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
Tobias Enstrom
Jets' Enstrom Sets Up Two Goals In Loss
Tobias Enstrom, D, WPG
12:07 PM
News: Tobias Enstrom assisted on both of the Jets' two goals in Friday's loss to Tampa Bay.
Analysis: Tobias Enstrom now has six points (all assists) in seven games this season, to go with a minus-1 rating. Playing the point on the top power-play unit and averaging 23:49 of ice time per game, Enstrom will continue to produce offense. After a somewhat disappointing 30-point season in 2013-14, expect Enstrom to return to the 40-50 point range in 2014-15.

Tyson Barrie
Avs' Barrie Nabs Three Assists In Win
Tyson Barrie, D, COL
8:18 AM
News: Tyson Barrie collected a trio of assists in Friday's win over Vancouver.
Analysis: After a slow start, Tyson Barrie has cranked up the offense, recording a goal and four assists in his last three games. Skating on the Avs' top power-play unit, Barrie should surpass the career-high 38 points he recorded in 2013-14.

Mikhail Grabovski
Isles' Grabovski Appears Set To Play Saturday
Mikhail Grabovski, C, NYI
8:14 AM
News: Mikhail Grabovski (concussion) was on the ice for morning skate and appears set to return to action Saturday against the Stars, Arthur Staple of Newsday reports.
Analysis: Unless the Islanders reveal that Mikhail Grabovski suffered a late setback with his concussion during the morning session, he'll be activated from injured reserve and skate as the left wing on the Isles' second line. Grabovski missed the previous three games with the concussion.

Jarome Iginla
Avs' Iginla Nets Three Points In Win
Jarome Iginla, RW, COL
8:14 AM
News: Jarome Iginla netted two goals and added an assist in Friday's win over the Canucks.
Analysis: Jarome Iginla also finished the night with five shots on goal and a plus-3 rating in 19:43 of ice time. Skating on the second line with Matt Duchene, Iginla has recorded seven points (two goals) in his past five games, to go with a plus-3 rating. He appears to have hit his stride with the Avalanche, and fantasy owners should take advantage.

Radko Gudas
Bolts' Gudas Active In Return
Radko Gudas, D, TB
8:11 AM
News: Radko Gudas (lower body) provided a little bit of everything in his return to action Friday versus the Jets. In his 15:43 of ice time, he logged nine penalty minutes, three hits, four blocks and two shots on goal.
Analysis: After missing the previous four games with the lower-body injury, it didn't take long for Radko Gudas to reassert himself. His signature moment of the night came in the second period, when he got in a skirmish with the Jets' Dustin Byfuglien. Now that he's healthy, expect Gudas to pile up the production in the specialty categories, with a dash of scoring on occasion as well.

Steven Stamkos
Bolts' Stamkos Gets Back In Scoring Column
Steven Stamkos, C, TB
8:08 AM
News: Steven Stamkos potted his sixth goal of the season in Friday's win over the Jets.
Analysis: Steven Stamkos' first-period tally came on a feed from new linemate Jonathan Drouin on a two-on-one break, the first of what figures to be many connections between the Bolts' two franchise cornerstones. The goal snapped a two-game pointless drought for Stamkos, which qualifies as a slump these days for the sensational center.

Matt Duchene
Avs' Duchene Dominates In Win
Matt Duchene, C, COL
8:08 AM
News: Matt Duchene had a goal, two assists, and six shots on goal in Friday's win over the Canucks.
Analysis: A dominant effort from Matt Duchene, who has come alive after going scoreless in his first two games. The 23-year-old has three goals and six points in his last five games, to go with a plus-1 rating. Forget the slow start, this is the Duchene we have grown to know. The Avalanche broke out offensively Friday, and Duchene was right in the middle of it. Keep rolling him.

Vladislav Namestnikov
Bolts' Namestnikov Nabs Game-Winner Friday
Vladislav Namestnikov, C, TB
7:59 AM
News: Vladislav Namestnikov was credited with the game-winning power-play goal in Friday's victory over the Jets.
Analysis: The goal gave Vladislav Namestnikov his first point since Oct. 13, spanning five games. While the 21-year-old's future remains bright, he's likely to notice multiple peaks and valleys with his scoring this season, much to the frustration of fantasy owners.

Robin Lehner
Lehner Expected to Start on Saturday
Robin Lehner, G, OTT
7:57 AM
News: Robin Lehner is expected to make his second straight start in net Saturday against the Devils, Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen reports.
Analysis: After a strong showing in the Senators' last game, Robin Lehner will be rewarded with another turn in the net. The 23-year-old goaltender's value is trending upward, but he'll need to keep up against a surprisingly potent Devils offense if he hopes to displace Craig Anderson as the team's top netminder.

Chad Johnson
Isles Stick With Johnson On Saturday
Chad Johnson, G, NYI
7:54 AM
News: Chad Johnson will be in the crease Saturday against the Stars.
Analysis: The Islanders will go with Chad Johnson for the second consecutive game after he snapped the team's two-game losing streak with a hard-fought victory over the Bruins his last time out. With a 2-0 record and .918 save percentage over three appearances, Johnson has been steady for the Islanders when called upon, but a matchup against the high-powered Stars attack will represent his toughest test to date.

 
 
 
Top Videos
Rankings