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Neutral Zone Wrap: Managing the disappointments

by | Rotowire.com
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When life brings you down, convention dictates one of two responses: lie down and get run over or fight back and reclaim your dignity. If the first path is your preference, then inertia is your friend. Don't bother getting up, as it'll only make you tired again. However, should redemption be your goal, there are several ways to achieve this. C'mon, fight back. Your ego may be bruised repeatedly but that shouldn't stop your spirit from rising above the negativity.

NHLers with above-average skill sets who underperform pose a problem for Fantasy owners. Should you dump them immediately or wait a bit and trust in their abilities to recover based on stats and history? Banking on a name will work up to the point where frustration sets in because the numbers clearly don't match.

A few readers have asked me the same question over the last week, so I will provide the following answer: Have faith in Claude Giroux. Or any of the higher profile Flyers (but not the team itself) who have returned far less on investment than expected. And that means the likes of Jakub Voracek, Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds, and yes, even Kimmo Timonen can be trusted upon for at least a minor upsurge. Try trading for one or more of them, but only as long as the asking price is within reason.

Let's move on and talk about the other skaters who have angered us with their slow starts. But these ones are poised to start increasing their production, either due to pedigree, some sort of change, or the Law of Averages kicking in:

(Stats as of Monday November 11)

Dustin Brown, F, Kings: The summer of 2012 was a special time for Brown. Not only did the Kings win the Stanley Cup but he also became the second American captain to hoist the Holy Grail. And while his current haul (seven points in 17 contests) may not be atrocious, there is room for improvement. Consider the last six full seasons, where 46 was his lowest point total (way back in 2006-07). You'll also notice how Brown seems to step up his effort during the stretch drive (including 23 in 21 to finish the 2011-12 campaign). Remember he missed most of training camp with an injury, so perhaps all the inactivity hasn't fully been shaken off.

Michael Del Zotto, D, Rangers: For someone with a history of questionable defensive skills, it's tough to see Del Zotto struggle offensively (one goal, three assists). While labeling him a power-play specialist may be misleading, this turns out to be the strongest area of his game (eight of 21 points last year). The York Region native may never earn big even-strength minutes (sitting at 16) but he is adept at moving the puck and finding open teammates in the opponent's end. Be patient with DZ; the opportunities will come.

Jonathan Huberdeau, F, Panthers: Blink and you may forget Huberdeau serves as the reigning Rookie of the Year. While his freshman tour consisted of highlight goals and nifty moves, there also existed maturity – one from probably having stayed an extra year in junior. With the QMJHL standout facing his first full professional schedule and the pressure of avoiding a sophomore slump, it is entirely understandable if he felt discouraged during a recent five-game point drought (on the same homestand, no less). The good news is that Huberdeau has regained a bit (three in five), while retaining his top forward status (first with 17:51 a night) on a relatively weak Panthers attack.

Ryan Miller, G, Sabres: It is inevitable. The prognosticators have said it will take place soon. Based on the way the Sabres are sliding and for his long-standing service to the organization, it is only deserving Miller should earn a first-class ticket to a more favorable situation. The 33-year old has been asked to stand on his head (3.40 GAA, .912 SV% facing an average of nearly 38 shots) behind a shoddy Buffalo D and, well, you see how awesome that has worked out in the standings. If a contender is ready to shell out the resources to acquire Miller, then that would surely boost his Fantasy value.

Alexander Semin, F, Hurricanes: Once regarded as one of the best snipers in the league, Semin has gone on to develop a better overall game. The occasional brain freeze or sudden lack of interest still happens but less frequently. Carolina haven't exactly endeared themselves as a scoring machine this season (third worst at 1.84 goals per game), thereby justifying why any of their top players could have been listed in this column. But let's concentrate on the speedy Russian, what he hasn't been doing lately (one in five), and why he is bound to rediscover his touch (first PP duty, second among Canes forwards averaging over 20 minutes).

(Honorable mention: Craig Anderson, G, Senators; Sergei Gonchar, D, Stars; Dany Heatley, F, Wild; Brad Marchand, F, Bruins; Nail Yakupov, F, Oilers)

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Player News
Zac Rinaldo
Rinaldo Traded To Bruins
Zac Rinaldo, C, BOS
12:47 AM
News: The Flyers traded Zac Rinaldo to the Bruins on Monday for a third-round draft choice in the 2017 NHL Draft, NHL.com reports.
Analysis: Zac Rinaldo, who tallied one goal and six points to go along with 109 penalty minutes in 58 games for Philadelphia this past season, adds depth and grit to the B's forward mix, but he's presumably ticketed for a fourth-line/agitator role that limits his fantasy utility to PIM-heavy formats.

Chris Pronger
Flyers Deal Pronger's Contract To Coyotes
Chris Pronger, D, PHI
12:30 AM
News: Chris Pronger was dealt to the Coyotes over the weekend along with defenseman Niklas Grossmann in exchange for forward Sam Gagner, a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2016 or a third-round pick in 2017, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: Chris Pronger's playing career came to an end during the 2011-12 season due to post-concussion issues and an eye injury, but he still has two years remaining on the seven-year, $34.5 million contract he inked with the Flyers in the summer of 2009. His contract will cost the Coyotes $575,000 over both of the next two seasons and carries a cap hit of just under $5 million annually, which will help Arizona in their attempt to meet the league's salary-cap minimum. The 40-year-old Pronger, who was hired by the NHL's Department of Player Safety last season, is eligible to be voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this week.

Carl Hagelin
Ducks Extend Qualifying Offer To Hagelin
Carl Hagelin, LW, ANA
6/29/2015
News: Carl Hagelin was given a qualifying offer by the Ducks on Monday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Analysis: This was a foregone conclusion after the Ducks acquired Carl Hagelin, a restricted free agent, from the Rangers at the draft. He's likely in for a raise this season and could see an uptick in minutes in his new digs, but Hagelin's offensive limitations -- mostly his mediocre shooting ability -- make him best suited for a third-line role.

Jakob Silfverberg
Ducks Give Silfverberg Qualifying Offer
Jakob Silfverberg, LW, ANA
6/29/2015
News: Jakob Silfverberg was given a qualifying offer by the Ducks on Monday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Analysis: After making $850,000 last season, Jakob Silfverberg looks to be in line for a significant raise following his 39-point regular season and 18 points in the playoffs. He should also be looking at regular second-line work for the Ducks next season, which could lead to a scoring breakout for the highly talented Swede.

Ryan Spooner
Bruins Give Qualifying Offer To Spooner
Ryan Spooner, C, BOS
6/29/2015
News: The Bruins have extended a qualifying offer to Ryan Spooner, Joe Haggerty of CSN New England reports.
Analysis: The nimble centerman is thus almost certain to return to Boston for 2015-16, and as things stand now, it looks like he's got the inside track on the third-line center job, with some power-play time to boot -- assuming the Bruins don't bring some depth in during free agency. If he does find his way into a regular role, Ryan Spooner's playmaking ability will make him useful in deeper fantasy formats.

Paul Postma
Jets Qualify Postma
Paul Postma, D, WPG
6/29/2015
News: Paul Postma has been given a qualifying offer by the Jets, the Winnipeg Sun reports.
Analysis: Despite huge offensive success in the AHL -- Paul Postma has 68 points in his last 87 games in the minors -- the Albertan blueliner has never been able to win himself more than bottom-pairing minutes with the Jets so far. As a result, he's never scored more than nine points in an NHL season. The Jets' depth on the blue line makes it likely that Postma doesn't enjoy a large role in 2015-16 either. However, he'll surely be recovered from the lower-body injury he suffered in March by the time training camp rolls around.

Klas Dahlbeck
Coyotes Qualify Dahlbeck
Klas Dahlbeck, D, ARI
6/29/2015
News: Klas Dahlbeck has received a qualifying offer from the Coyotes, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: The soon-to-be 24-year-old blueliner picked up three assists while going minus-7 in 19 games with Arizona last year after being acquired from the Blackhawks. He'll likely bounce between the AHL and NHL this season, but does have some upside -- Klas Dahlbeck picked up 10 goals and 35 points in 75 games for AHL Rockford back in 2013-14.

Brandon Gormley
Coyotes Retain Gormley
Brandon Gormley, D, ARI
6/29/2015
News: Brandon Gormley has been tendered a qualifying offer by the Coyotes, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: Thus it's fairly well assured that Brandon Gormley will spend next season in Arizona. It could be the first full NHL campaign for the No. 13 pick in the 2010 draft, who picked up four points to go with a minus-7 rating while seeing limited ice time in 27 games for the Coyotes last year.

Mikkel Boedker
Coyotes Qualify Boedker
Mikkel Boedker, LW, ARI
6/29/2015
News: Mikkel Boedker (spleen) has been tendered a qualifying offer by the Coyotes, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: The German winger saw last season end prematurely thanks to a ruptured spleen, but is expected to make a full recovery in time for training camp. It doesn't seem likely that another team will swoop in with an offer sheet for Mikkel Boedker, so he'll quite likely suit up for Arizona again in 2015-16. It could be a breakout year if he can stay healthy, as the Coyotes look like they'll have to lean heavily on Boedker, who was on an 82-game pace for his second straight 50-point season last year, picking up 14 goals and 14 assists in 45 contests.

Craig Cunningham
Coyotes Don't Qualify Cunningham
Craig Cunningham, LW, ARI
6/29/2015
News: Craig Cunningham didn't receive a qualifying offer from the Coyotes, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: He'll enter free agency coming off a season in which he recorded all of seven points in 51 games split between the Bruins and Coyotes. Craig Cunningham does have a pair of 40-plus-point seasons to his credit in the AHL, and at just 24 years old, the former fourth-round pick seems likely to catch on with another NHL franchise -- probably on a two-way deal.

 
 
 
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