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Neutral Zone Wrap: Make the right adjustment

by | Rotowire.com
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Look how far we've come as a Fantasy society. From our inception, where painstakingly long drafts were carried out by hand and often in-person, to the current state of affairs where quick online, click-as-you-go formats have become the norm. If you wanted the league standings and latest news 20 years ago, you stood by the mailbox waiting for it to arrive. These days, all stats and updates are readily available in seconds and ready to use for further research and manipulation.

Like the fake version, the actual NHL has evolved during the same time period. The no-helmet days may be a distant memory, but the current game holds just as many risks. Players may be bigger, stronger and better maintained, but the incidence of serious injury remains a popular talking point. We could go on and discuss related topics such as safety, insurance, and viewer interest but frankly, all that would be better covered in other forums.

So let's return to the Fantasy world, where improvement is always the goal -- adjusting rosters, working all transaction areas, ensuring your own well-being. Survival of the fittest exists everywhere; one must work hard since hoping something will happen usually doesn't fly. If your squad looks poised to compete for the championship, then don't sit around and wait. See what the other owners have, check the numbers, and make a move. In other words, be proactive.

To help you in your cause, here are five new teams from which to pick the flash and avoid the trash:

(Stats as of Monday December 16)

Despite aches, pains, and other disturbances, the Bruins have still found their way to the top of the Atlantic Division. With Loui Eriksson (concussion, unknown return) and Dougie Hamilton (lower-body injury, one to two more weeks) among the multitude of casualties, a couple vacancies have opened up. No need to remind either Reilly Smith (23 points, with four goals in his last five) or Carl Soderberg (15 in 27), who have seamlessly moved their way up the ladder. Dennis Seidenberg probably isn't your best option, but he picks up enough across the board (10 points, plus-10, 54 blocked shots, second power-play time) to earn your attention.

December springs luck for the Canucks, who haven't lost in seven. Jannik Hansen (two goals in three) has once again punched his ticket alongside the Sedins but he's not getting comfortable. Without Alexandre Burrows (jaw surgery, see you in January), Mike Santorelli (10 in nine) has made the most of his opportunities. So is Chris Higgins (eight in seven), who provides poolies with a hint of why he was drafted in the first round 11 years ago. Alexander Edler (minor knee tweaking) didn't inspire much confidence when healthy (three in 14, minus-9), while Kevin Bieksa (finally notched a point Saturday after 12 zeros) has also disappointed. Maybe workhorse Dan Hamhuis (only nine, but averaging ~25 minutes the last month) can increase his production to supplement Jason Garrison's potential career season (already with 22, including 10 PPPs).

Long live the Kings; the Kings aren't dead. With Jonathan Quick (groin strain, give him another two weeks) slowly working his way back, Ben Scrivens (1.66 GAA, .941 SV% in 16) has picked up most of the load but darkhorse Martin Jones (5-0 with a 0.99 GAA and .967 SV%) has managed to one-up the former Leaf. After once again dominating the AHL (12 in 10), Tyler Toffoli is wreaking havoc with the big boys (15 in 20). Two consecutive inspired playoff performances have landed Dwight King (three points on the weekend) the LW gig on the first line. His best days and legs are most likely behind him, but don't tell Jarret Stoll (six in seven). The buzz on Jake Muzzin (14) has not fizzed out but maybe Alec Martinez (four in five) would get some love if he could string together a few more decent outings.

A broken down Detroit still put on a better show than most other clubs, even if it's only on cable. Their captain has missed the last seven and the #1 goalie suffered a mishap in practice but the Magic Man just returned and is raring to knock the Wings out of their five-game slump. Gustav Nyquist (eight in 13) has grabbed the mantle of the missing with a bit of assistance from Tomas Tatar (13). Don't tie your waiver wire on Todd Bertuzzi (a goal in six). Give up on Brendan Smith (five in 25, minus-4) and move on to Jakub Kindl (accumulating the man-advantage minutes but scoreless in seven) before it's too late.

No matter how hard one tries to avoid it, everyone ends up in Jersey. Contrary to the passage of time, 41-year old Jaromir Jagr (28 in 34) has not slowed down. Dainius Zubrus (five in four) may never have served as the main attraction but, wow, he's sure been playing a while. All the hype that followed Damien Brunner has almost evaporated (although three goals in three looks to be a good sign). If Adam Henrique (four in 13) wants to be the Devils' anointed one at center, then he ain't doing it right. Andy Greene (eight in 12) keeps plugging away while Eric Gelinas (13 in his rookie campaign) has excelled during his blueline apprenticeship.

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Player News
Michael Bournival
Habs' Bournival Reassigned To AHL Hamilton
Michael Bournival, LW, MON
12:58 AM
News: Michael Bournival was reassigned to AHL Hamilton on Monday, TSN's John Lu reports.
Analysis: Forward P.A. Parenteau (concussion) will finally rejoin the lineup, and defenseman Jeff Petry was recently acquired in a trade. The Habs will thus reassign both Michael Bournival and Greg Pateryn, freeing up room for a pair of proven veterans. Bournival only has five points through 29 NHL appearances this season, but he does have eight points in just seven AHL games.

Maxime Talbot
Talbot Traded To Bruins
Maxime Talbot, C, COL
12:57 AM
News: The Avalanche traded Maxime Talbot and Paul Carey to the Bruins on Monday in exchange for Jordan Caron and a 2016 sixth-round draft pick, the team's official site reports.
Analysis: Maxime Talbot, who has notched five goals and 10 assists in 63 games with the Avs this season, gives the Bruins some added depth and experience up front, something that will come in handy, with centers Gregory Campbell and David Krejci currently sidelined.

P.A. Parenteau
Canadiens' Parenteau To Rejoin Lineup Monday
P.A. Parenteau, RW, MON
12:53 AM
News: P.A. Parenteau will rejoin the lineup for Monday's game against San Jose, NHL.com's Arpon Basu
Analysis: After missing six weeks of action due to a concussion, P.A. Parenteau was a healthy scratch for Saturday's game against the Maple Leafs. He may be limited to a spot on the fourth line in his first game since Jan. 15.

Jordan Caron
Caron Traded To Avs
Jordan Caron, LW, BOS
12:50 AM
News: The Bruins traded Jordan Caron and a 2016 sixth-round draft pick to the Avs on Monday in exchange for Maxime Talbot and Paul Carey, the team's official site reports.
Analysis: Jordan Caron, who has been held without a point in 11 games with the Bruins this season, was a first-round draft pick (25th overall) in 2009. After having recorded just 28 points in 134 career NHL contests with Boston, however, a change of scenery will probably do the 24-year-old winger some good, though a wait-and see approach is in order from a fantasy perspective.

James Wisniewski
Ducks Acquire Wisniewski In Late Deadline Deal
James Wisniewski, D, CLB
12:45 AM
News: James Wisniewski was traded to the Ducks on Monday along with a 2015 third-round draft pick in exchange for forwards William Karlsson and Rene Bourque and a 2015 second-round draft pick, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports.
Analysis: James Wisniewski will likely assume a top-four role on defense with his new organization, giving the Ducks an added dose of puck-moving ability on the blue line. The 31-year-old has predictably been unable to replicate last season's 51-point scoring outburst in 2014-15, but he's still been an above-average source of goals and assists for a defenseman. Assuming the foot injury he suffered in Saturday's game against the Penguins doesn't prove too problematic, Wisniewski's fantasy value figures to notice a small uptick with the move, as his placement on a superior Ducks squad should allow his plus/minus mark to recover from its current minus-10 standing.

Alexei Marchenko
Wings' Marchenko Sidelined
Alexei Marchenko, D, DET
12:43 AM
News: Alexei Marchenko is dealing with an oblique strain, Ansar Khan of MLive.com reports.
Analysis: The report suggests that Alexei Marchenko will be out for a week or so. The 23-year-old blueliner has two points in 12 games with the Wings to date, including a goal in his last outing, Saturday against the Preds.

Darren Helm
Wings' Helm Dealing With Oblique Injury
Darren Helm, C, DET
12:38 AM
News: Darren Helm is dealing with an oblique strain, Ansar Khan of MLive.com reports.
Analysis: Per the report, GM Ken Holland indicated that Darren Helm's injury is not considered serious, but it looks like the forward will be out a week or so.

Sven Baertschi
Flames Deal Baertschi To Canucks For Pick
Sven Baertschi, LW, CGY
12:35 AM
News: Sven Baertschi was traded to the Canucks on Monday in exchange for a 2015 second-round pick, TSN's Bob McKenzie reports.
Analysis: A former first-round selection by the Flames in 2011, Sven Baertschi made the NHL squad out of training camp in 2013-14 but wasn't able to maintain a spot after tallying 11 points over 26 games. He failed to break camp with the Flames this season and didn't make much of his opportunity when injuries resulted in his promotion to the big club. His pedigree still made him intriguing to many organizations, so the Flames decided to part with him before his value completely bottomed out. Still only 22 years old, Baertschi could unlock his full potential with the move to the Canucks, though he'll likely have to prove himself at AHL Utica first.

Simon Despres
Pens Deal Despres To Ducks
Simon Despres, D, PIT
12:21 AM
News: Simon Despres (head) was traded to the Ducks on Monday in exchange for defenseman Ben Lovejoy, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Analysis: The Penguins indicated the head injury that Simon Despres suffered in Sunday's win over the Blue Jackets appears to be minor, but that didn't prevent the team from seeking a veteran blueliner on deadline day. While Lovejoy possesses more NHL experience and might offer more present-day value than Despres, it appears the Ducks have added yet another intriguing young blueliner to a corps that also includes three under-25 talents in Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, and Sami Vatanen. At 6-foot-4 with a willingness to hit and the ability to score, Despres could become a mainstay on the defense for the Ducks over the next several seasons.

Chris Stewart
Stewart Moves To Playoff Contender With Wild
Chris Stewart, RW, BUF
12:17 AM
News: Chris Stewart has been traded to the Wild in exchange for what is expected to be a 2017 second-rounder, WGR550.com reports.
Analysis: Even though this deal was snuck in just ahead of the deadline, Chris Stewart was as good of a bet as any player in hockey to get dealt Monday. He'll head to a playoff contender, which should immediately boost his plus-minus prospects. And Minnesota might start to be considered Buffalo West, with four former Sabres on the roster once Stewart gets settled. Stewart has a disappointing 25 points in 61 games this season, but he's been playing better lately with the potential to do more with better talent around him. Keep an eye on his line assignment, though it's worth noting that inconsistency has always been a part of his game.

 
 
 
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