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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
Rocco Grimaldi
Panthers Send Grimaldi Back To AHL
Rocco Grimaldi, C, FLA
12:58 AM
News: Updating an earlier report, Rocco Grimaldi was reassigned to the San Antonio Rampage on Sunday, Harvey Fialkov of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.
Analysis: After scoring his first career goal Saturday, Rocco Grimaldi is being sent back because some of Florida's regulars are becoming healthy. The 21-year-old will be left down in the minors unless more injuries pop up, but knowing how Dale Tallon likes to take his time with his prospects, expect him to continue developing in the AHL.

Ondrej Pavelec
Jets' Pavelec In Net Sunday
Ondrej Pavelec, G, WPG
12:37 AM
News: Ondrej Pavelec will start between the pipes against the Blues on Sunday, Brian Munz of TSN reports.
Analysis: Ondrej Pavelec continues to see nearly all of the starts in net for the Jets despite allowing four goals on 27 shots Thursday against the Red Wings. He enters Sunday's matchup with a 7-7-2 record with a .919 save percentage and 2.25 GAA over 18 games.

Jake Allen
Blues' Allen Starting Sunday
Jake Allen, G, STL
12:29 AM
News: Jake Allen will start in net against the Jets on Sunday, Brian Munz of TSN reports.
Analysis: Jake Allen allowed four goals on 30 shots Thursday against Montreal, ending his four-game winning streak. He will get a chance to start a new streak Sunday, facing the Jets in Winnipeg.

Andrej Nestrasil
Nestrasil Nabs Goal In Carolina Debut
Andrej Nestrasil, RW, CAR
12:12 AM
News: Andrej Nestrasil tallied a goal on one of his four shots in his Hurricanes debut Saturday against the Avalanche.
Analysis: The young forward was claimed off waivers from the Red Wings a couple days earlier and immediately played a vital role for this new team, skating for 13:41 as a member of the team's second line. His score capped a three-goal first period for the Hurricanes, chasing opposing goalie Reto Berra from the game before the Avs rallied for the comeback win.

Brett Bellemore
Canes' Bellemore Suffers Injury Saturday
Brett Bellemore, D, CAR
12:09 AM
News: Brett Bellemore left Saturday's game in the first period after he was checked into the boards and didn't return, the Associated Press reports.
Analysis: At the very least, it sounds like Brett Bellemore is experiencing some body soreness, if not something more severe. The Hurricanes figure to provide an update on his condition once they resume practicing, putting his status for Wednesday's game against the Panthers in question for the time being.

Kyle Clifford
Kings' Clifford Picks Up Two Points
Kyle Clifford, LW, LA
12:06 AM
News: Kyle Clifford assisted on two scores in Saturday's loss to the Stars.
Analysis: The 23-year-old still has only five points in 21 games this season, making it tough to get excited about Saturday's showing. He's worth a look in specialty formats only for those fishing for hits and PIM help.

Brian Campbell
Panthers' Campbell Tallies An Assist In Loss
Brian Campbell, D, FLA
12:04 AM
News: Brian Campbell was able to notch an assist in Saturday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Predators.
Analysis: The assist gives him seven points (1G,6A) in the first 18 games of the season. After only putting two assists on the board in the month of October, he has had a solid month of November collecting one goal and four assists. Averaging 23:53 minutes of ice time per game ranks him 23rd in the NHL this season. Brian Campbell will always produce the majority of his points on the power play which is good news for fantasy owners who are awarded extra points for special teams points. He is only owned in 17% of ESPN leagues, so if his play continues to improve don't be surprised to see him on someone else's roster instead of the waiver wire.

Jarret Stoll
Points Trickling In For Kings' Stoll
Jarret Stoll, C, LA
12:00 AM
News: Jarret Stoll set up two goals and attempted three shots in Saturday's loss to the Stars.
Analysis: After going without a point in the Kings' first 12 games, Jarret Stoll now has contributed two goals and four assists over the last nine contests. The minor scoring burst probably isn't worth getting to worked up about while Stoll remains outside of a top-six role, but it does at least indicate that he still has it in him to pitch in offensively for the Kings.

J.T. Miller
Miller Making Bid For Recall
J.T. Miller, C, NYR
11/23/2014
News: J.T. Miller has six goals and 15 points in 17 games since being demoted to AHL Hartford.
Analysis: While J.T. Miller is currently leading his squad in points, it's likely of no consolation to him. Having trekked an all-too-familiar path between Hartford and Manhattan over the past three seasons, the only redemption Miller and fantasy owners have in mind involves wearing an NHL sweater. As long as the 21-year-old continues his consistent point production, it will only be a matter of time before he gets the call to the Broadway again.

Derick Brassard
Rangers' Brassard Fulfilling Promise?
Derick Brassard, C, NYR
11/23/2014
News: Derick Brassard collected an assist in Sunday's 5-0 win over the Canadiens.
Analysis: While Derick Brassard played second fiddle to Derek Stepan in minutes, he's now got 16 points (six goals) in 20 games. Folks, it appears the former sixth overall pick (Columbus, 2006) may be blossoming into a point-per-game centerman before our eyes. If he's available, you may want to consider his services as the 27-year-old is on pace to break the 60-point mark for the first time in his career.

 
 
 
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