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Well the New Year didn’t open as well as I had planned for it to. The players that I recommended a couple of weeks ago have been…well they’ve been disappointing. My group of Kyle Turris, Bryan Little, Clarke MacArthur, Erik Gudbransson, Trevor Daley and Josh Harding combined to produce 10 pts, +7, 20 PIM, 22 H, 59 SOG, 1-2, 3.00 GAA, .915 SV%. Yeah that’s right, 5 players combined to produce just 10 pts, what’s even worse about it about is that only one player actually had a good week.
Turris put up a 5 pts, +6, 13 PIM, 14 SOG, 3 H line by himself, essentially accounting for half of the total production of the above group. Clearly there was a good reason why I recommended him.
Little’s return was a big disappointment as I personally added him to my roster in hopes that he would return to form immediately, good thing he never left the bench. Daley who is also on my team was pinned to the bench last week. Gudbransson was a tease, he still possesses tremendous upside but for now he’s only worth a watch list add.
MacArthur has been terrible and will need to put up 40 pts the rest of the way in order to just match his production from last season, good luck with that one.
The MOST disappointing player though was Josh Harding. In his 4 starts he allowed 2 goals in two games and 4 goals in the other two games. One thing that has been established though for Harding is that he’s the Minnesota Wild’s away starting goalie. 7 of his last 8 games started have been on the road, and he hasn’t won back to back games since November 23rd. He’s owned in 18.7% of ESPN leagues right now and even though he may be better then Backstrom of late he’s shown that he’s better served on the waiver wire and not clogging up an all valuable bench spot.
So let’s move onto to players that should be better this week.
Colin Greening- This is the second time that I’ve recommended him. The big power forward has been productive of late with 4 pts in his last 4 games. Combine that with his +1, 7 SOG, 4 H, 1 PPP and you’ve got yourself a nice little addition to your lineup. He’s playing on the Senators top two lines night in and night out. Given the amount of fire power in the Sens lineup it’s only a matter time before he a legit fantasy option. He brings a physical presence to the ice with 96 H on the season and though he may not be a 70 pt guy at the end of this season his current Pts/GP pace would translate to 20 pts the rest of the way. He’s definately worth keeping an eye on, if you’re looking to add some hits to your lineup do it now. He’s owned in 3.4% of ESPN leagues. Meaning he’ll give you plenty of reasons to brag at the end of the season if he continues to play the way he has of late.
Ryan Malone- He may be the least sexy forward on the Lighnting’s roster but he’s been quietly effective of late. His 8 points in his last 6 games show that he’s starting to heat up. What’s even better is that over that time he’s picked up 3 PPP, and 18 H. He’s not going to help you out too much in the +/- department as he’s been a minus player each of the last 3 seasons and is a career -37, but he’s worth adding while he’s hot given his power play time. He’s owned in 6.6% of ESPN leagues so he’s available if you’re looking for some PPP help.
Cody Hodgson- With 9 pts in his last 12 games the youngster is finally starting to deliver on the promise that him a first round draft pick. Unfortunately for those in leagues that count more then the standard offensive stats he doesn’t bring much else to the table. He’s worth picking up if you’re in a deeper keeper league but for those in one and done leagues it’s probably best to look else where for more production across the board. Hodgson is a gifted player and his development has been stunted due to injury so it may take another season for him to make a big fantasy impact. He’s owned in 6.6% of ESPN leagues like Malone, for those in keeper leagues he’s the one you want, for those that aren’t Malone is the better play.
Kyle Okposo- For a team that doesn’t win many games the Islanders have a handful of impact fantasy forwards. John Tavares is an absolute monster and will only get better as he progresses. Throw in wingman Matt Moulson, and the Islanders have their very own dynamic duo.Throw in P.A. Parenteau, the struggling Michael Grabner and Okposo and the Islanders are team that clearly has some talent on the top two lines. Okposo in particular has been highly effective of late, 11 pts in his last 12 games he’s currently riding a 4 game point streak. The former first rounder is owned 22.4% of ESPN leagues which is surprising considering he’s shown some tremendous promise in seasons past. He doesn’t produce much outside of points and hasn’t produced anything on the PP for now, but why mess with a good thing after all the Islanders rank 9th in the NHL on the PP. Add Okposo to your roster now!
Justin Faulk– Another young player to keep an eye on. The Hurricanes young puck mover is the most offensively gifted blueliner on the team. Faulk has 6 pts in his last 10 games, showing that he’s really coming into his own as those 6 points account for more then half of his 11 on the season.All that after struggling through the first two months of the season with 2 points in his first 13 games. He and Jamie McBain are clearly the blueliners of the future for the Hurricanes so you may want to grab him while you still can if you’re in a keeper league. He’s owned in a mere 10.8% of ESPN leagues so you’ve still got time to add him to your roster but a player with his upside- think Tobias Enstrom- won’t last too much longer.
Ryan Ellis– We’ll keep with theme of young mobile blueliners with the Predators latest addition to their already stacked blueline. Ellis is a former OHL Champion, Memorial Cup Champion, and World Junior Champion. Now he’s looking to add the rare Triple Champion crown to his resume as he seeks a Cup with the Preds. Ellis is a power play quater back in the making, though he’ll be blocked as long as the Predators still have Shea Weber, and Ryan Suter. For those in keeper leagues Ellis is a must add (presuming your league keeps a large amount of players), for now he’s a worth keeping an eye on as the Little Giant has picked up 5 points in his last 5 games. Unfortunately he’s averaging only 15:18 Mins per game but could easily develop into Brian Rafalski clone, and who wouldn’t want that?
Jay Harrison- Who? You know the Maple Leafs draft pick from 2001. The guy who wasn’t an NHL regular until last season. The same guy who prior to this season had not produced more then 10 pts in any NHL campaign. The same guy who…you know what, it doesn’t really matter what he has and hasn’t done in the past the fact of the matter is that Harrison has 7 pts in his past 10 games. That means you should be picking him up for your team. He’s not a sexy pick by any stretch, but for those that are searching for some scoring help from the blueline he’s worth an add. His ownership has skyrocket the past few days moving up to the 30% mark. He’s still an unrealiable asset but he’s worth the risk at this stage in the game.
Jonas Gustavsson- Could the Leafs have already had their franchise goalie in Gustavsson? Probably not, but should they give him some more run? The answer is obviously yes. Over the last 30 days both Gustavsson and James Reimer have made 6 starts. The results have been dramatically different. Here’s a quick break down-
Gustavsson- 4 W, 2.14 GAA, .927 SV%
Reimer- 2 W, 3.08 GAA, .912 SV%
It’s pretty clear that the Leafs have a better chance (of late) of winning games whent he Monster is between the pipes. Given the amount of uncertainty with the Leafs netminders it’s probably best to steer clear of the situation. Though if you must own one of the two I’d roll the dice with Gustavsson, he’s owned in 64.2% of ESPN leagues meaning he’s not likely available in your league. But if you’re in need of a goalie he’s worth the risk. Riemer on the other hand if owned in 52.8% of leagues, but without a couple of back to back strong performances that number will/should plummet.
Jonas Enroth- Can they just name him the starter already? Clearly Ryan Miller is not the same goalie as he was last season. The concussion he sustained from his run in with Boston’s Milan Lucic may have hurt him more then initally thought. Not only will be concussion prone now, he can’t stop the puck either. Movies and logic would dictate that the next sentence include the words, “Enter Jonas Enroth”, but logic doesn’t apply to the Sabres – see Ville Leino free agent signing.
Miller’s stats are abyssmal and there doesn’t seem to be any bright spots on the horizon either. Over the past month their numbers are polar opposites.
Miller-10 GS, 3 W, 3.12 GAA, .890 SV%
Enroth- 3 GS, 0 W, 1.90 GAA, .949 SV%
What’s amazing is that the Sabres continue to give the majority of starts to Miller despite the fact his numbers on the season- 3.12 GAA, .898 SV%- rank 42nd in GAA and 40th in SV%, so essentially he’s producing like a terrible back up goalie.
Combine those poor stats with his constant whining and you’ve got yourself a player to trade AWAY. If you own him trade him for anyone with a pulse, he’s likely already sunk your GAA and SV% beyond repair. Enroth on the other hand has been strong all season his 2.42 GAA, .924 SV% rates are strong and rank him 17th in GAA and 11th in SV% he’s owned in only 9% of ESPN leagues and while he’s not likely to get the majority of starts the rest of the way he’s clearly the safest bet between the pipes in Buffalo.
Scott Clemmensen- Ok so he’s not the best goalie around, but he’s better then Miller is so that stands for something right? The Panthers have been struggling of late, yes you could say it’s because of the absence of Jose Theodore between the pipes but Clemmensen hasn’t been terrible since he was thrust into the starters role. He’s started 8 of the Panthers last 10 games but only has 2 W to show for his efforts. He’s been relatively strong over his previous three starts against three strong teams, allowing 2 or fewer goals in two games, but the third game of 4 goals against has sunk his GAA and SV back in line with this season totals of 2.80 GAA, .908 SV%. He’s owned in 14.2% of ESPN leagues and though he’s not likely to turn into a stud he’s a better stop gap goalie then others that are likely available on your waiver wire.