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
2015 Draft Prep Guide
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
Alex Biega
Biega Signs With Canucks
Alex Biega, D, VAN
7/1/2015
News: The Canucks re-signed Alex Biega to a one-year, two-way contract Tuesday, the Province reports. The deal is worth $600,000 at the NHL level.
Analysis: Alex Biega, who notched a goal in seven games with the big club in 2014-15, spent most of the season with AHL Utica, where he recorded 19 points in 62 games. The 27-year-old is thus slated to reprise his role as a depth blueliner for the Canucks' organization.

Drew Stafford
Jets Retain Stafford
Drew Stafford, RW, WPG
7/1/2015
News: Drew Stafford signed a two-year, $8.7 million deal to remain with the Jets on Tuesday, Sportsnet.ca's Elliotte Friedman reports.
Analysis: The 29-year-old Drew Stafford, who was acquired from Buffalo in February, finished up the 2014-15 season with 18 goals and 43 points in 76 games overall, but his production picked up with the Jets (19 points in 26 games), earning him a nice two-year payday with the team in advance of free agency. He'll likely be ticketed for a second- or third-line role this coming season.

Dougie Hamilton
Flames' Hamilton Signs Six-Year Deal
Dougie Hamilton, D, CGY
7/1/2015
News: Dougie Hamilton signed a six-year, $34.5 million deal with the Flames on Tuesday, Yahoo! Sports reports.
Analysis: Dougie Hamilton came over from Boston in a trade last week, and it appears he's viewed as a key part of the Flames' future. The 22-year-old, who showed flashes of promise as a member of the Bruins, notched 42 points in an average of 21:20 of ice time per game last season.

Patrick Wey
Caps Prospect Wey To Retire
Patrick Wey, D, WAS
5:49 PM
News: Patrick Wey has elected to retire after suffering two successive concussions with AHL Hershey last season.
Analysis: Patrick Wey's two-year, entry-level contract with the Capitals was set to expire July 1, and though he likely could have earned another contract with some organization, he decided to put his health at the forefront. The 24-year-old, who was drafted in the fourth round by the Capitals in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, previously appeared in nine games for the parent club in 2013-14.

Lauri Korpikoski
Coyotes Send Korpikoski To Edmonton
Lauri Korpikoski, LW, ARI
5:25 PM
News: Lauri Korpikoski was traded to the Oilers on Tuesday in exchange for center Boyd Gordon.
Analysis: Lauri Korpikoski was often miscast as a second-line player during his time with the Coyotes, but he should settle into a more natural third- or fourth-line role with Edmonton. The winger recorded six goals and 21 points in an injury-plagued 69 games in the desert last season.

Boyd Gordon
Oilers Ship Gordon To Arizona
Boyd Gordon, C, EDM
5:18 PM
News: Boyd Gordon (back) was traded to the Coyotes on Tuesday in exchange for forward Lauri Korpikoski.
Analysis: Boyd Gordon annually ranks as one of the best performers in the faceoff circle, as illustrated by his 55.9 percent winning rate in 2014-15. However, that's about where his fantasy value begins and ends, as he's never been a big scorer or hitter, even by the standards of a fourth-line player. Additionally, his plus/minus rating remained a regular risk during his tenure with a bad Oilers team, and that figures to remain the case in 2015-16 with the Coyotes projected to be one of the league's worst units.

Mike Richards
Report: Border Stop Why Kings Terminated Richards
Mike Richards, C, LA
5:13 PM
News: Mike Richards had his contract terminated by the Kings on Monday after he was allegedly stopped by police June 17 and questioned about illegal presciption drugs near a Canadian border crossing, according to a report from TMZ Sports.
Analysis: Mike Richards reportedly wasn't charged with a crime during the police stop, but was asked about the prescription painkiller Oxycodone. It's not clear from the report if Richards was even carrying the drug in question at the time, though the Kings evidently determined from the evidence that the incident represented a "material breach" of the forward's contract with the team. The Kings were thought to be pursuing a buyout of the remainder of Richards' 12-year, $69 million contract, so the timing of the report will likely lead the NHLPA to investigate the situation closely. Regardless of the outcome, Richards is officially an unrestricted free agent and will be free to sign with any team.

Bryan Lerg
Sharks Re-Sign Lerg
Bryan Lerg, LW, SJ
4:59 PM
News: Bryan Lerg re-signed with the Sharks on Tuesday to a one-year, two-way contract, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports.
Analysis: The 29-year-old Bryan Lerg had an impressive NHL debut with the Sharks in April, scoring a game-winning goal on a team-high eight shots against the Oilers, but he isn't expected to parlay that performance into a meaningful role during the upcoming season. Instead, he's likely to open with AHL Worcester, where he registered 13 goals and 41 points across 68 games in 2013-14.

Karl Stollery
Sharks Extend Stollery One Year
Karl Stollery, D, SJ
4:49 PM
News: Karl Stollery has signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Sharks.
Analysis: Karl Stollery appeared in a total of 10 NHL games last season between the Avalanche and the Sharks, but functioned primarily as AHL depth for both squads. He's slated to fill a similar role in 2015-16.

Nicklas Backstrom
Caps Hopeful Backstrom Ready For Start Of Season
Nicklas Backstrom, C, WAS
4:41 PM
News: GM Brian MacLellan said last week that he is hopeful Nicklas Backstrom (hip) will be ready to play by the start of the coming season, Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post reports. "He should be [ready] more than likely...he'll start the year, I'm counting on [it]," McLellan said. "I think his hip surgery went well. He'll be close to starting the year, it looks like...I know [from] talking to the trainer and the doctor that everything's gone well, they expect the rehab to go well. Optimistically, I'd say I'm hoping he's coming back for training camp."
Analysis: It's good to see that the Capitals are publicly expressing a positive outlook on Nicklas Backstrom, but the center's availability for the start of the season appears questionable nonetheless. Historically, arthroscopic hip surgeries have produced wide-ranging timetables for hockey players, with most recovery periods lasting 3-to-4 months. Moreover, it typically takes further time beyond that for players to regain their pre-surgery strength, making Backstrom something of a risky investment heading into 2015-16. The Capitals should have more concrete updates regarding Backstrom's health as training camp approaches, but the Swedish center might be best avoided for those in leagues with early draft dates.

 
 
 
Top Videos
Rankings