on 57 shots, or a 1.8 shooting percentage. Gee, I wonder why Ribeiro's assist numbers are down?
It's tough to ask for patience in fantasy sports, but I can't recommend it enough when it comes to Ribeiro. He has too much talent to continue to be saddled with linemates who can't capitalize on it. He's still getting his power play time and there's no doubt he's having an impact there due to the visual and statistical improvement of that unit. Last season, Ribs had 12 multi-assist games in only 48 total played. He has none this season. That will change at some point, but it's tough to predict when. I'd keep him rostered, but if you want to put him on your bench until he gets time with more talented linemates, that is understandable.
3. Radim Vrbata
|2013 - Radim Vrbata||17||6||7||13||-7||8||2||0||1||64|
Radim is doing what Vrbata does. He's tied for the team lead in goals (with Doan) and points (with Hanzal) and leads the team in SOG. His six special teams points are second on the team to only Keith Yandle. All of this is good. What's not good is that he left the Anaheim game in the second period and didn't return with a "lower-body injury." Right now, he's listed as day-to-day, which is the best you could hope for in that situation. His status for Saturday night's game against the Capitals is still up in the air, however.
Any type of injury to Vrbata could be devastating to the club. They don't have another goal-scorer anywhere near Radim's level on the roster. Yes, this is a team that has survived, and oftentimes thrived, on a goal scoring by committee approach but it's tough to keep that up when your best guy at doing that isn't playing. Hopefully this injury isn't serious and he's back producing for the Coyotes and your fantasy team.
4. Skating with the Pack: Add/Drop Advice
- Martin Hanzal returned from his suspension picking up where he left off. He added two assists this week while skating to 21:11 ATOI (although he only skated for 16:41 against Anaheim). Hanzal's playing for you every game.
- Although he has no goals on the season, David Moss hasn't been useless in fantasy. He has seven assists, 35 SOG, and is skating to a +5. He also has 34 hits on the season. You shouldn't be rostering him, but he's worth keeping an eye on (especially since he's on Ribeiro's wing. He won't keep shooting to 0 percent).
- The blueline brigade quieted somewhat this week, but Michael Stone did add a power play goal against the Ducks. Injuries keep shaking up the playing time and the lineup and Derek Morris missed almost all the Vancouver game and sat out the Anaheim one. He's day-to-day as well. He's performed great this year, but the injuries are a concern.
- Mike Smith had another up and down week. He was phenomenal against the Sharks, stopping 48 of 50 shots and followed that up with another solid game against the Cnaucks, stopping 31 of 33. He got the start the next night against the Ducks and allowed 4 goals on 28 shots. While the question of should he have even been in net for that game is valid, Smith still hasn't shown the consistency needed for him to be a number one, no doubt fantasy starter. He's solidifying himself into number 2 range, but his 2.87 GAA and .915 SV% are less than stellar.
5. The Trail Ahead: The Next Week of Games
The Coyotes will see action in three games in the coming week, and they could all be difficult matchups.
- On Saturday, the Coyotes host Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals for the first time since Valentine's Day 2011. The Capitals are currently 10th in offense and 18th in defense. Meanwhile, even without Mike Ribeiro, they continue to trot out the league's number one power play and more surprisingly also boast the number one penalty kill. Of course, after allowing two goals to the leagues worst power play Wednesday night, the Yotes should be worried about spending anytime in the sin bin. It's also impossible to talk about Ovechkin coming to Glendale and not mentioning this:
- On Tuesday, the Yotes begin a two game Central swing with the first stop in St. Louis. The Blues have gotten off to a great start and are doing it with offense and defense. They rank second in goals and sixth in stopping them. The Blues play a very similar game to the Coyotes, and Phoenix will have to find a way to stop the son of one of the franchise's greatest players, Alexander Steen.
- Finally, on Thursday night the Coyotes travel to Chicago to take on the defending Cup Champion Blackhawks. The Hawks are third in offense but rank 13th defensively, mainly because of their league worst penalty kill. Hopefully the Coyotes can draw penalties and take advantage of them because it can be tough to stop Chicago's top shelf talent.
That's it for this week's fantasy roundup. Good luck with your games and have fun. That's why we all play.