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

Blue Line Buzz: Defensive movers and shakers

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

Observations and Ponderings

Mark Streit may be one of the league's best offensive defensemen no one talks about, as he suffers from the same disease as John Tavares: being a member of the New York Islanders. Streit's overtime goal against Los Angeles on Saturday was Scott Niedermayer-esque. Streit collected the puck at center ice, built up speed and smoothly navigated his way through all four Kings' players and placed a slick backhander past Jonathan Quick. True, Streit is not greatest shut-down defender in the league, so we'll disregard his minus-19 rating, but he has goals in the last two games and three points over the last four contests. If you can take the plus-minus hit, grab him before your league's trade deadline. He runs a power play with Tavares and the quietly productive Matt Moulson, logs a ton of minutes each night and has 31 points on the season.

One of the best saves of the season undoubtedly had to be Dallas netminder Kari Lehtonen's pad save against Buffalo's Thomas Vanek Friday in the waning seconds of overtime. Lehtonen denied Vanek a tap-in after a nifty drop pass from his teammate, Christian Ehrhoff, as Lehtonen somehow lifted his leg off the ice while sprawled out on his stomach. Dallas eventually lost in a shootout, but Lehtonen's mind-blowing save secured a much-needed point for the Stars.

Those looking for slick stick handling, will want to check out Jamie McGinn's goal for the Sharks from Friday night, which iced their win over Chicago. McGinn stunned Corey Crawford from the side of the goal, changing the angle thanks to some deftly skilled dragging of the puck.

Philadelphia simply can not beat the Rangers, and made it five losses to their rivals Saturday. It does not matter if Sergei Bobrovsky or Ilya Bryzgalov is between the pipes. Bryzgalov missed the game with the flu, but he seems to be conspicuously absent from games against stronger teams. When Bryz does play, it's a rough outing as evidenced by last Sunday against the Rangers and two weeks ago against Boston. Regardless, the Flyers seem to be reverting to their goonish ways on occasion thanks to Tom Sestito and Zac Rinaldo, who combined for 43 penalty minutes on Saturday.

However, Scott Hartnell is enjoying a career season and roused the Philly faithful with a unique goal celebration Thursday against Toronto. After slamming home the game's opener, Hartnell immediately celebrated by fighting Dion Phaneuf, who had leveled him moments earlier. The fight seemed to draw a greater response than the goal.

If you weren't fortunate enough to grab Hartnell during the draft, hopefully you snagged his teammate Wayne Simmonds or New Jersey's David Clarkson in leagues that reward penalty minutes. Both are having career seasons; Clarkson has 21 goals and is close to cracking the 100 penalty minute barrier. Simmonds has been red hot since the All-Star break with five goals and two assists along with 12 penalty minutes.

If Evgeni Malkin does not win the Hart Trophy this season, then the same people who vote in college football polls now cast the ballots for the NHL's awards. Malkin has carried an injury-riddled Pittsburgh squad through the league's toughest division (or second-toughest, if you favor the Central) into playoff contention and starred in Saturday's boat race with Winnipeg, notching five points. Malkin's quiet leadership and ability to improve those around him is exemplary.

Staying in Pittsburgh, Kris Letang rejoined his team's success with a two-goal, three-point effort in Saturday's win over Winnipeg, ending a six-game point drought, his longest of the season.

You have to give Montreal's Tomas Plekanec credit for flying so boldly in the face of fashion. He singlehandedly has to be keeping the mock turtleneck makers the NHL uses in business, especially considering the hit designers took when Alexei Yashin retired.

NBC is continuing to promote their seven-team league on Sunday afternoons, with Washington and the Rangers facing off in the national spotlight this week. I'm not advocating the inclusion of Columbus and Minnesota on a weekly basis, but acknowledge a few more teams than the usual seven.

Colorado's Erik Johnson scored a goal Saturday. And no, that's not a typo. Johnson notched his first tally since December 17 and just his second of the season, meaning Johnson is only nine goals behind St. Louis' Chris Stewart on the year. Johnson has had a disappointing first full season in Denver, with 20 points through 51 games. Cracking 30 points, which Johnson should do, is still a good benchmark for a defender, but the Avs had been expecting more from the former first overall pick.

Despite scoring one goal since the New Year, San Jose's Brent Burns is on a tear the last week, with eight assists in the last four games. Burns started slowly, by his standards, but a good finish can put him close to the 40-plus points San Jose had been hoping for when they dealt for him this past summer.

Lucy Moved The Football Again

After Ryan Whitney jumped in on Edmonton's fun last week, and Fantasy owners pounced on him, but Whitney disappointed owners this past scoring period. The brittle blue liner failed to register a point in three games this week, not contributing to any of Edmonton's nine goals. He's notoriously streaky, but his bull market phases help owners immensely, you just have to deal with the bear market days.

Another Panther on the Prowl?

Florida defender Jason Garrison, still leading all NHL defensemen with 13 goals, left Saturday's win over New Jersey with a lower-body injury, playing only 9:08. Garrison has been quiet lately compared to his rate of production earlier in the season, with five points in the last 15 games. Garrison will not play in Sunday's game, according to Florida play-by-play announcer Steve Goldstein. The nature of Garrison's injury is not known, but if he is out for a while, the Panthers will be down both him and Dmitry Kulikov.

True, Kulikov's production while he has been injured was the same as when he was playing prior to the injury, but the Panthers need someone other than Brian Campbell to shoulder the load. Youngster Erik Gudbranson played solidly in Saturday's win over New Jersey, grabbing an assist and seeing power-play time later in the game. Gudbranson has just five points on the season but boasts tremendous upside as one of the Panthers' top prospects. The former third overall pick who played his OHL hockey in Kingston probably won't challenge Erik Karlsson for the defensemen scoring lead, but he did pot 12 goals his last year in the OHL. Gudbranson has been on the radar of keeper league owners since 2010 and he could see a boost in value if Garrison is injured for a while. Gudbranson is a physical player with much upside.

Sword Play

Buffalo enigma Tyler Myers has been enjoying his team's recent run of success, as Ryan Miller is not the only player apparently turning their game around. Let's face it, Myers was primed for a bounceback season only to start abysmally, yet is starting to find his way back to relevance. Myers grabbed an assist in three straight games this past week while his teammate, Christian Ehrhoff, had a goal and an assist in two contests. There is nowhere but up to go for both Myers and Ehrhoff, but they appear to be on their way, following their teammates' lead.

Talk To Me, Goose

It might seem like we're jumping to conclusions, but Pittsburgh may have won the James Neal-for-Alex Goligoski trade from last winter. Goligoski can still go on to have a great career, but it won't be riding shotgun with Malkin or Sidney Crosby. Goligoski has certainly had his ups and downs this season, but the Minnesota native is turning the corner as Dallas battles for a playoff berth. Goligoski has six points over the last six games and eight in the last eight dating back to before the All-Star break. The talent has always been there, as evidenced by his breakout season last year, but it has been frustrating as he is one of those players that has too much potential to simply reserve on a weekly basis.

Conversely, Sheldon Souray has been mostly invisible since the calendar turned to 2012, as he has two points in 13 games. Souray is battling an ankle injury, but given that he has five points since November 11, most owners probably moved on after being rewarded with a strong start.

Something Blue

To say Columbus is having a slightly forgettable season is putting it lightly. Newly acquired Jeff Carter is a shell of himself and Rick Nash remains buried in obscurity. The Jackets did get a glimpse of their future this past week courtesy of rookie defenseman David Savard, who registered a two-point night in Tuesday's rare win, grabbing his first career goal. Keep your eye on him. Fedor Tyutin continues to lead the way for Columbus rearguards with 22 points. Sure, he has a minus-14 and his three points over two games may have ended a nine-game points drought, but he could be kicking around on your league's waiver wire if you're willing to endure his inconsistency.

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
Brandon McMillan
Coyotes' McMillan Day-To-Day
Brandon McMillan, LW, ARI
11:58 AM
News: Brandon McMillan is not playing Monday due to a lower body injury, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: The lower body issue is reportedly not serious, so Brandon McMillan should be able to return to action at some point this week, and is expected to be fully healthy for the regular season.

Evgeny Kuznetsov
Trotz: Kuznetsov and Johansson Are "Head To Head"
Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, WAS
11:52 AM
News: Capitals head coach Barry Trotz indicated Evgeny Kuznetsov and Marcus Johansson are going "head to head" for the second-line center position during a press conference prior to Monday night's preseason game against the Flyers.
Analysis: The declaration at least puts to bed some concern that Brooks Laich was also involved in the competition, but Trotz's words and Laich's appearance on the left wing during Sunday's preseason action against Buffalo seem to corroborate the idea that the second-line center job will go to either Evgeny Kuznetsov or Marcus Johansson. A popular pick to win the Calder Trophy this season, Kuznetsov's value will certainly rise if he can win the job. Keep an eye on the situation, as the talented Russian is oozing sleeper potential at the moment.

Marcus Johansson
Trotz: Kuznetsov and Johansson Are "Head To Head"
Marcus Johansson, C, WAS
11:47 AM
News: Capitals head coach Barry Trotz indicated Marcus Johansson and Evgeny Kuznetsov are going "head to head" for the second-line center position during a press conference prior to Monday night's preseason game against the Flyers.
Analysis: Marcus Johansson spent most of last season alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom on the team's top line, but the new regime seems to think Johansson could contend for the second-line center job. It's worth noting that Johansson has been handed that role before and failed to generate the kind of production needed to keep the job. Keep an eye on this battle through training camp, as Johansson needs to be on a scoring line to have much fantasy impact.

Jonathan Drouin
Bolts Send Drouin (Upper Body) For More Tests
Jonathan Drouin, LW, TB
11:32 AM
News: Jonathan Drouin (upper body) as shown little improvement in his injury over the last week and has been sent for further testing, reports Eric Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune.
Analysis: Expect him to miss the rest of the week as a result. We're a little worried about the lack of progress -- fingers crossed there's no surgery in his future. Jonathan Drouin is expected to play an integral role with the Bolts this season.

Jon Merrill
Devils' Merrill Recovering
Jon Merrill, D, NJ
11:11 AM
News: Jon Merrill (head) will resume workouts either Monday or Tuesday, Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record reports.
Analysis: Jon Merrill collided with Ruslan Fedotenko Sunday, but head coach Peter DeBoer said the defenseman is already feeling better, and should continue working out again soon. He'll continue to progress, and should be ready to go for the start of the regular season.

Brett Connolly
Bolts' Connolly: Top-Nine Gig On Horizon
Brett Connolly, RW, TB
10:37 AM
News: The Lightning are counting on Brett Connolly to not only make the team this season, but to also battle for top-nine minutes, reports the Tampa Bay Times. "Obviously it's a big year," Connolly said. "I'm excited. I put the work in this summer. I'm still confident in my game, and I'm really excited to prove to a lot of people that I do belong here."
Analysis: Brett Connolly needs to earn a job, but the reality is that he must pass waivers in order to be sent down. So the Bolts will do whatever it takes to keep him. He has been working out with Steven Stamkos and former NHLer Gary Roberts in Toronto all summer. And he's improved his defensive game to the point where he's no longer just a one-dimensional sniper. There's fantasy value in him if he earns a top-nine gig. Watch camp carefully.

Paul Byron
Flames' Byron Day-To-Day
Paul Byron, C, CGY
10:28 AM
News: Paul Byron is day-to-day with a lower body injury, Pat Steinberg of Sportsnet 960 reports.
Analysis: Unless more information comes out about the nature of Paul Byron's injury, it's safe to assume that he'll be ready in time for the start of the regular season. the center posted seven goals and 14 assists in 47 games with the Flames last season.

Ryan Johansen
Jackets' Johansen Lowers Contract Demand
Ryan Johansen, C, CLB
10:26 AM
News: Ryan Johansen has decreased his contract demands and has gone back to the Blue Jackets with an offer of a two-year deal worth $9.4 million, reports TSN.ca. The offer is down more than $2 million a season from the original offer from his camp, but is still $1.7 million from the team's last position.
Analysis: The Jackets are unlikely to bite given their insistence on pursuing a bridge style contract with their most talented player.

Devin Setoguchi
Flames' Setoguchi Day-To-Day
Devin Setoguchi, RW, WPG
10:22 AM
News: Devin Setoguchi is day-to-day with a lower body injury, Pat Steinberg of Sportsnet 960 reports.
Analysis: There's no word on the nature of Devin Setoguchi's injury, but the fact that the team is calling him day-to-day is a good sign that he'll be ready to suit up for the start of the regular season.

Valeri Nichushkin
Stars' Nichushkin Skates
Valeri Nichushkin, RW, DAL
10:11 AM
News: Valeri Nichushkin (groin) skated Monday, Mark Stepneski of the team's official site reports.
Analysis: The 19-year-old winger has been battling through a groin injury lately, but is almost ready to return to game action, and should be ready to go in time for the regular season.

 
 
 
Top Videos
Rankings