Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
2013 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
 
 
 

Neutral Zone Wrap: Down the stretch we come

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

Even though the holiday season has long gone, presents can still be received in various ways. And like the definition suggests, many of them are unexpected providers of joy. Whether it is as minor as a day off work or as important as a wedding proposal (hi, honey!), everyone likes a good old-fashioned gift.

The same goes for Fantasy Hockey, especially in the Rotisserie format. With a maximum position allocation, contenders may shed decent starters to ensure quotas aren't exceeded. Or perhaps someone wants to gain or maintain their standing in a certain category but must give up ground in other stats. In a competitive league, either of these scenarios occurs often and leads to a higher quality of free agents.

If you still hold aspirations of winning or finishing well this season, then you must be sure to keep a close eye on league transactions. For the player you don't acquire could be the one who lifts your rival to glory. Although a better talent pool generally means any individual will not influence the whole thing. Unless that individual is someone who has magically returned to the NHL after ditching his contract many moons ago for the opportunity to play closer to home. But enough about Marty Turco.

As always, be sensible in your activity. Remember to figure out the best path for your squad, even if that means day-by-day roster planning. The games are dwindling, but your chances of doing well shouldn't. And on that note, here are a few not-so-hidden gems from five teams who may be of service:

Dallas may lead the Pacific today, but could very well be on the outside in two weeks. Heading into the weekend, the Stars sat third in the conference but were only one point out of 9th place (and only three out of 11th). It's nice to have captain Brenden Morrow on the ice again, even if the points (two in seven games, with a minus-5 but 15 PIM) are delayed. No matter how much others hate him, Steve Ott (eight in 12, 25 PIM, 38 hits) will keep proving naysayers wrong. It's been a long, cold winter for Eric Nystrom (two in 24) and little warmth has been bestowed upon Adam Burish (three in 15, only 16 PIM). Hard to gauge Sheldon Souray's performance (three in 14) when he's essentially hurting and being phased off the man-advantage; enter Trevor Daley and his moderately positive numbers (six in 14).

Bet you didn't expect Florida to keep up this pace, especially with Washington and Winnipeg close behind. Credit Tomas Fleischmann (six in seven, tied for team lead with 53) for being both consistent and healthy up front. No time missed for Tomas Kopecky, but the stats (four in six) are slowly catching up. Gotta love having a veteran like Mikael Samuelsson (five in five, including three power-play points) to spur the offense. Even defensive-minded Marcel Goc (four in six) has joined the party. He's usually good for a few shots, but it's been a while since Sean Bergenheim (three -- all goals -- in 11) did anything on a regular basis. After killing it for the first two-plus months, Dmitry Kulikov (knee surgery) will need to restore his place on the point after two months away. It's been four weeks (and 12 outings) since Jason Garrison netted one on the power play but he'll continue to lay the minutes (over 23 a night) in all situations.

It's a shame Chicago plays in the Central Division because they'd be dominating any other group (ditto for Detroit or Nashville). Andrew Shaw (seven in four, plus-6) has been the freshman find of 2011-12. Viktor Stalberg (six in six) has switched back to relevance at the perfect moment. Best known for flattening opponents, Bryan Bickell (five in four) has also contributed where it counts. All Marcus Kruger needed was a boost (four in seven) and a pat on the back. The whereabouts of Michael Frolik (healthy scratch for most of February and March) are murky at best. When the Hawks picked up Johnny Oduya (five in seven), few anticipated he'd be getting it done at the other end too. A little slowdown for Nick Leddy (two in 10), but expect another boon with the impending suspension of Duncan Keith.

With their playoff dreams crushed and tossed into the ocean, Anaheim can now focus on showcasing their youngsters. Cue Devante Smith-Pelly (two in three, 10 SOG) and his ascension to the top unit. Nick Bonino (three assists on Monday) has also been asked to step up his effort, along with former US junior standout Kyle Palmieri (five in five). Meanwhile, the old guard including Saku Koivu (two in 15, minus-4), Niklas Hagman (two in 15, minus-2), and Jason Blake (two in 16, minus-3) have disappointed of late. No doubt Cam Fowler (five in six, including two PPGs) would regain his magic touch. If only Luca Sbisa (one in 12) could manage anything close to even mediocre stats.

If Edmonton continues to draft well, then they'll be postseason regulars in no time. But alas, at least some truth exists in defense winning championships (and the club find themselves in 26th overall in goals against). Devan Dubnyk has looked promising recently (seven wins in 11, no more than three allowed per start) but is he the Oilers' long-term solution in net? No injury lag for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (10 in 13 since returning) and no new contract hangover for Ales Hemsky (scored four in two games since re-signing). We all realized Sam Gagner wouldn't hit Gretzky-like numbers every night, but the drop off (four in 14) has been dramatic. Nothing terribly exciting from Shawn Horcoff (four in 14, although three of them are PPPs), but there's a glimmer of promise from Teemu Hartikainen (three in three after 30 in 48 with the AHL affiliate). Corey Potter's decline (one in 10) becomes Jeff Petry's gain (four in three).

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Matt Beleskey
Ducks' Beleskey Out Friday
Matt Beleskey, LW, ANA
12:22 AM
News: Matt Beleskey (lower body) will not play in Friday's game against the Stars.
Analysis: The nature and extent of Matt Beleskey's setback are uncertain, but whatever ailment he is dealing with will prevent him from taking the ice Friday. Consider him questionable for Monday's Game 3.

Ryan Getzlaf
Ducks' Getzlaf Will Play Friday
Ryan Getzlaf, C, ANA
12:19 AM
News: As expected, Ryan Getzlaf will play Friday against the Stars.
Analysis: Ryan Getzlaf took a puck to the face in the Ducks' playoff opener Wednesday, but that won't prevent him from suiting up for the second game of the series Friday night. While Getzlaf will take the ice Friday, he will be without one of his regular linemates, as Matt Beleskey (lower body) will not play.

Ryan Miller
Despite Shaky Start, Blues' Miller Wins Game 1
Ryan Miller, G, STL
12:17 AM
News: After gifting the Blackhawks three goals on just seven first-period shots Thursday, Ryan Miller was perfect the rest of the way, turning aside the next 35 in a 4-3 triple overtime win in Game 1.
Analysis: The nightmarish start by Ryan Miller caused panic among the Scottrade Center faithful, but the veteran netminder settled in nicely to prevent a seventh straight Blues loss. He got a little help by Max Lapierre -- who prevented an overtime goal when he covered a gaping net to stone the Blackhawks' Kris Versteeg -- but sometimes you've gotta be good to be lucky. Miller and the Blues should tighten things up even further when Game 2 goes Saturday afternoon.

Patrik Berglund
Blues' Berglund Doubtful For Game 2
Patrik Berglund, C, STL
4/18/2014
News: Patrik Berglund (upper body) is doubtful to play in Saturday's Game 2 matinee against the Blackhawks, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Analysis: The versatile Swede -- who has played both at center and wing this season -- was also reported as "skating well and taking good shots" in the Blues' brief practice Friday. Fortunately for St. Louis, the absences of Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie, who also sat out Game 1 with an upper-body injury, were offset by the return of their 21-goal scorer Vladimir Tarasenko, playing in his first game since suffering a broken hand 15 games prior. It appears as though Oshie is closer to returning than Berglund, so while the Blues brass would no doubt like to see him back in action, their forward depth affords them the luxury to take their time with his ailment.

Steve Ott
Blues' Ott Receives Top Line Assignment
Steve Ott, C, STL
4/18/2014
News: Steve Ott spent Game 1 against the Blackhawks on the Blues' top line with captain David Backes and Alex Steen, the team's leading scorer. He was productive in his new role, setting up Steen's game-winner in triple OT and firing three shots on goal.
Analysis: Steve Ott, normally a bottom-six guy since arriving in St. Louis 24 games ago near the trade deadline, got the nod to fill in for the injured T.J. Oshie (upper body). The abrasive veteran actually saw the fourth most ice time (30:53) among Blues forwards in the triple OT marathon, and could get another shot with the big boys as Oshie is questionable to play in Game 2 on Saturday. His assist was just his fourth point as a member of the Blues.

Tuukka Rask
Rask, Bruins Drop Game 1
Tuukka Rask, G, BOS
4/18/2014
News: Tuukka Rask allowed one goal on 24 shots in Friday's 1-0 loss to Detroit in Game 1 of the teams' Atlantic Division semifinal series.
Analysis: Tuukka Rask was beaten late in the third period on a tremendous individual effort from Pavel Datsyuk he may not have seen completely. Rask played well in the game, but so did his counterpart, Jimmy Howard. Rask is the frontrunner for the Vezina Trophy and the Bruins will ride their star goalie every night of the playoffs.

Johan Franzen
Franzen On Scoresheet For Wings
Johan Franzen, LW, DET
4/18/2014
News: Johan Franzen assisted on the game's only goal Friday as Detroit beat Boston 1-0 in Game 1 of their Atlantic Division semifinal series.
Analysis: Johan Franzen is one of several experienced playoff performers on Detroit's roster and can be expected to fill a vital role until captain Henrik Zetterberg returns to action. Franzen's regular season was plagued with injury but he still managed 41 points in 54 games.

Pavel Datsyuk
Datsyuk Grabs Wings' Winner
Pavel Datsyuk, C, DET
4/18/2014
News: Pavel Datsyuk scored the only goal in Friday's 1-0 win over Boston in Game 1 of their Atlantic Division semifinal series, his 37th career playoff goal.
Analysis: The goal was a Pavel Datsyukian effort in every sense of the word as the Russian wizard collected the puck near his own zone by casually reaching behind him with one hand and pulling the puck up to his stick. After that it was simply a matter of skating through the Bruins defense and beating Tuukka Rask. Datsyuk will need to be at his best to continue Detroit's momentum against a strong Boston squad.

Jimmy Howard
Howard Guides Wings In Game 1
Jimmy Howard, G, DET
4/18/2014
News: Jimmy Howard turned away all of the 25 shots he faced in Friday's 1-0 victory over Boston in Game 1 of their Atlantic Division semifinal series.
Analysis: Jimmy Howard had been one of the league's better netminders in the month leading up to the playoffs and denied the presumptive Eastern Conference favorite in the series opener. The odds of Detroit leaving Boston up 2-0 are slim, but many believed the Wings wouldn't win Game 1. Howard will need to be one of the league's best goalies in the playoffs and he fired the opening salvo Friday.

David Desharnais
Desharnais Opens Montreal Scoring
David Desharnais, C, MON
4/18/2014
News: David Desharnais scored the opening goal in Friday's 4-1 win over Tampa Bay in Game 2 of the teams' Atlantic Division semifinal.
Analysis: David Desharnais deflected a P.K. Subban shot past Anders Lindback and grabbed a point for the second-consecutive game in the series. Considering the chemistry Desharnais has shown with Thomas Vanek and Max Pacioretty, one can assume he'll be productive if the Habs are to continue playing well.

 
 
 
Top Videos
Rankings