Fantasy Focus: Weekend Warriors

Matt SitkoffCorrespondent IOctober 15, 2010

TORONTO - OCTOBER 7: Clarke MacArthur #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his goal against the Montreal Canadiens during a regular season NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre October 7, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Abelimages/Getty Images

The season is still in the development phase, and so is your fantasy team.  Waiver wire moves are important but equal is making the decision on whom to make active on a day like Saturday, when 24 teams are in action. So let’s break down the weekend warriors of fantasy studs to watch out for. 


Teams with 2 games this weekend: Ducks, Thrashers, Blackhawks, Avalanche, Sabres, Blue Jackets, Canadiens, Devils, Islanders, Coyotes, Penguins, Canucks


Forwards To watch


Clarke MacArthur, Leafs W

Four goals and five points in the first three games for the red hot Maple Leafs have put the 25-year-old on the fantasy map.  The player who has been on three teams in the last seven months seems to have found a home in Toronto.  Makes you wonder if Atlanta is regretting walking away from his arbitration award of $2.4 million. 

The former third-round pick of the Sabres did have 44 goals in 208 career games and is playing 15:25 minutes per game with time on the power play and is worth the pick up as the hot Leafs face off versus the Rangers this weekend.  


Blake Comeau, Islanders W

With all the injuries to the Islanders forwards, Blake Comeau is stepping up with the added ice time.  With three goals and four points in the first three games, the former second pick is blossoming playing on a line with former first-round pick Josh Bailey. 

The 24-year-old is playing over 20 minutes a game early and playing on the top power play unit.  With John Tavares coming back in the next couple of games will add to the stock of Comeau as the Isle have two games this weekend.


Tomas Kopecky, Blackhawks W

Marian Hossa buddy from the Red Wings has four points and is a +4 in the first four games playing mostly on a line with Hossa and Jonathan Toews.  The Blackhawks who lost a lot of their depth in the offseason have given the 28-year-old added responsibilities.

The Slovak is now playing on the top line and on the top power play and is getting plenty of chances with seven shots but is still only owned in about 11 percent of leagues.  With two games this weekend look for that number to go up when he has a successful weekend.       


Defenseman To Watch


Jordan Leopold, Sabres

As the Sabres said goodbye to Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman this offseason and hello to Jordan Leopold, most Sabres fans cringed. Now those fans are excited about the hot start that the former Hobey Baker winner is on this season. 

The 30-year-old is partying like it is 2003 with two goals and four points in the first four games while playing 4:00 minutes a game on the power play.  There is no doubt that Tyler Myers is the Sabres No. 1 defenseman, but Leopold is playing himself into fantasy relativity and is a player to watch for in Buffalo’s two games this weekend.  


Brad Stuart, Red Wings

With the injury news that Brian Rafalsky will miss three to four weeks due to knee surgery, Brad Stuart is now a fantasy option on the potent Red Wings.  The 30-year-old will now be a part of the top defensive unit with Nicklas Lidstrom and expand on his ice time.  The veteran is already a +5 with four shots and 9 PIM and should help your fantasy team for the next three to four weeks.  


James Wisniewski, Islanders 

Even though he got more headlines this week for his gesture towards Sean Avery than his play, James Wisniewski should get more attention from fantasy owners.  With Mark Streit out the 26-year-old acquired from the Ducks is now the No. 1 defenseman on Long Island.  Let us not forget that five-year veteran had 30 points in 69 games last year and after he sits out one more game this weekend should be picked up in all leagues.   


Goalies To Watch


Nikolai Khabibulin, Oilers

With all the controversy this offseason with the former Stanley Cup winner most fantasy owners stayed away from Nikolai Khabibulin.  Now the 37-year-old is proving all the naysayer wrong and leading the young Oilers to a 2-0 record early.  The Russian is now the most added goaltender in leagues and should give a fantasy a nice boost with one game against the Flames this weekend.    


Sergei Bobrovsky, Flyers

The Russian Rookie known to his teammates as “Bobs” has broken onto the scene as a viable fantasy option with two wins in his first two career starts.  Now a return engagement with the surprisingly offensively challenged Penguins this weekend for Bobrovsky, who beat them on opening night.  The 22-year-old has a 2.00 GAA and impressive .931 save percentage and should be owned in all fantasy leagues.  


Michal Neuvirth, Capitals

The 22-year-old Neuvirth is finally getting his shot to show he belongs with the big boys and has looked sharp in his first four starts with three wins.  Jose Theodore did win 30 games in front of similar team last season, so why can’t Neuvirth do the same? 

With Semyon Varlamov getting closer to a return from a groin injury the young goalie has made Coach Bruce Boudreau job difficult to take him out of the net with a .924 save percentage and is a great start against the Predators this weekend.        




    Pens' Malkin Sits Game 6 vs. Flyers

    NHL logo

    Pens' Malkin Sits Game 6 vs. Flyers

    Adam Gretz
    via ProHockeyTalk

    Leafs Escape Game 5 with 4-3 Win, Extend Series to Game 6

    NHL logo

    Leafs Escape Game 5 with 4-3 Win, Extend Series to Game 6

    Nicholas Goss

    Lightning Win 3-1, Take Out Devils

    NHL logo

    Lightning Win 3-1, Take Out Devils

    via Tampabay

    Flyers Force a Game Six vs. Penguins

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    Flyers Force a Game Six vs. Penguins

    Kyle Newport
    via Bleacher Report