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: Devils you should know

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

The Devil You Need To Know

New Jersey has not been a bastion of reliability for offensive defensemen the last seven seasons. Basically, since Brian Rafalski left, the Devils have had just a handful of memorable seasons from offensive defenders, thanks to Paul Martin and Andy Greene. On Thursday, the Devils received a glimpse at another defender who could have an impact offensively in Eric Gelinas.

Gelinas scored New Jersey's second goal in Thursday's shootout loss to Vancouver and assisted on one of New Jersey's goals in Saturday's comeback win over Boston. Both points came on the power play. Gelinas was sent back to Albany (AHL) on Sunday to make room for Bryce Salvador's return to the team, as Salvador had been away from the team due to a death in his family.

Gelinas was one of only two defensemen on the team's roster who didn't need to go through waivers to be sent down and the prevailing wisdom is that the Devils are making room for him on their roster, as noted by The Bergen Record's Tom Gulitti. Gelinas has offensive upside and is not shy about shooting the puck, as he was leading Albany in shots on goal prior to his being called up with 20 in five games. In his two contests with the Devils, Gelinas averaged 3:05 on the power play, second only to Marek Zidlicky among New Jersey defensemen. It would behoove the Devils to make a roster spot for this young man, but this is the organization that gave Ryane Clowe $4.75 million per season for the next five years. While the Devils may be foolish at times, they recognize the impact Gelinas can make; he's since been recalled and will remain with the Devils.

Gelinas should be a target in deeper leagues but remember that rookie defenders are prone to have dips in their production. Also of note with the Devils is the fact that Zidlicky is tied for the team's scoring lead with Jaromir Jagr. Zidlicky has a goal and eight assists, with four of those points coming on the power play. Use him at your own risk.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson took a few weeks to wake up, but the Desert Dog is howling after this past weekend's matinee performance against Edmonton. The 23-year old blueliner is rewarding owners who likely got him at a relative value this year. Enjoy it now, as OEL is likely to be one of the top blue liners drafted next season after the freakishly elite such as P.K. Subban and Erik Karlsson. Ekman-Larsson notched a power-play goal, the game-winner Saturday, and had two primary assists, one of which was also on the power play. Larsson sits third in the defensemen scoring race after Saturday's outburst and is seeing 25 minutes a night.

While Ekman-Larsson is doing a bit of what most thought he might do this season, James Wisniewski is enjoying a renaissance of sorts in Columbus, riding a four-game points streak into Tuesday's action. The poster child of the "when healthy" caveat, Wisniewski is standing out on a blue line with several potentially productive players in Jack Johnson, Fedor Tyutin and the ever frustrating Nikita Nikitin. Wisniewski has nine points on the season; remember he isn't too far removed from a 51-point stat line in 2010-11 between the Islanders and Montreal. His first two years in Columbus have been plagued by injury, but his point-per-game statistics have been encouraging, with 41 points in 78 games since signing as a free agent in the summer of 2011. Wisniewski has six points in the last four contests and is certain to continue to see scoring opportunities with the scrappy Sport Coats.

Unexpectedly, it's David Savard who sits second on the team in defensemen scoring with four points through 11 games, followed by Johnson, Tyutin and Ryan Murray, the second overall pick in the 2012 draft. Murray had a productive junior career but missed last season with a shoulder injury. Columbus has always been a surprisingly solid source of secondary defensemen scoring, but Wisniewski, when he's healthy, as he is now, is going to be a boon for owners. Those in keeper leagues will obviously want to keep Murray on their radars, as he's seen a spike in his power play time the last week, including 5:59 in a game against Toronto last week.

He's Back

Kris Letang has returned from his unfortunately timed knee injury and is back roaming the ice for Pittsburgh, a team still on top of the horribly named Metropolitan Divison despite losing three straight games last week. We know what a healthy Letang is capable of doing; a player who had 38 points in 35 contests during last season's lockout-shortened campaign and a man who was on pace for close to 70 points one season earlier after he was laid low by a questionable hit courtesy of Montreal's Max Pacioretty. Letang grabbed a goal in Saturday's loss to Toronto and can be expected to be a player worth the high pick most spent on him.

In Letang's stead, Matt Niskanen filled in solidly for owners who snagged the veteran American blue liner, but his time on the power play is dwindling with Letang's return. Niskanen saw just 45 seconds in Saturday's loss to Toronto to Letang's 3:59 and he played 2:51 to the 8:14 Letang saw in Friday's loss to the Islanders. This trend likely will continue for Niskanen, who can still be useful in deeper leagues which reward plus-minus.

Budding Bud

Cody Franson sits with nine helpers in 12 contests for the Leafs. Franson's numbers are more impressive when you throw out the first five games of the season where he notched a modest two points; he has seven helpers in the last seven games and should benefit from Toronto's dynamic offense.

Snuffed Flame

Mark Giordano was eating ice time for the Flames prior to a lower-body injury the Flames are still being mum about; however, Giordano has been seen in a walking boot as noted by the Calgary Herald. The Flames' versatile defender, owner of nine points through eight games has not played since October 21 and is eligible to come off IR soon, but there is no definite timetable for his return. Now might not be a bad time to try and pry Giordano from a frustrated owner if you can stash the Flame on your roster.

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
Nathan MacKinnon
Avs' MacKinnon Dishes Out Two Assists
Nathan MacKinnon, C, COL
12:53 PM
News: Nathan MacKinnon dished out a pair of helpers in Friday's win over Nashville.
Analysis: The two points snapped a three-game scoring drought for Nathan MacKinnon, who now has nine goals and 29 points in 50 games. While he's been held off the scoresheet in seven of his last nine games, the Avs are playing good hockey right now, picking up at least one point in six of their last seven games. MacKinnon's only 19, so we wouldn't give up on him just yet this season. His whopping 152 shots on goal indicate more goals are on the way. Patience is a virtue.

Mike Ribeiro
Preds' Ribeiro Piles On PIM
Mike Ribeiro, C, NSH
12:39 PM
News: Mike Ribeiro took a break from scoring Friday, racking up 22 PIM in a loss to Colorado.
Analysis: While Mike Ribeiro has 43 points (33 assists) in 48 games this season, he is also now among the league's top-100 PIM leaders. Producing at basically a point-per-game pace and sporting a steady plus-15 rating, Ribeiro is worth owning in most formats.

Marek Mazanec
Preds' Mazanec Gives Up Two Goals In Loss
Marek Mazanec, G, NSH
12:35 PM
News: Marek Mazanec gave up two goals on 27 shots in Friday's loss to Colorado.
Analysis: It was a good effort from Marek Mazanec, who got no offensive support in the shutout loss. It was the first start of the season for the 23-year-old, who had been giving way to Carter Hutton in Pekka Rinne's (knee) absence. Considering Hutton has given up seven goals in his last two starts, Mazanec could be worth a temporary pick-up until Rinne returns.

Semyon Varlamov
Avs' Varlamov Makes 23 Saves, Blanks Predators
Semyon Varlamov, G, COL
12:24 PM
News: Semyon Varlamov stopped all 23 shots he faced in Friday's shutout win over Nashville.
Analysis: A perfect outing for the workhorse, who has started 14 of the Avs' past 15 games. Semyon Varlamov is now 13-10-7 on the season with a .922 save percentage and 2.62 GAA. He's delivered some consistency play of late, allowing more than three goals just once in his last 10 appearances. Considering he's starting almost every game for an Avs team that has picked up at least one point in six of their last seven games, Varlamov is a great own in almost all formats.

Jonas Hiller
Flames' Hiller Steps Into Net Saturday
Jonas Hiller, G, CGY
8:52 AM
News: Jonas Hiller will receive the start in goal Saturday against the Oilers, Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald reports.
Analysis: While the Oilers haven't resembled a total doormat in recent weeks, Saturday's outing still represents a favorable matchup for Jonas Hiller. The goalie owns a career 15-4-1 record against the Oilers, and has been playing stellar since taking the net back from Joni Ortio. He's turned in consecutive one-goal outings to improve his season GAA to 2.37 while upping his save percentage to .914.

Steve Mason
Flyers' Mason To Get Start Saturday
Steve Mason, G, PHI
8:46 AM
News: Steve Mason will be in net for Saturday's game against the Maple Leafs, Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Analysis: Steve Mason is gradually inching closer to the .500 mark for the season, with his 4-1 record over his last five outings bringing him up to 10-12-6. He's looked strong since returning from a lower-body injury after the All-Star break, and should represent one of the better starting goalie options for Saturday's slate given the Leafs' ruinous state at the moment. Toronto has dropped eight games in a row, putting up a grand total of seven goals during that stretch.

Michael Hutchinson
Jets Stick With Hutchinson On Saturday
Michael Hutchinson, G, WPG
8:40 AM
News: Michael Hutchinson will be in the crease Saturday against the Stars, Brian Munz of TSN 1290 reports.
Analysis: Michael Hutchinson's fantasy owners have been pleading coach Paul Maurice to ditch the goalie rotation for quite some time, and it appears he'll finally comply for at least one game. It's a bit surprising that Maurice has decided now to give Hutchinson a second straight turn, as his last start Thursday against the Flyers was a four-goal dud. However, Hutchinson did well to build up plenty of goodwill before that with a four-game winning streak, while Ondrej Pavelec has only continued to languish when he's been called upon. If Hutchinson can get back on track Saturday against an elite Stars offense, it's hard to imagine Maurice returning to the rotation.

Tuukka Rask
Bruins Confirm Rask For Saturday Start
Tuukka Rask, G, BOS
8:30 AM
News: Tuukka Rask has been confirmed as the starter in goal for Saturday's showdown with the Kings.
Analysis: The atmosphere should be electric at the TD Garden on Saturday evening in a match between two of the league's elite teams over the last half decade. Tuukka Rask has of course been instrumental in the Bruins' sustained excellence, but had been a surprising liability at some stages earlier this season. That no longer appears to be the case, as he's resurfaced as perhaps the league's top netminder over the last month, going 6-1-3 with a 1.67 GAA and .947 save percentage thus far in January. The Kings are certainly an imposing threat, but they shouldn't deter Rask's fantasy owners from using him with gusto.

Braden Holtby
Caps Stick With Holtby For Saturday's Matinee
Braden Holtby, G, WAS
8:20 AM
News: Braden Holtby will man the crease for Saturday's matinee against the Canadiens, Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post reports.
Analysis: The game against Montreal kicks off a tough weekend back-to-back set for the Caps, who will host a sizzling St. Louis squad Sunday afternoon. Coach Barry Trotz didn't reveal his goalie plans for that game, but if Braden Holtby can keep the Habs at bay and if his defense is able to prevent him from facing a slew of shots, there's a good chance he'd get the call again Sunday. Holtby was again impressive in his last outing Wednesday versus the Pens, spinning his fifth shutout of the season.

Ryan Miller
Canucks` Miller Topples Former Team
Ryan Miller, G, VAN
8:06 AM
News: Ryan Miller turned aside 20 of 22 shots in a 5-2 win over the Sabres on Friday. It was the first time facing his former team.
Analysis: Both goals came off the stick of Chris Stewart, one of the players in the deal that shipped Ryan Miller out of Buffalo last March. Miller is now up to 24 wins to go with a .917 save percentage and 2.32 GAA this year, and will continue to be influential in Vancouver`s push to the playoffs in the final 35 games of the campaign.

 
 
 
Top Videos
Rankings