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
 
 
 

Blue Line Buzz: Gagner too good to be true

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

The season's unofficial second half has hit full stride as the race to the playoffs continues. For the sake of hockey fans and the interesting media coverage that will ensue, Toronto needs to be in the playoffs.

One of the dominant stories in hockey this week was the performance of another Canadian team, slightly to the northwest of Toronto, where Edmonton exploded in an 8-4 win over Chicago on Thursday. Sam Gagner stole the headlines everywhere with four goals and four assists, making him the answer to a trivia question that includes Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey. Sam is proving himself highly valuable for the Oilers, but 11 points over two games is a pace that won't last.

Gagner followed up that effort with three points in Saturday's shootout win over Detroit. He has factored into 11 of the last 12 goals the Oilers have scored, which must be some kind of record. If Gagner's name sounds familiar, he's been one of those players long on potential and taken late in drafts by owners, only to see him play a little inconsistently. He is also the son of former NHLer Dave Gagner, known for being one of Mike Modano linemates in the early days of the Dallas Stars. The two made quite a formidable duo on NHL '95.

Good Grief

While Edmonton is getting much healthier, welcoming Ryan Nugent-Hopkins back into the fold, the team is receiving production from a familiar face. Ryan Whitney is back on the league's radar, surely waiting to frustrate owners who, this time, believe that Whitney will be consistent, believe that Whitney will remain healthy, believe that Whitney will be a steal on the free agent wire. Just remember the phrase “good grief,” after your team tries to kick the football Lucy suddenly pulls away.

We've given Whitney a lot of flack in this column, some of it stemming from getting burned by him over the years, creating a sort of refusal to go anywhere near him, even after his 27 points in 35 games last year. Maybe I remember the years after his breakout season with the Penguins where he disappeared, or his poor play in the 2010 Olympics as he looked clueless on Jonathan Toews' opening goal for Canada in the gold medal game. Whitney has never been able to live up to expectations, whether it's poor performance or lack of production due to multiple injuries. Even Rick DiPietro feels bad for the injuries suffered by Ryan Whitney.

Despite my personal prejudices against Whitney, the veteran is having an impact in northern Alberta, thus making him a viable option. Whitney has enjoyed life after the All-Star break with five points over three games and his first goal in over a year (just like Scott Gomez, only Whitney can use injuries as an excuse). Whitney has missed time this season due to knee and ankle injuries, so it is hard to lump all of his eight points into a continuous 21-game span. The Whitney we're seeing post All-Star break is the one that is talented enough for owners to roll the dice with, even on as damaged of a commodity as there is in Fantasy hockey, especially when Edmonton's power play is clocking in at 22-percent.

(Truth be told, his career numbers are not too bad, he's simply a very frustrating player to own; one of those that is, seemingly, always injured when you own him).

New Jersey Defenders Scoring?

Seriously, it's not a fake headline. Brian Rafalski and Scott Niedermayer have not returned to the team, nor has Bruce Driver or the 2000-2002 version of Vladimir Malakhov. The Devils actually received goals from defensemen this weekend, which is welcomed news to those heady owners that had both Kurtis Foster and Anton Volchenkov in their lineups (didn't we all?). Logically, this means that Bryce Salvador and Andy Greene will soon usurp Erik Karlsson, Nicklas Kronwall and Shea Weber among the league leaders. Kidding aside, the Devils received goals from unexpected sources in games against Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Anton Volchenkov had not scored for close to two calendar years before tacking on a second goal for the Devils Sunday on Marc-Andre Fleury; the tally was his first since joining New Jerey in the summer of 2010. We're going to guess that more goals from the stalwart defender are unlikely. The big boost for New Jersey was the three-point game from Kurtis Foster in Saturday's 6-4 win over the Flyers. Foster slammed home two goals and assisted on another.

Despite Foster's status as the lone defender on the team's top power-play unit and the fact that he was brought to New Jersey primarily to improve the power play, he's been disappointingly inconsistent. The game prior to his three-point effort, Foster played just 5:21, being benched for his poor defensive play that led to two goals in the eventual win over Montreal.

Foster is probably available in your league, and for good reason. Foster has been a liability in the defensive zone and had one assist in five games before his breakout game on Saturday. He's chipped in since arriving in New Jersey occasionally, but nothing that will transform the team's power play into something to be feared, despite the red-hot Ilya Kovalchuk (nine points in the last three games) and Zach Parise (goals in four straight).

Weekly Whip-Around

Yes, Ryan Whitney is back, but the first week after the All-Star break saw several other defenders put up solid numbers, including some usual suspects in addition to names you don't expect to hear too often, other than Kurtis Foster.

Brent Burns is heating up in the Silicon Valley, posting four assists in three games this week while the Canucks' Alexander Edler continues his strong season, grabbing three points as well during the last week.

Mark Streit is in a tremendous situation on Long Island, steering the strong Islanders' power play with teammates John Tavares and Matt Moulson. Those looking for power play help in very deep leagues may want to eye up forward Frans Nielsen, who also sees time with the top unit.

Matt Carle and Joe Corvo each posted three assists this season along with Dallas' Alex Goligoski.

Anaheim's Luca Sbisa is a player that is certain to receive some attention on the waiver wire this week, as he snagged a goal and two assists in three games. Recently turning 22, Sbisa has been in the league several years already, arriving in Anaheim via the Chris Pronger with Philadelphia two years ago. Sbisa's 17 points this season are already a career high despite a paltry 41 shots on goal. The Italian-born defender is worth a look in deeper leagues, and his 17 points are good enough for fourth-best on the Ducks' blue line, just two points behind Lubomir Visnovsky and one behind fellow youngster Cam Fowler.

The Toronto trio of Cody Franson, Jake Gardiner and Luke Schenn (the Schenn that was not knocked out by Ilya Kovalchuk this weekend) each posted two points in the Leafs' three games. John-Michael Liles has returned to action for the Leafs, but the above three players can make some noise for the Buds.

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
Adam Clendening
Canucks' Clendening To Debut Sunday
Adam Clendening, D, VAN
12:56 AM
News: Adam Clendening will make his Canucks debut Sunday against the Wild, Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun reports.
Analysis: The Canucks were motivated to acquire the young blueliner from the Blackhawks after Kevin Bieksa (hand) was ruled out for six to eight weeks. Adam Clendening will immediately assume a spot on the club's third pairing, joining Luca Sbisa. While he won't eat up all of Bieksa's 21:16 average TOI, Clendening should slot in on the second power-play unit, displacing Yannick Weber. The rearguard lacks much experience at the NHL level, but did show a dash of offensive potential during his four-game stint with the Blackhawks earlier in the season, tallying a goal and an assist.

Derek Dorsett
Canucks' Dorsett Returns To Practice
Derek Dorsett, RW, VAN
12:50 AM
News: Derek Dorsett (neck) took part in Saturday's practice, Jon Abbott of TSN Radio Vancouver reports.
Analysis: Derek Dorsett appeared to be a full participant in his first practice since suffering the injury Wednesday against the Ducks, taking part in battle drills with the team's other healthy skaters. Coach Willie Desjardins indicated Dorsett will be a possible lineup option for Sunday's game against the Wild, but his status likely won't be known until the Canucks hold pregame warmups.

Alex Tanguay
Bruised Hand Knocks Avs' Tanguay Out Of Practice
Alex Tanguay, LW, COL
12:48 AM
News: Alex Tanguay missed Saturday's practice due to a bruised hand, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports.
Analysis: Alex Tanguay suffered the injury in Friday's game against Nashville, when a slap shot from Seth Jones ricocheted off his hand. He is expected to resume practicing with the team Monday, which would put him on track to play Tuesday against the Stars.

Martin Hanzal
Coyotes' Hanzal Has Upper-Body Injury
Martin Hanzal, C, ARI
12:45 AM
News: The Coyotes announced prior to Saturday's game against the Senators that Martin Hanzal is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: Martin Hanzal's injury was deemed "minor" by coach Dave Tippett on Friday, and the day-to-day designation would seem to verify that's indeed the case. The Coyotes will check in on his condition Sunday morning before deciding if he'll be available for the matinee with the Canadiens.

Colin McDonald
Isles Reassign McDonald
Colin McDonald, RW, NYI
12:42 AM
News: Colin McDonald was reassigned to AHL Bridgeport prior to Saturday's game against the Red Wings, Arthur Staple of Newsday reports.
Analysis: Colin McDonald was strictly considered an emergency option Saturday while Casey Cizikas contended with a foot injury. After Cizikas was able to skate during the warmup without incident, McDonald's services were no longer needed by the Islanders.

Tyler Kennedy
Sharks' Kennedy Gets In A Skate Saturday
Tyler Kennedy, C, SJ
12:37 AM
News: Tyler Kennedy (lower body) was able to take part in Saturday's morning skate, but won't be a lineup option for the Sharks' tilt with the Blackhawks, David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Analysis: Tyler Kennedy is reportedly dealing with muscle spasms in the lower-body injury, the fourth unique ailment he's had to deal with this season. The winger declined to put an estimate on a potential return date, but if he continues to practice without much pain over the next couple of days, he could be ready to go for Monday's match against Edmonton.

Nikita Nikitin
Oilers' Nikitin Ruled Out 4-6 Weeks
Nikita Nikitin, D, EDM
12:33 AM
News: Nikita Nikitin (shoulder) was officially ruled out for four to six weeks Saturday, Jack Michaels of the Oilers Radio Network reports.
Analysis: The Oilers will more than likely place Nikita Nikitin on injured reserve in the coming days while he contends with the long-term injury. His absence should go relatively unnoticed in the fantasy realm, as eight points and a minus-9 rating in 34 games don't exactly scream "roster me." Keith Aulie looks to be Nikitin's primary replacement on the Oilers' third defensive pairing.

Ben Scrivens
Oilers' Scrivens Garners Nod Saturday
Ben Scrivens, G, EDM
12:30 AM
News: Ben Scrivens will be in the cage for Saturday's game against the Flames, Jack Michaels of the Oilers Radio Network reports.
Analysis: After a capable showing Thursday against the Sabres during which he allowed two goals on 20 shots, Ben Scrivens will earn a second consecutive nod. The Oilers have been playing better hockey since the calendar turned to 2015, but it's still difficult to count on Scrivens for wins against the NHL's elite teams, and even middle-of-the-pack squads like the Flames. Scrivens' value is further hindered by the Oilers seemingly adopting a timeshare in goal, as Viktor Fasth has kept his name salient in the battle for starting duties.

Brett Ritchie
Stars' Ritchie To Sit Again Saturday
Brett Ritchie, RW, DAL
12:19 AM
News: Brett Ritchie will be held out of Saturday's game against the Coyotes while he continues to nurse an undisclosed injury, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports.
Analysis: While the Stars decided to activate Brett Ritchie from injured reserve Wednesday, his unavailability in the team's subsequent two games suggests he's not feeling 100 percent just yet. His next chance to play will come Tuesday against the Avalanche.

Erik Cole
Stars' Cole Out Again Saturday
Erik Cole, RW, DAL
12:17 AM
News: Erik Cole (upper body) will not play Saturday against the Jets, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports.
Analysis: Erik Cole will miss his third straight game due to the injury. He's been able to practice the last few days, so he'll remain in the day-to-day camp for the time being, with a return to action perhaps coming next week.

 
 
 
Top Videos
Rankings