Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Neutral Zone Wrap: Who's hot and who's not?

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

Welcome back to another season of the Wrap. All the pertinent Fantasy hockey information spread over eight months, along with other details I'm sure you won't be looking for. Statistics, anecdotes, recipes, random board-game analysis. Even a few guest appearances thrown in for good measure.

With opening night just days away, it's time to prepare for hours and hours of viewing enjoyment. And, of course, to get ready for your own Fantasy campaign. Even if you have already completed your draft, it's never too late to take a look at what's available or what the other owners are doing. Here's a look at who might peek out from under the radar and who might as well hide under a rock.

Of course, the following examples should not be solely based or influenced by major injuries. So I don't want to hear complaints about how Player X never lived up to my expectations because he missed three-quarters of the season after breaking his leg pulling weeds in his yard.

Top 6 Fantasy Surprises

Some may not yet be household Fantasy names, but they're trying hard to hit a higher level. Others may have been relevant commodities at some point, but have recently undergone a change in circumstances to allow for an upswing:

David Booth, F, Florida: It's been nearly two years since Booth was lying on the ice thanks to a Mike Richards shoulder. Another five months passed before the Michigan State alum was knocked out again. Two concussions may be tough to recover from, but Booth managed to suit up for the entire 2010-11 season (although only counting 40 points). Even though Florida now boasts a deeper forward contingent, Booth remains one of the veterans and should excel with Stephen Weiss in all situations.

Cody Franson, D, Toronto: When the Predators needed to shed salary during the summer, Brian Burke came calling and found two serviceable skaters. While Franson may not wow anyone with spectacular numbers (50 points in 141 games during his Nashville stay) or the solid use of his 6-foot-5 frame (you might have guessed more than 46 combined PIM), he can still hurt anyone with his rocket shot. That trait alone should get a look on the Leafs' top power-play unit, thereby making him a decent Fantasy buy.

Steve Mason, G, Columbus: The 2009 Calder Trophy winner has endured significant setbacks the last two years (GAAs over 3.00, SV percentage in danger of going below .900), but he's done more than enough to learn from his mistakes. While Mathieu Garon had pushed Mason for the starting gig during this downturn, newcomer Mark Dekanich should prove to be a lesser worry. And with the Blue Jackets adding some solid personnel the last few months, there is no reason Mason cannot return to his top-10 form.

Jared Spurgeon, D, Minnesota: With Marek Zidlicky's time winding down and Brent Burns' exodus to the West Coast, the time is right for Spurgeon to shine. Not the tallest blueliner at 5-foot-9, but offensively gifted and someone who will be relied upon to replace Burns on the power-play (thanks to his six power-play points to end 2010-11). The coaches really like the 21-year-old and have publicly stated Spurgeon should receive more ice time. Think that's enough evidence to at least take a flyer on the kid.

Marco Sturm, F, Vancouver: A veteran who knows how to contribute, regardless of location. And with the Vancouver injuries currently rising up front (Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond the notables on this list), Sturm should seamlessly slide in and help the offense for the long haul. He’s a good bet to see action on either the second or third line, mainly as a result of having accumulated seven 20-goal seasons over his career.

Steve Sullivan, F, Pittsburgh: With Sidney Crosby's status still unsettled, there's room for other forwards to grab the leftovers. Enter Sullivan, who was brought in for his experience (13 seasons, 890 games), toughness (comeback after major injury), and power-play skills (192 career power-play points). While he's currently experiencing similar symptoms that necessitated surgery late last season, Sullivan has been given enough rest to recover and provide Pittsburgh with a fine secondary scoring option.

Honorable Mention: Zach Bogosian, D, Winnipeg; Marcus Johansson, F, Washington; David Jones, F, Colorado; Ondrej Pavelec, G, Winnipeg; Ian White, D, Detroit; Colin Wilson, F, Nashville)

Top 6 Fantasy Duds

Want to find a new recruit for your squad? Don't look here! Well, OK, make sure you take a note of the following names to ensure they don't find a way on your roster. A few have held the position of perennial underachiever, while a couple could slip into an unfavorable position:

Brian Campbell, D, Florida: Kudos to Chicago for dumping this albatross of a contract on Florida (at still over $35 million owed). Once regarded as one of the best two-way defensemen, Campbell's role has regressed every year since he signed that monster deal in 2008. He should earn a boost moving to the Sunshine State, but it'll take a hit having to compete with Dmitry Kulikov, Ed Jovanovski, Jay Garrison and even Erik Gudbranson. And forget about that sparkling plus-28 rating from last season, since the Panthers - even with multiple additions - still own a shaky goaltending corps.

Erik Cole, F, Montreal: The stats don't lie and they tell us Cole seems to do well only when paired with Eric Staal. Since their partnership began in 2005-06, the power forward amassed 254 points in 343 outings. That's not to take anything away from Michael Cammalleri, Tomas Plekanec or Brian Gionta, but it may take a little longer for them to synch up with the 32-year old American. It only took 63 games for Edmonton to realize Cole's shortcomings outside of Carolina. Maybe this revelation will come sooner in arguably the most discerning hockey city.

Olli Jokinen, F, Calgary: Like Campbell, another gold member of the where-have-my-skills-gone club. Not too shabby the last three seasons (each one in the 50-point range), but well under his output during the previous cycle (averaging 75). You would have expected hooking up with Jarome Iginla would solve all of Jokinen's problems. But alas, the Calgary captain cannot work miracles inside the enigmatic Finn's head. Mikael Backlund is ready to take the next step at center, while Brendan Morrison and Matt Stajan could easily push Jokinen down the depth chart.

P.A. Parenteau, F, N.Y. Islanders: Parenteau surprised many when he notched 53 points on a mediocre Islander lineup. But while the former ninth-round pick is projected to skate with John Tavares on the first line, the fight on the right side will be intense. With the return of Kyle Okposo for a full season and phenom Nino Niederreiter ready for the big show, Parenteau won't be able to caddy Tavares all the time (unless your name is Matt Moulson). And the Island's other revelation, Michael Grabner, is set to at least maintain his stellar rookie numbers so there's not a lot of room for Parenteau to grow.

Jonathan Quick, G, Los Angeles: Those loud footsteps Quick may be hearing belong to Jonathan Bernier, who has been waiting for his No. 1 moment since being drafted by the Kings in 2006. Both coaching staff and management have continued to stick by Quick, thanks in large part to his stats (74 wins, 10 shutouts the last two years) and durability (132 starts, no injuries over the same time period). Bernier started to eat into the workload last season (25 appearances, three shutouts) and could take an even bigger bite should he string together a series of solid performances.

James Wisniewski, D, Columbus: An above-average power-play quarterback, but well under the mark when it comes to um, well, body positioning. He's already suspended for the first eight regular season contests thanks to a late hit during preseason action. The move to Columbus should perfectly suit Wisniewski, but don't be surprised if others like Fedor Tyutin and Grant Clitsome (and yes, Kris Russell, too) start to snipe his man-advantage minutes as the season progresses.

Honorable Mention: Craig Anderson, G, Ottawa; Brett Clark, D, Tampa Bay; Tim Connolly, F, Toronto; Roman Hamrlik, D, Washington; Tomas Holmstrom, F, Detroit; Ville Leino, F, Buffalo

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Frederik Andersen
Ducks' Andersen Draws Start Tuesday
Frederik Andersen, G, ANA
1/28/2015
News: Frederik Andersen will be in the crease for Tuesday's game against the Canucks, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports.
Analysis: Frederik Andersen closed the first half on a high note, winning six straight games to boost his season record to an outstanding 26-6-5 record. He's set to face a similarly hot goalie Tuesday in Ryan Miller, who has won three of his last four while surrendering a combined total of four goals in that span.

Brett Ritchie
Stars' Ritchie Remains Out Tuesday
Brett Ritchie, RW, DAL
1/28/2015
News: Brett Ritchie (undisclosed) will not return to the lineup Tuesday against the Canadiens.
Analysis: Brett Ritchie looked like he would slot back into the lineup after practicing fully Monday, but he didn't take part in regular line work during Tuesday's morning skate to suggest that he'll remain out. The Stars continue to list Ritchie on injured reserve, so the team will have to make a roster move in order to facilitate his return to active duty, which could come ahead of Thursday's game against the Senators.

Patrick Eaves
Stars Activate Eaves (Lower Body) From IR
Patrick Eaves, RW, DAL
1/28/2015
News: Patrick Eaves (lower body) has been activated from injured reserve and will return to the lineup Tuesday against the Canadiens.
Analysis: Patrick Eaves missed the Stars' previous 21 games with an ankle injury. It sounded like he was ready to play as early as last week, but since the All-Star break was set to take place, the Stars elected to give the winger some further time to rest. Based on how line rushes were conducted at morning skate, it appears Eaves will skate on the top trio with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin to start Tuesday's game.

Trevor Daley
Stars' Daley (Groin) Will Play Tuesday
Trevor Daley, D, DAL
1/28/2015
News: Trevor Daley (groin) was on the ice for morning skate and looks poised to return to the lineup Tuesday against the Canadiens.
Analysis: Trevor Daley returned to practice Monday after missing the Stars' final three games prior to the All-Star break. The extra time off during the break was likely all Daley needed to get fully healthy, and he'll now be ready to rejoin Jason Demers on the Stars' second pairing Tuesday. The blueliner leads all Dallas blueliners with 11 goals on the season.

Nikita Zadorov
Sabres' Zadorov To Join Team In Calgary
Nikita Zadorov, D, BUF
1/28/2015
News: Nikita Zadorov will join the Sabres in Calgary for Tuesday's game and will have his team-imposed suspension lifted once he arrives, Bob McKenzie of TSN reports.
Analysis: While it looks like all his forgiven after Nikita Zadorov didn't report back to the Sabres back in time following the All-Star break, it still seems likely that he'll sit out Tuesday's game as a healthy scratch. It sounds like Zadorov simply had a issue with his flight rather than neglecting to return on time, but because he's previously irked the Sabres with his lack of maturity, the team was less understanding about his absence. Look for him to rejoin the lineup before the Sabres' road trip draws to a conclusion.

Jhonas Enroth
Sabres Turn To Enroth On Tuesday
Jhonas Enroth, G, BUF
1/28/2015
News: Jhonas Enroth is slated to start Tuesday's game against the Flames, Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News reports.
Analysis: With Michal Neuvirth dealing with a lower-body injury, Jhonas Enroth and Matt Hackett are in line to handle the Sabres' goaltending duties for the time being. Of course, with the team on an 11-game slide, there's not much fantasy upside to be had with either of the two keepers.

Zbynek Michalek
Coyotes' Michalek (Upper Body) Set To Play Tuesday
Zbynek Michalek, D, ARI
1/28/2015
News: Zbynek Michalek (upper body) is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday against the Flyers, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: Zbynek Michalek hasn't played since Jan. 17 due to the upper-body injury, but looks to be good to go after returning to practice Monday. The blueliner, who has seven points and a minus-4 rating in 42 games this season, will form a pairing with the more offensive-minded Oliver Ekman-Larsson on Tuesday.

Devan Dubnyk
Wild's Dubnyk Draws Tuesday Start
Devan Dubnyk, G, MIN
1/28/2015
News: Devan Dubnyk has been confirmed as the starter in net for Tuesday's game against the Oilers.
Analysis: With fellow goaltender Darcy Kuemper currently with AHL Iowa on a conditioning assignment, Devan Dubnyk is slated to make his fifth straight start in net for the Wild on Tuesday.

Nick Schultz
Flyers' Schultz (Upper Body) Set To Play Tuesday
Nick Schultz, D, PHI
1/28/2015
News: Nick Schultz (upper body) appears set to play Tuesday against the Coyotes, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: Nick Schultz was sidelined for the Flyers' final game prior to the All-Star break due to the injury, but a full week off to recover appears to have done the trick for the blueliner. He's expected to pair up with Michael Del Zotto in the Flyers' first game of the second half.

Jaromir Jagr
Devils' Jagr (Illness) Set To Play Wednesday
Jaromir Jagr, RW, NJ
3:17 PM
News: Jaromir Jagr (illness) practiced fully Tuesday and expects to play Wednesday against the Maple Leafs, Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger reports.
Analysis: Jaromir Jagr is feeling no ill effects of the flu bug that sidelined him prior to the All-Star break. Look for the aging winger to reunite with Adam Henrique and Scott Gomez on a line during Wednesday's match.

 
 
 
Top Videos
Rankings