Home-road splits are useful in fantasy baseball, especially with starting pitchers. But splits matter in fantasy hockey too.
I thought of this last night when scanning the box score of the Calgary Flames’ 5-1 road victory in Philadelphia. Flyers right wing Mike Knuble scored the lone Flyers’ goal in the third period. It was his 23rd goal of the season.
It turns out, 17 of Knuble’s 23 goals have come in Philadelphia. He ranks 10th in the NHL in goals scored at home. He has 25 points in 31 home games and 16 points in 32 road games.
The nine guys ranking ahead of Knuble on the goals-at-home list are all superstars — universally owned fantasy entities — with one exception: Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Petr Sykora, who ranks fifth with 19 goals at home. All told, Sykora has 30 points in 29 home games, compared to a mere 14 points in 34 road games.
This is terrific news if you need help at right wing, which most of us non-Iginla owners do. While neither Knuble (52 percent owned in Yahoo!, 90.7 percent in ESPN) nor Sykora (76 percent in Yahoo!, 97.1 percent in ESPN) is widely available, there’s a chance you can luck out and grab them.
If other owners in your league have snagged Knuble and Sykora, you can still find scoring help if you scan lower on the goals-at-home totem pole. There you shall find Calgary Flames left wing Rene Bourque (ankle), who last played February 19 and is sidelined until early April.
For the season, Bourque has 15 goals (and 26 points) in 31 home games, compared to a paltry 14 points (six goals) in 27 road games. Bourque is owned in only 17 percent of ESPN leagues and 23 percent of Yahoo! leagues. That’s largely because of his injury, of course. Still, if you pick him up now, you can use your IR slot to store him. His goals might come in handy in early April, which is when most fantasy titles are decided.