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20 Fantasy Thoughts: Pick up Blues forward Robert Thomas immediately

| January 2, 2022, 11:27 AM

January 2, 2022, 11:27 AM

Time for a toast.

Here’s a New Year’s resolution for all fantasy owners to get behind: Stay patient.

At the best of times in 2021, managing a team seemed more like a chore and less like a hobby. Simply put, it wasn’t much fun.

The good news is that some semblance of roster relief is finally here.

In case you missed it, fully vaccinated players who test positive for COVID-19 can now return to their respective lineups after five days instead of 10, provided they’re not showing any lasting symptoms of the virus.

Back on Wednesday, the NHL followed in the footsteps of the CDC ,reducing the isolation period. Since then, every Canadian province — excluding Quebec — has done the same.

At least your star player won’t miss as much time now.

1. Let’s tackle this week’s pending schedule first.

To date, nine games have been postponed, dropping the tentative total of games that will be played to 39:

Monday: One game

Tuesday: Eight games

Wednesday: Two games

Thursday: 12 games

Friday: Two games

Saturday: 12 games

Sunday: One game

2. 19 teams lead the way with a three-game slate (ANA, ARI, BOS, CGY, CHI, COL, CBJ, DAL, DET, FLA, NSH, NJD, NYR, PHI, PIT, SJS, STL, TBL, VGK).

Because of when they play, St. Louis stands out to me:

St. Louis Blues: Wed (@PIT), Fri (WSH), Sun (DAL)

Waiver Looks: Robert Thomas, Brandon Saad

SN Fantasy Pool: Vladimir Tarasenko 2, Jordan Kyrou 2

3. Naturally, with all the postponements, there’s a plethora of teams to avoid completely when mulling over waiver plays.

Two games: CAR, EDM, LAK, MIN, OTT, TOR, WSH, WPG

One game: BUF, SEAN, VAN

Zero games: MTL, NYI

4. Once they’re consistently playing games again, snatch up Isles blueliner Noah Dobson. The 21-year-old has five goals, five helpers, three power-play points and 27 shots goal in the past 10 games.

5. Pick up Robert Thomas immediately. The Blues forward has a goal and two helpers in two games since returning from a seven-game hiatus (lower-body). Quietly, the 22-year-old has 25 points in 27 games this season. That Kyrou/Thomas/Tarasenko line is scary.

6. With Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone on the shelf for Vegas, look for Mattias Janmark, Evgenii Dadonov, and Nicolas Roy to see an uptick in responsibilities.

7. It’s already been determined that Pacioretty will be out indefinitely, but what about Stone? If that’s the case, maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to gauge the trade market on Jack Eichel. Hmm.

8. Some external Pacioretty replacement options: Anthony Duclair, Tim Stuetzle, Clayton Keller and Nino Niederreiter.

9. One last hit on the Golden Knights: Add Laurent Brossoit. Robin Lehner continues to deal with a nagging lower-body issue.

10. Scoop up Kaapo Kahkonen. Cam Talbot suffered a lower-body injury in the Winter Classic on Saturday night. They’re calling it “minor” for now.

At any rate, now’s probably a good time to execute a buy low on Wild goaltending anyway. Overall, Minnesota has dropped five in a row, Talbot has lost four of them allowing 19 total goals.

11. Drop Mike Smith. Simply put, it’s been a struggle for the 39-year-old to stay healthy this season. The veteran surrendered 10 goals in two appearances this past week before getting hurt again. In five appearances, Smith is 2-1-1 with a 3.91 goals-against and 0.897 save-percentage.

12. Depending on your desperation level, Mikko Koskinen can be had. Ditto for Stuart Skinner. Personally, I’d still prefer the Dallas tandem (Braden Holtby/Jake Oettinger) or even Buffalo’s Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen over either of those guys.

Edmonton needs a goalie badly.

13. Keep close tabs on Kevin Hayes and Morgan Frost in Philly. Both centres will have to step up large in the absence of Sean Couturier, who’s week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

Ryan Getzlaf, William Karlsson and Nico Hischier are four other pivots who could help you out.

14. Seek out a buy-low trade on Jakub Voracek. The veteran should receive a bump in production with the return of Patrik Laine to the Blue Jackets lineup.

15. Speaking of Columbus, did you know Alex Texier is currently on pace for 30 goals and 63 points? Now you do. He has nine points in the past eight games. Talk about a cheeky DFS play.

16. Take a flier on Phil Kessel. The veteran Coyotes sniper, who figures to be on the move between now and the March 21 trade deadline, has notched at least a point in 13 of his past 16 outings (Last 16 GP: 3 G, 13 A, 16 P). Ride the hot hand.

17. Make a trade for Rasmus Dahlin. The Buffalo blue chip defenceman has notched three goals and six points in the last six games and is now up to 21 points in 32 contests this season. The 21-year-old played 29 minutes (!!) in Saturday afternoon’s 4-3 OT loss to Boston.

18. It could be time to jump back in on Devils forward Yegor Sharangovich. Coming out of the pause, the Belarussian has been skating with the red-hot Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt and is currently riding a modest three-game point streak. Think about it.

19. Put Cole Perfetti on your watch list. Coming off an impressive showing at the World Juniors, the Jets rookie figures to get a legitimate shot with captain Blake Wheeler on the shelf. When Winnipeg does return on Sunday, the 20-year-old is expected to play on the third line, and most importantly, the first power-play unit. Be mindful.

20. While Perfetti’s value at the NHL level remains a relative unknown, the same cannot be said for Nashville’s Tanner Jeannot and Carolina’s Seth Jarvis. Both freshmen deserve your undivided attention right now, especially Jeannot, who’s potted four goals in the past five outings.

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