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
2015 Draft Prep Guide
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: Starting to soar

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

Watching Pavel Datsyuk doesn't get old. The man is a wizard. Many goaltenders and defensemen have fallen victim to the blinding stickhandling skills of the Russian master. Add Shawn Horcoff to that list after Thursday. Dallas went on to beat Detroit in overtime, but Datsyuk's goal was mesmerizing, giving the Wings a short-lived third period lead. Lost in the dazzling lights of Datsyuk's hands was the cross-ice pass from Henrik Zetterberg.

Toronto continues to be one of the league's stronger teams with an 11-6 start despite Saturday's loss to division rival Boston. Phil Kessel remains one of the league's top offensive threats and tallied his team's only goal in Friday's shootout win over New Jersey, gliding through the Devils' defense with superb ease before finishing past Cory Schneider. While Kessel's goal could be a candidate for goal of the year, the equalizer Jonathan Bernier surrendered minutes later to Michael Ryder was the ridiculous answer to Kessel's sublime. It's a good thing the Devils are awful in shootouts, as Bernier's mistake was erased.

The best player in the world is finally on the scoresheet. Claude Giroux scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal Saturday against Edmonton, a mere 16 games into the season as the Flyers managed a win against an equally hapless Oilers squad. Edmonton, perennially wearing "wait 'til next year" albatross, could not come back against Philadelphia, but more on the Oil in a minute.

To say that Giroux had been pressing is putting it lightly. Regarded as one of the league's most dynamic offensive talents, Giroux is under much scrutiny from the always-objective, never fickle Philadelphia media for his slow start; this scrutiny was exacerbated and blown out of proportion, following Thursday's 3-0 loss to New Jersey after Giroux, frustrated, walked out of the game without addressing the media after the Flyers had a players-only meeting. His decision prompted some rather scathing reviews of his actions.

The Oilers have addressed their goaltending situation by completing a transaction many have long predicted they would: signing Ilya Bryzgalov. How Bryzgalov will play in front of one of the league's most porous defenses remains to be seen, but for all his aloofness, a solid Bryz can be a difference maker. However, the Oilers' issues are seemingly deeper than goaltending.

One has to believe Edmonton has more parks than Winnipeg. For a Russian native, Bryz's comments from 2011 about the cold temperatures in Winnipeg are more than slightly ironic, especially considering how much farther north Edmonton is than Winnipeg. Edmonton might have more bears as well. Adopting a wait-and-see approach with Bryz on the Oil might be the best bet before adding him to your roster.

Streaking Devils?

Eric Gelinas continues to eat power play minutes for the offensively challenged Devils, averaging over 3:05 per game in the seven he has played since his call-up from Albany (AHL). Gelinas has a booming slap shot and four points in seven games, including three on the man advantage. Rookie defensemen are always streaky, but Gelinas has no other players standing in his way in terms of power play time except Marek Zidlicky, who has seemingly vanished since Gelinas's arrival in Newark.

Zidlicky is notoriously one of the league's streakier options on defense has no points in the last five games after grabbing nine in the season's first 11 contests. The Devils are proving to be an average team on the power play, their season's 17.9-percent clip no doubt buoyed by the four goals on the man advantage they scored in October 26's comeback win over Boston. If you have no other options on defense, Zidlicky will at least be in a position to produce, probably more than most players available on your league's waiver wire, but the dry spells associated with Zidlicky will try one's patience.

If Gelinas is available, he's the upside play on the Devils' defense.

Traveling the Five

Much like last season, Jake Muzzin is making it hard to ignore him in Los Angeles. His path to opportunities for consistent production is impeded by the likes of Slava Voynov and Drew Doughty, but Muzzin can't be ignored in deeper leagues. Quietly, Muzzin has eight points on the season (1-7-8) with a minus-3 rating and three helpers on the power play, where he's seeing 2:37 per game. Muzzin jumped in the last week with three assists over three contests, including eight shots on goal, six of which came in the Kings' win over Nashville last Saturday.

Muzzin's eight points in 12 games are second on the Kings' roster to Doughty, who has nine in 17 contests, but Muzzin has three more points than Voynov at this juncture of the season. It's likely that Voynov will pick up his scoring pace, but Muzzin can be a savvy pickup in deeper leagues because of the chances he is seeing on the power play.

Further south of Los Angeles, Hampus Lindholm had himself a breakout game Wednesday against Phoenix, notching a goal and an assist. The goal was the first of his career and saw him bury a slick wrist shot past Mike Smith after trailing the play on an odd-man rush. Lindholm has three points in the last week of games and has close to two shots on goal per-game, but it's the plus-13 rating than can be attractive to owners in deeper leagues which reward secondary statistics. Lindholm is long on talent and offers more value in keeper leagues. The Ducks have one of the league's top scoring lines sparked by Ryan Getzlaf and Lindholm should continue seeing scoring chances. His five points trail only Cam Fowler's nine; Folwer is shockingly a not a minus at this point of the season, skyrocketing himself to a plus-1 through 18 games.

Anaheim offers much in the plus-minus department save for Fowler, as steady veteran Francois Beauchemin is a plus-14 while Sami Vatanen sits at a plus-11.

No Rest for the Wild

Given Ryan Suter's ice time this past week, one has to wonder if the $98 million Minnesota gave him in July 2012 is awarded by the minute. Suter played 36:51 in Thursday's shootout loss to Washington and followed that up with 35:28 Saturday against Carolina, notching an assist in the process. Most leagues do not utilize a time-on-ice category, but Suter's seemingly ubiquitous presence on Minnesota's blue line put him almost two minutes ahead of Calgary's Dennis Wideman, the league's No. 2 player in ice time per-game at 27:33. Considering it's only November, one has to believe Suter will never leave the ice come playoff time. Injuries on Minnesota's blue line recently are one of the causes attributed to Suter's minutes spike. The 11 points he has through 18 games are a nice bonus as well.

Sifting Through the Mud

Not every team is blessed with a duo of offensively gifted blue liners like Montreal, currently enjoying tremendous production from P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov or the Blues' tandem of Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo.

The Avalanche are one of these teams. Colorado is enjoying a renaissance under new coach Patrick Roy and the goal-scoring prowess of Matt Duchene (11 through 15 games). However, the success in the standings and on the scoresheet have not trickled down to the team's blue line, as Andre Benoit sits with seven assists and no goals through 15 games. Jan Hejda and Erik Johnson each sit with five points as well. The Avs were hoping youngster Tyson Barrie would emerge as a point-producer, but Barrie has struggled with one point in just five games, resulting in a demotion to Lake Erie (AHL). Barrie will be called up at some point in the season, making him a player to remember in deeper leagues. It's worth remembering Colorado traded Kevin Shattenkirk and Chris Stewart to St. Louis for Erik Johnson several years ago.

The Panthers continue to be a team attempting to figure out their identity, and recently fired coach Kevin Dineen, the man who led them to the Southeast Division title in 2012. On the back end, Florida is getting the usual handful of assists from Brian Campbell (seven through 17 games with no goals), but the Kitties are not seeing many points from their defenders. Dmitry Kulikov is again reminding all of the frustrations of owning him, with a modest three points in 17 contests followed by Tom Gilbert and Matt Gilroy, each of whom have two points. The Panthers do have a potential wild card in the well-traveled Ryan Whitney, but the veteran has no points and just eight shots on goal through six games. Whitney is seeing over two minutes of power play time, but Florida's offensive woes don't make any of their defenders a sage option.

While the Sabres are seemingly contacting every team in the league about the services of goalie Ryan Miller, Buffalo has three defenders sitting with four points: Tyler Myers, Christian Ehrhoff and Jamie McBain. Of the three, McBain is the only player without a 40-point campaign to his name, but he could be the bright spot on a team struggling for a semblance of consistency. McBain has four points in 11 games with a modest 10 shots on goal. One has to wonder when, or if, the ghosts of Myers and Ehrhoff will return, but McBain did have 30 points as a rookie for Carolina several years ago. None of these three players can be relied upon for steady production, but they can be options for those in dire need of a boost.

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
Semyon Varlamov
Avs' Varlamov Loses Again To Edmonton
Semyon Varlamov, G, COL
6:15 AM
News: Despite making 32 saves Monday, Semyon Varlamov was beaten by the Oilers for the second time in six days in a 4-1 loss. He allowed two goals while the other two were empty-net tallies.
Analysis: Varly has now lost four of his last five starts, including the aforementioned two to the lowly Oilers. After winning the Central Division last year, the last-place Avs won't be making the playoffs this season, so look for coach Patrick Roy to give Reto Berra a few more looks in the last six games.

Richard Bachman
Second Straight Win For Oilers' Bachman
Richard Bachman, G, EDM
6:05 AM
News: Richard Bachman was great Monday, stopping all but one of 30 shots in a 4-1 win over the Avalanche.
Analysis: That's two wins in a row for Richard Bachman, who has only allowed just a single goal in starts against Dallas and Colorado. With the Oilers mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, the 27-year-old seems to be making the most of his opportunity to showcase his skills at the NHL level, and now owns a 16-14-2 career record across parts of four NHL seasons.

Jiri Hudler
Heater Continues For Flames' Hudler
Jiri Hudler, LW, CGY
4:31 AM
News: Jiri Hudler scored again and chipped in an assist in Monday's 5-3 win over Dallas. He also skated to a plus-3.
Analysis: Jiri Hudler's prolific scoring pace continues, as he now has five points in two games against being held scoreless (in rare fashion) against Minnesota last Friday. He's up to 29 goals and 42 assist for 71 points (!) this season, and has been an unexpected fantasy monster for the Flames in 2014-15.

Dennis Wideman
Goal, Assist For Flames' Wideman
Dennis Wideman, D, CGY
4:28 AM
News: Dennis Wideman scored his 14th goal of the season and added an assist in Monday's 5-3 win over the Stars.
Analysis: Dennis Wideman also skated to a plus-2 on this one. With 49 points in 76 games, the 32-year-old rearguard has established a new career high in goals, and sits just one point off the mark of his best season (50 points), achieved in 2008-09 with Boston.

Johnny Gaudreau
Two Points For Flames' Gaudreau
Johnny Gaudreau, LW, CGY
4:25 AM
News: Johnny Gaudreau scored a goal and added an assist in Monday's 5-3 win over the Stars.
Analysis: His second-period tally -- his 22nd of the season -- held up as the game-winner. With the two points, the rookie has officially cracked the 60-point barrier in what has been a fantastic debut campaign.

Jonas Hiller
Flames' Hiller Victorious For Second Day In A Row
Jonas Hiller, G, CGY
4:22 AM
News: Jonas Hiller stopped 33 of 36 shots in Monday's 5-3 triumph over the Stars.
Analysis: Quite an impressive outing for Jonas Hiller, who also earned the victory against Nashville on Sunday. He now has 23 wins, a .914 save percentage and 2.44 GAA in 48 games this season, and figures to see at least a couple more starts in the near future after banging off these two impressive wins.

Kari Lehtonen
Stars' Lehtonen Pulled Monday
Kari Lehtonen, G, DAL
4:18 AM
News: Kari Lehtonen was pulled after allowing four goals on 19 shots in a 5-3 loss to the Flames on Monday.
Analysis: Kari Lehtonen -- who had previously won eight of his last 10 starts -- was lit up by the Flames offense on this night. He's been one of the league's busiest goalies with 64 appearances this season, compiling a .906 save percentage and 2.88 GAA along the way -- numbers that just haven't been good enough to get the Stars into the playoffs.

Lauri Korpikoski
Coyotes' Korpikoski Sidelined
Lauri Korpikoski, LW, ARI
12:56 AM
News: Lauri Korpikoski (mouth) remains sidelined, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: Lauri Korpikoski could practice later this week and hasn't been ruled out for the coming weekend, but he's not a candidate to play Monday against the Sabres.

Peter Holland
Leafs' Holland Remains Sidelined
Peter Holland, C, TOR
12:52 AM
News: Peter Holland (lower body) could return as soon as this weekend, Paul Hendrick of Leafs TV reports.
Analysis: That said, Peter Holland is effectively ruled out for the team's next two games, with a return either Saturday against the Bruins or Sunday against the Sens now considered plausible.

Chris Kunitz
Pens' Kunitz Ends Goal Drought
Chris Kunitz, LW, PIT
12:51 AM
News: Chris Kunitz tallied a power-play goal in Sunday's 3-2 shootout win over the Sharks.
Analysis: The first-period tally gave Chris Kunitz his first goal since Feb. 25 and his first point in 13 games. Though he has three 60-point campaigns on his resume (including a career-best 68-point output just last season), Kunitz makes for a tough activation at the moment while he remains stuck in a prolonged offensive slump.

 
 
 
Top Videos
Rankings