Hear about some surprising updates to the player pool, along with who did well last week in fantasy hockey and who you should consider for this weekend.
By J Gray
The Premier Hockey Federation’s two Canadian clubs hit the presses this week, each picking up a desirable free agent. Some scoring stalwarts did their thing again, and some players are starting to look promising for next weekend. Let’s dive in!
Fantasy app updates
A reminder repeated from last week that scoring is now cumulative for all the games played in a week! Roster slots are still locked. What this means is that if you have a player in a starting slot when the puck drops in her game, you will not be able to move her from that spot, but you will get all of the fantasy points she accumulates over both games on the weekend.
In alignment with that, the mid-week games played between the Beauts and the Whale count for this week. Wherever your Buffalo and Connecticut players were at the time those games started, those are the slots they are locked in for the remainder of the weekend.
After a mutual agreement to end Autumn MacDougall’s contract with the Buffalo Beauts went into effect, the forward from Nova Scotia signed a contract for the remainder of the season with la Force de Montréal. Over in Toronto, the Six have signed 2018 Patty Kazmaier Award winner Daryl Watts for the remainder of the season as well as next season. Both players should be available prior to this week’s games, and both of them, and especially Watts, should be considered excellent waiver wire picks.
Lastly, promising prospect Becca Gilmore has left the Boston Pride due to scheduling issues with her other commitments. If she’s on your team, look to drop her for some rising stars.
Last week’s stars
Last week in the waiver wire segment I suggested that Allie Thunstrom might show up offensively against Buffalo, but I could not have predicted the four goal, two assist weekend that earned her fantasy managers a league-leading 26.5 fantasy points. Something about baby blue must make her angry.
Force captain Ann-Sophie Bettez showed immense fantasy value as she scored a hat trick versus the Connecticut Whale during their neutral site game in Pennsylvania. Her 17 fantasy points in that game made her the second-highest-scoring skater in terms of fantasy value, while playing one fewer game than players on four other teams. Now that’s impressive.
Pride captain Jillian Dempsey scored a game-winning shorthanded goal and added two assists across Boston’s home matchup with the Beauts, earning 16.25 fantasy points for her teams.
Whitecaps rookie Natalie Snodgrass makes this most valuable players list for the third consecutive week. She also had a goal and two assists as Minnesota visited the Riveters’ ice, and was worth 14.5 points for those who drafted her.
Whitecaps alternate captain Sidney Morin scored the game-winner versus Metropolitan on the powerplay this past Sunday while adding an assist for 9.5 fantasy points.
Morin’s defensive partner, Sydney Baldwin, had two assists the day before for a total of 8.5 fantasy points.
Recent Concordia graduate Brigitte Laganière only played one game last week with the Montréal Force, but her goal and assist in that game were good for 8 fantasy points.
After letting in only a single goal across two games, it should come as no surprise that Pride starter Corinne Schroeder was the most valuable goalie last weekend. With her league-leading tenth and eleventh wins, the rookie earned an impressive 24.76 fantasy points.
Letting in three goals on the weekend on 65 shots, Whitecaps starter Amanda Leveille earned 24.44 fantasy points.
There are six games happening around the PHF this weekend, with the Minnesota Whitecaps as the odd team out. Make sure all your Caps are on your benches! And if you’re looking to pick up some new players to give your team an extra punch of points here are some things to consider.
The Buffalo Beauts and the Connecticut Whale are on the last hump of the most condensed playing schedule in the Fed this year. After their games from November had to be postponed, they were rescheduled in between two already tough matchups for each team.
Last week, the Whale traveled to Pittsburgh where they barely lost a thriller of a game to the Montréal Force. Then they returned home to face the Beauts for two games. Now, they face the Toronto Six, who are exactly one regulation win’s worth of points behind Boston for top spot in the standings… with a game in hand.
Last week, the Buffalo Beauts lost two games in Boston: a 8-0 thrashing and a heartbreaker of a 2-1 overtime loss. It’s hard to say which felt more demoralizing. Then, midweek, they dropped both games to the Whale in Connecticut. Now they are visiting the Metropolitan Riveters, a physical-style team who have themselves been on a frustrating losing streak and will be looking to claw back some points.
Toronto and Metropolitan players could be smart pickups for this weekend. Depending on the size of your leagues, here are some prospects who may still be available:
A promising producer before the Riveters went on their multi-game skid, I’d keep an eye on Fanni Garát-Gasparics this weekend. The longtime Hungarian national team player has been playing on the second line and her SOG have been increasing along with that line’s time on ice.
Defender Emilie Harley is another player whose SOG have increased as the Riveters look for solutions to their goal-scoring woes. She is a central member of this squad in ways that don’t appear on the scoresheet, but she has a few points this season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her get more this weekend.
The most obvious pickup for the Six this weekend is the newly-signed Daryl Watts. A Patty Kazmaier Award winner and NCAA champion over her illustrious NCAA career, even a slow start in the PHF for her this weekend has a strong chance of meaning points on the board. If she hasn’t already been snapped up in your league, I’d strongly consider finding a place for her in your lineup.
A returnee from last season’s team, Michela Cava looks to have heated up recently. We know she can produce, but with four points in her last three games, now is the time to pick her up if you’re looking for a boost.
The weekend’s final match-up will set the Boston Pride against the home team Montréal. The Pride are at the top of the league standings at the moment, but the Force have some momentum and a shiny new free agent signing. They won’t make these games easy for Boston.
Last season, Autumn MacDougall was the most productive player on a Beauts squad that was at the bottom of the league. This season, the Beauts are still at the bottom of the league, but MacDougall found herself with diminishing ice time and only a single point in eight games. She and Buffalo parted ways and she has signed with the Force. The transition may not be immediate, especially with her first games with the new team coming against a punishing team like Boston, but MacDougall is a player who should be respected for what she could bring to a fantasy team. If someone in your league dropped her when she left the Beauts, she may still be available.
Playing on the second line earlier in the season, Samantha Isbell was showing promise as a fantasy prospect, but since moving up to the top line to play alongside Jade Downie-Landry and Ann-Sophie Bettez her stats have only gotten better. She’s had six goals in five games since the change, alongside 13 SOG to contrast with her two SOG in her first four games. This line has been working for the Force, so I don’t foresee Isbell getting less valuable in the near future.
On the goaltender matchups:
For our Whale v. Six series, I expect to see Elaine Chuli and Abbie Ives in net for both games. If they are available in your leagues, they’ll probably be worth some points this weekend.
In Buffalo v. Metropolitan, there’s less certainty. I expect Katie Burt will get the first start, and the next game will depend on how that goes. Lovisa Berndtsson is the starter for Buffalo at the moment, but backup Tera Hofmann played for the Rivs back in 2021. Most of the team has turned over since then, but it would be an interesting move for Buffalo to play her in at least one game. As they’ve played four games already in the last calendar week, it would likely be to their advantage to spread the minutes, especially against a relatively fresh Metro team.
When Boston visits Montréal, expect Corinne Schroder in net. She should not be available in your league. If she is, you should take her now.
Vibe of the Week
Do you like cool goalie masks? That’s a rhetorical question. Goalie masks are unique in sports for the way they allow players to express themselves in artistic ways. They can be immensely creative, very personally meaningful, and in general, highly cool.
Joining the Buffalo Beauts after playing in Toronto last season, Tera Hofmann has thus far been rocking her gorgeous red and gold mask designed for her previous team. It looks like her new bucket has finally come in, and it’s another—pardon the pun—beauty.
Sporting a deeper shade of Buffalo blue behind the Buffalo Believes Classic logo, details on the helmet also pay homage to Hofmann’s LGBT and Jewish identities. On the backplate there is a gorgeously rendered sunset behind the Buffalo skyline, and decals celebrate transgender athletes and the work of the Black Girl Hockey Club, who Hofmann also repped on her previous helmet.
Will she play this weekend? Who knows. What we do know is that she’ll look super fly wherever she is.