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
 
 
 

Neutral Zone Wrap: Setting realistic goals

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

Anyone familiar with New Year's resolutions knows this process is confusing and often disappointing. Let's face it: you can't fulfill all your goals if you list the first things that come to mind or take suggestions from the hottest Twitter trends. So instead of wishing for several things to change, your best bet is to focus on improving one specific area and setting realistic goals to do so.

As average citizens strive for something better in 2014, so do professional athletes. No matter how successful a player may be, there is always room for improvement -- no matter how minor it is. NHLers are no different, since they've worked hard for years to refine their game and then maintain their position in the top flight. So as a Fantasy owner, you need to decide which slackers you can trust and which ones don't deserve your time and effort.

Using indicators such as underperformance and relative health, who can step up immediately? We've assembled the top candidates below, based mainly on previous results and current opportunities. As was the case last week, no players from the November edition of this topic will be repeated here.

(Stats as of Monday December 30)

Patrik Berglund, F, Blues: When he was selected in the first round back in 2006, Berglund had been touted as a future No. 1 center. The size, the hands, the vision. For one reason (former defensive liability) or another (perceived lack of effort), the anointing never materialized. A few flashes of brilliance here and there (like the 47 points in his rookie year) but nothing consistent over a significant period. Now that a couple of Blues forwards are dinged up (most notably, Alexander Steen), the supine Swede has the chance to provide more in all situations (and five in his last five is a good start).

Tyler Ennis, F, Sabres: Pick a Sabre forward, any Sabre forward. Heck, we could've included Marcus Foligno, Drew Stafford or even (shudder) Ville Leino here. But Ennis has been selected since he skates on the top unit (whatever that would qualify as on Buffalo), has underachieved to date (15 in 39), and owns the moves to break out at any moment. The speedy sniper has proved this in his first three full seasons in the Queen City (114 in 177, 45 of them goals). You may want to lower your expectations based on the complementary offense, but you could pick worse.

Tobias Enstrom, D, Jets: One may be frustrated by Enstrom's performance this season (12 in 40) but it isn't as if he is being prevented from doing well. Check his overall minutes (just under 24 a night) and pay special attention to his solid stint on the power-play (averages 3:30). So the Nordingra native isn't clicking at his normal 0.6 (or higher) points per game rate but at least he notched his first PPP since October 11th (a gap of 32 (!) games). Be patient with this blueliner and you should be rewarded.

Adam Henrique, F, Devils: Ever since his junior days in Windsor with Taylor Hall, Henrique has played second fiddle to some other talented scorer. The 82nd pick in the 2008 draft began his pro career in good company, usually centering a line that included Ilya Kovalchuk. Following an outstanding opening campaign (Calder finalist with 51 in 72), Henrique dropped off considerably in his second spell (16 in 42). And when the Russian superstar opted to retire from North American duty this past summer, it was assumed his numbers would stay low. And while the total isn't awesome (eight goals and eight assists), there is recent hope (tallies in consecutive outings).

Mike Smith, G, Coyotes: Many will remember Smith as that goalie who almost led the Coyotes to the Western Conference Final in 2012. Since then, nothing of note. His record is encouraging (15 wins versus eight losses) but the other indicators would never be categorized as elite (2.83 GAA places him near the bottom, .914 SV% gets him in the middle of the pack). The good news is the lack of competition for the starting job in Phoenix (he ain't afraid of no Greiss), meaning Smith doesn't really have to worry about being replaced unless he really, really sucks.

Honorable mention: Erik Cole, F, Stars; Cory Conacher, F, Senators; David Desharnais, F, Canadiens; Dmitry Kulikov, D, Panthers; Cam Ward, G, Hurricanes

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
Mike Santorelli
Leafs' Santorelli Picks Up Two Assists
Mike Santorelli, C, TOR
6:34 AM
News: Mike Santorelli assisted on two of the Leafs' goals in Wednesday's loss to the Penguins.
Analysis: Mike Santorelli helped out on both of Leo Komarov's tallies, feeding the Russian winger on a 3-on-2 break for his first and collecting a secondary assist on his second. The 28-year-old Santorelli has been a useful depth scorer on the Leafs' second or third line this season, yielding 12 points and a plus-7 rating over 22 games.

Kris Letang
Pens' Letang Helps Out Wednesday
Kris Letang, D, PIT
6:31 AM
News: Kris Letang notched two helpers in Wednesday's victory over the Maple Leafs.
Analysis: That's back-to-back two-assist games for Kris Letang, who already has a whopping 10 helpers on the power play this season. Now healthy after a season in which he was sidelined for a long stretch of action following a stroke, Letang has quickly reestablished himself as one of the better fantasy defensemen out there.

Sidney Crosby
Pens' Crosby Assists Twice
Sidney Crosby, C, PIT
6:27 AM
News: Sidney Crosby assisted twice in Wednesday's win over the Maple Leafs.
Analysis: With five points over his last two games, it's probably safe to say that Sidney Crosby has dug himself out of his recent offensive slump. As the leading scorer for a 15-4-2 Penguins, Crosby looks well on his way to claiming the Hart Trophy once again.

Leo Komarov
Leafs' Komarov Strikes Twice Wednesday
Leo Komarov, C, TOR
6:24 AM
News: Leo Komarov potted two goals and doled out six hits in Wednesday's loss to the Penguins.
Analysis: The 27-year-old has been a spectacular addition to the Leafs after jumping from the KHL in the offseason. In addition to ranking among the league leaders in hits (96), Leo Komarov has gradually earned a larger role offensively. Wednesday marked his third multi-point performance of the month and gives him 16 points in 22 games.

Anders Lee
Isles' Lee Gets Goal, Seven PIM In Win
Anders Lee, C, NYI
6:14 AM
News: Anders Lee tallied his fourth goal of the season in Wednesday's victory over the Capitals.
Analysis: Anders Lee gathered a rebound and put it past Caps goalie Braden Holtby to give the Isles a 1-0 lead in the first period. He would later earn seven penalty minutes later in the night in what amounted to a strong all-around performance for the young forward.

Brandon Dubinsky
Jackets' Dubinsky Skating Better
Brandon Dubinsky, C, CLB
6:11 AM
News: Although he's been ruled out for this weekend's games, Brandon Dubinsky (abdominal surgery) looked strong on his skates during an optional team workout on Wednesday, the Columbus Dispatch reports.
Analysis: A return for Monday's game against the Panthers might also be optimistic, but it looks like Brandon Dubinsky will be able to get back in the lineup later next week. The reeling Jackets could certainly use him.

Eric Tangradi
Habs' Tangradi Practices On Fourth Line
Eric Tangradi, LW, MON
5:38 AM
News: Eric Tangradi skated on the fourth line during Wednesday's practice, Hockey Inside Out reports.
Analysis: Eric Tangradi, who was recently called up from Hamilton of the American Hockey League, practiced with Manny Malhotra and Dale Weise. Whether or not he's in the active lineup Friday night against Buffalo remains to be seen. Head coach Michel Therrien has been putting out lineups with seven defensemen lately.

Dustin Brown
Kings' Brown Records Two Points
Dustin Brown, RW, LA
4:35 AM
News: Dustin Brown scored a goal and added an assist while firing four shots on goal and skating to a plus-2 in Wednesday's 4-0 win over the Wild.
Analysis: With the Kings having several scoring options up front, the veteran captain only has seven points in 23 games this year, but his 54 shots and 55 hits still give him relevance in many leagues.

Martin Jones
Kings' Jones Pitches Shutout Wednesday
Martin Jones, G, LA
4:27 AM
News: Martin Jones turned aside all 26 shots in Wednesday's 4-0 road win over the Wild.
Analysis: Making his second start in as many nights, the Kings' backup was solid when he needed to be, but ultimately cruised to victory after Los Angeles scored all their goals in the first period. Even though he got the nod in favour of workhorse Jonathan Quick in this one, we wouldn't read too much into a potential job battle in Hockeywood. It's likely coach Darryl Sutter wanted to give Quick some extra rest, especially against a Wild team that's normally formidable on home ice. Martin Jones is now 2-2-1 with a .938 save percentage and 1.68 GAA this year.

Cam Ward
Canes' Ward Gets No Offensive Support In Loss
Cam Ward, G, CAR
1:24 AM
News: Cam Ward stopped 28 of 29 shots Wednesday, but received no offensive support in a shutout loss to Florida.
Analysis: Tough break for Cam Ward, who did his best to try and earn just his second win in six games. While he was excellent Wednesday, Ward has still allowed three or more goals in three of his last four starts. The 30-year-old is now 6-8-1 this season with a 2.61 GAA and .907 save percentage. Judging by his superb play against the Panthers, Ward will get back into the win column soon.

 
 
 
Top Videos
Rankings