Jeremy Freeborns Fantasy Hockey Report

Canada's Dylan Strome is pictured during the 2016 IIHF World Junior Ice Hockey Championship match between Canada and Denmark in Helsinki, Finland, on December 28, 2015. / AFP / Lehtikuva / Roni Rekomaa / Finland OUT (Photo credit should read RONI REKOMAA/AFP/Getty Images)

Last week I was at my local Boston Pizza for the gold medal game of the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championship. The Edmonton Oilers were facing the Boston Bruins in the lone NHL game shown to patrons. When Patrick Maroon scored his third goal for the Oilers in a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins, I could not help myself. I bellowed out “Patrick ‘Hat Trick’ Maroon.”

It was Maroon’s first career hat trick and highlighted a strong week for the St. Louis native. In four games, Maroon had five goals and one assist for six points, was a +5 and 15 shots on goal. He has also moved on to the Oilers’ number one line with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Maroon also helped out fantasy owners immensely in the penalty minute category. He also had 12 penalty minutes, including two fights. Maroon fought Brandon Dubinsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Zdeno Chara of the Bruins.

There were two other Americans who had strong offensive weeks and are currently fantasy studs. Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane of Buffalo, New York and Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk of Middletown, New Jersey each notched seven points as they each had one goal and six assists.

In terms of goaltending, Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals is red hot. The Lloydminster, Saskatchewan native has recorded a shutout now in his last two straight games. On Thursday, he made 29 saves in a 5-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets and on Saturday he made 30 saves in a 1-0 win over the Ottawa Senators.

On the injury front, the Winnipeg Jets suffered a significant blow on Saturday when Patrik Laine suffered a concussion in a 4-3 Jets loss to the Buffalo Sabres. The loss of Laine will significantly hurt fantasy owners because Laine is third in the NHL with 21 goals and is the co-leader for the Jets in points. Laine and Mark Scheifele have 37 points each.

Notables who went on the injury reserve this past week included Detroit Red Wings defensemen Brendan Smith and Niklas Kronwall, Florida Panthers center Nick Bjugstad, Montreal Canadiens right winger Brendan Gallagher and Nashville Predators right winger James Neal.

The losses of Gallagher and Neal are significant because they each have over 100 shots on goal this season. Gallagher was a victim to friendly fire. He injured his hand significantly on a slap shot from teammate Shea Weber.

This week avoid players on the Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs as they all only play two times each. The teams that play four times are the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets. The best players who play on teams who play four games this week are Vladimir Tarasenko of the Blues, Tyler Seguin of the Stars and Jakub Voracek of the Flyers.

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