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Blue Line Buzz: Making the moves

by | Rotowire.com
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Dan Boyle is wheeling and dealing for the red-hot Sharks. San Jose is flying toward the playoffs for what, we assume, will be another year of woeful underachievement prompting the seemingly annual debate as to whether the team's "window is closing."

Boyle has three goals and two assists through the last seven games, including a Scott Niedermayer-esque end-to-end rush against Minnesota from Wednesday. Boyle picked up the puck following a Wild clear and proceeded to blaze a path through a defense with more aplomb than Davy Crockett. Boyle has always been a consistent scorer, but he's currently three goals away from cracking double digits, a feat he hasn't achieved since the 2009-10 season. The goals are even more impressive considering this year is a shortened season. One of these years, Boyle's numbers will fall. Until then, he'll be one of the steadiest options for your blue line after the elite defenders are gone.

Boyle isn't the only defender producing regularly for the Sharks, although Brent Burns is basically a defender in name only right now. Burns has been skating at forward the last few weeks and been infinitely more productive at wing that he was in the several games he played on the blue line, giving owners forward production from a defenseman spot in their lineup; most leagues still have Burns listed a blue liner.

Since moving to forward on March 12, Burns has 13 points through 13 games with three goals and four assists over the last seven contests. Burns likely will be moved back to the blue line next season, one can assume, but he's been a great value for owners that snagged him late in drafts while he was still on injured reserve.

Back To The Future In DC

A quick glance at the recent statistics put up by Washington's highest-paid players will make Fantasy owners believe that it's 2010 again (when the Caps were Eastern Conference Regular Season Champions). The Caps saw themselves in the news this past week for dealing uber-prospect Filip Forsberg to Nashville for Martin Erat, a trade they'll surely regret (although Forsberg might not be as valuable in Nashville's system). Forsberg had the skills to be a top pick last June, but he slipped. ( Erat left Saturday's win over Florida with a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return)

The Forsberg folly aside, Washington is flying up the Eastern Conference standings, sitting atop the Southeast Division with 40 points. While technically tied with Winnipeg, the Caps have played two fewer games than the Thrashers Jets, thus have the tiebreaker. The Jets, however, are sitting in ninth place, two points behind the Islanders and Rangers, looking likely that the Southeast will get just one team in the playoffs again.

While Alexander Ovechkin has 13 goals in the last 11 games and Nicklas Backstrom is sitting third in the league with 33 assists (a goal and eight helpers in the last five contests), our old friend Mike Green, the most enigmatic Canadian player ever, has five goals and seven points in the last five contests. That's as many points as Green registered in 32 games during last season's injury-riddled, remarkably inconsistent campaign. Green and the Caps appear to be adjusting quite nicely to new coach Adam Oates' system, something that should play right into the talents of Green, Ovechkin and Backstrom.

Still In Phoenix

Much like the Phoenix Coyotes themselves, Keith Yandle has been enduring rumors about leaving the Desert. His name, however, was not called during Wednesday's trade deadline, leaving him with the ‘Yotes, at least for now. Yandle's been usurped on the ice by Oliver Ekman-Larsson but he's still delivering some production with eight points in the last nine contests, including four in the past three. As has been the case with most of Yandle's production this season, it's been concentrated. His 23 points have him sitting in eighth in the defensemen scoring race.

Yes, General Burkhalter

Even though he is not a defenseman, Phoenix winger Rob Klinkhammer has one of the best hockey names since Lucien Deblois. Klinkhammer is making an impact in his small sample size of NHL action, with four goals and four assists over 13 games, six of which have come in the last seven games. Phoenix are one of a host of Western Conference teams battling for a playoff spot and Klinkhammer is going to be a player for them in the season's final three weeks, provided he can find time while threatening to send Schultz to the Russian front.

-Since Paul Martin left the lineup with a broken wrist, Matt Niskanen has no points in those four games, despite seeing boatloads of power-play time (more than 3 minutes in two contests and 5:47 in another). With Kris Letang due back in the lineup soon, Niskanen's rate of production likely will stay similar to what it's been.

-Toronto Maple Leaf defender Mark Fraser is still making an impact in terms of plus-minus, sitting at a plus-14 with seven points, including a primary assist on Leo Kamorov's goal in Saturday's win over New Jersey, Fraser's former team.

-Edmonton's Justin Schultz has points in just two of his last 12 games, with an eight-game drought in that span. Early last week, Schutlz grabbed four points over two games, with a goal and two helpers in a win over Calgary. One can hope Schutlz will be more consistent next season, just don't pay too high of a price for his services.

-Jay Bouwmeester has adapted nicely to St. Louis in his first two games with the Blues, notching three assists over that span. He's currently playing alongside budding star Alex Pietrangelo, so that's a bit of an upgrade from his teammates in Calgary. Odds are Bouwmeester won't rake in the points for St. Louis, but he'll be a steady player on one of the deepest group of defensemen in the NHL. (Seriously, their third pairing is Roman Polak and Barrett Jackman).

-Vancouver's Dan Hamhuis continues to be steady, albeit unspectacular. The veteran has points in three of the last four games including a goal in Saturday's win over Vancouver.

-Your weekly P.K. Subban update finds the Toronto native rolling in points for the Habs (assisted on both Montreal goals Saturday). He has 32 points in 32 games and is the only NHL defenseman with double digit goals (10). He's making the contract he signed back in early February look like a pittance for what he'll see in two years. Subban is making a clear case to be the first defender taken next year over Erik Karlsson.

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Player News
Mike Green
Red Wings, Green Reach Three-Year Deal
Mike Green, D, WAS
12:57 AM
News: Mike Green signed a three-year, $18 million contract with the Red Wings on Thursday, ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun reports.
Analysis: In need of some more offensive ability from the right side of their defense, the Red Wings decided to make a run at Mike Green, who is perhaps the most accomplished scorer of all the free-agent blueliners. Though injuries have slowed his production in recent years, Green stayed relatively healthy with the Capitals in 2014-15, playing 72 games and tallying 10 goals and 45 points. He saw his ice time decline in Washington as a result of last summer's signing of Matt Niskanen, but the Red Wings should have no trouble clearing out a regular role for Green on their second pairing. He's also a candidate to see time on the second-unit power play, which should help aid him to another 40-point season.

Richard Bachman
Canucks Sign Bachman
Richard Bachman, G, EDM
12:56 AM
News: The Canucks signed Richard Bachman to a two-year deal on Wednesday, NHL.com reports.
Analysis: Richard Bachman, who went 3-2-0 with a 2.84 GAA and .911 save percentage in seven games with the Oilers last season, gives the Canucks some added netminding depth (to go along with Jacob Markstrom ) behind starter Ryan Miller.

Alex Burmistrov
Former First-Rounder Burmistrov Returning To Jets
Alex Burmistrov, C, WPG
12:46 AM
News: Alex Burmistrov signed a two-year, $3.1 million contract with the Jets on Wednesday, Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reports.
Analysis: Alex Burmistrov, the former No. 8 overall pick by the Jets in 2010 when the franchise was still located in Atlanta, will make his return to North America after spending the past two seasons with Kazan Ak-Bars of the KHL. The 23-year-old bolted for Russia in the summer of 2013 due in part to his lack of harmony with coach Claude Noel, but with Paul Maurice since taking over the helm for the Jets, it appears any discord has dissipated. Burmistrov never turned in outstanding production during his previous time in the minors or in the NHL, but now that's a little older, he could be a potential second- or third-line asset for the Jets.

Viktor Tikhonov
Tikhonov Leaves KHL For Blackhawks
Viktor Tikhonov, LW, ARI
12:38 AM
News: Viktor Tikhonov signed a one-year, $1.04 million contract with the Blackhawks on Wednesday, The Hockey News reports.
Analysis: After suiting up for St. Petersburg in the KHL for the last four seasons, Viktor Tikhonov was apparently quite eager to test himself in North America, as he reportedly took a $2 million pay cut to leave Russia. With the Blackhawks desperate to create cap room for the start of the coming season, the low-cost signing Tikhonov could be exactly what they need to create salary relief. Despite his minimal price, Tikhonov isn't completely bereft of value, as he was a former first-round selection by the Coyotes in 2008 and showed some scoring ability with St. Petersburg last season, supplying eight goals and 16 assists in 49 games. The Blackhawks will take a long look at him during training camp and see where he fits in best.

Matt Lindblad
Rangers Sign Lindblad
Matt Lindblad, C, BOS
12:27 AM
News: The Rangers signed Matt Lindblad on Wednesday, the Boston Herald reports.
Analysis: The 25-year-old Matt Lindblad, who notched 22 points in 47 games for AHL Providence last season, gives the Rangers' organization added forward depth, but he remains a break or two from the fantasy radar in his new playing context.

David Warsofsky
Warsofsky Signs With Pittsburgh
David Warsofsky, D, BOS
12:22 AM
News: David Warsofsky signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Penguins on Wednesday, the Boston Herald reports.
Analysis: The smallish David Warsofsky, who recorded 15 points in 40 games for AHL Providence this past season, brings good mobility to the table, though ultimately his fantasy utility hinges on whether or not he sees power play duty if/when he sees action with the Penguins. If so, he carries some sleeper value in deeper formats.

John Moore
Devils Give Moore Three-Year Deal
John Moore, D, ARI
12:17 AM
News: John Moore signed a three-year, $5 million contract with the Devils on Wednesday, Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger reports.
Analysis: After he was surprisingly non-tendered by the Coyotes on Monday, John Moore didn't take long to latch on with a new team in unrestricted free agency. The 24-year-old Moore offers a left-handed shot and ideal size (6-foot-3, 202 pounds) for a Devils defense that already has a good young core in place. The blueliner tallied two goals and 11 points across 57 games with the Rangers and Coyotes last season.

Greg Pateryn
Habs Extend Pateryn
Greg Pateryn, D, MON
12:16 AM
News: Greg Pateryn signed a two-year contract extension with the Canadiens on Wednesday, CTV Montreal reports.
Analysis: "Greg is a young defenceman who has developed very well. He enjoys the physical play and brings more depth to our defensive group," GM Marc Bergevin noted of the blueliner. In 17 regular season games with the Canadiens this past season, Greg Pateryn did not record a point, though the 25-year-old defender did manage three helpers in seven playoff games.

Barret Jackman
Preds Sign Jackman To Two-Year Deal
Barret Jackman, D, STL
12:13 AM
News: Barret Jackman signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the Predators on Wednesday, Adam Vingan of The Tennessean reports.
Analysis: After 12 years in St. Louis, Barret Jackman will join another franchise for the first time in his career. As was the case during his final few seasons with the Blues, Jackman will be suiting up for one of the league's deeper defensemen ranks, as he'll join a Predators roster that includes All-Stars Shea Weber and Roman Josi and promising youngsters Ryan Ellis and Seth Jones. Those four players figure to shoulder most of the offensive burden from the blue line, leaving Jackman to do what he does best -- agitating opposing forwards and providing sound decision-making in front of his own net.

P.A. Parenteau
Parenteau Signs With Leafs
P.A. Parenteau, RW, MON
12:08 AM
News: The Maple Leafs signed P.A. Parenteau to a one-year deal on Wednesday, TSN.ca reports.
Analysis: P.A. Parenteau, whose contract was bought out by the Habs, notched 22 points in 56 games for Montreal last season. He'll look to bounce back with the Leafs and if he secures a more prominent role with his new team -- a plausible outcome -- the 32-year-old forward is capable of a rebound in 2015-16.

 
 
 
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