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
 
 
 

Neutral Zone Wrap: No time to sleep in Fantasy

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

Welcome to 2014. The holiday season hangover may still be lingering, but there's no time to sit back and relax. Fantasy doesn't wait for you to react; it hits back with force if you're not ready to take charge. Fall asleep and you can miss out on the hottest free agent or the chance to pluck a few valuable resources from other owners.

But you don't need to hear the same repeated warning week after week. That is, unless your memory is awful or you have a thing for the sight of reinforced instructions. (And if it's the latter, then you don't need to admit this to continue reading.)

As we begin a new year, we finish off our initial team reviews with the final five. A couple strong contenders appear below, with the remainder looking questionable at best. Your job, should you choose not to ignore it, is to separate the good guys from the bad buys:

(Stats as of Monday January 6)

It's no surprise the Penguins are ahead of the field in the East. And with a couple of their major pieces (No. 71 and No. 58) back in the fold, the rest of the league should tremble. With his regular caddy by his side, Jussi Jokinen (seven points in his last five) should continue to get his chances on net. Without Pascal Dupuis (torn ACL, see you next season), recent call-up Brian Gibbons (four in 10 after 27 in 23 for SWB in the AHL) has been gifted a top-six spot. While Matt Niskanen (points in four straight and seven of the last nine) is posting the better stats, rookie defenseman Olli Maatta (13 as a 19-year old) receives more of the attention. Even helping out on the fourth line won't guarantee Deryk Engelland (three in five since his five-game suspension) a significant role when Paul Martin (broken leg rehab, two more weeks) returns.

Like Pittsburgh, Chicago owns the depth and experience to lead their conference. And, heck, they are dangerous no matter which line is on the ice. Kris Versteeg proves you can always come home Ð and inject immediate influence (12 in his last 16). No signs of Brandon Saad (31 in 45) slowing down anytime soon. Andrew Shaw (one in 11) gives it his all, so his status (dabbling on the first power-play) probably buys him more time. Nothing happening for Bryan Bickell (eight all season, meager minutes, set to be benched), so don't rush out to acquire his services. Even with Corey Crawford entrenched in net, Antti Raanta (11-1, 2.27 GAA, .911 SV% in 16 appearances) earned the right to at least fill in on a more regular basis.

Another season, another year of waiting in Edmonton. Going No. 1 overall doesn't guarantee you anything, which is something Nail Yakupov (at a horrible minus-25) has slowly started to learn. After spending a couple weeks on the sidelines, Mark Arcobello will have to climb his way back (scoreless in six) if he wants to attempt to repeat his early exploits (10 in his first 10). Age is only a number, as Ryan Smyth (five in six) has shown. Lack of consistency, thy name is Ales Hemsky (three in 13 following five consecutive on the scoreboard). And if you're searching for the next short-term defenseman tease, look no further than the newly promoted Brad Hunt (15 in 27 for OKC, possible regular second-shift power-play duty).

If financial hockey success were built solely on defensive prowess, then Florida (fifth worst in the league with a 3.01 GAA) would be stuck in the poorhouse. But you already knew that for years, so let's concentrate on the real info. Many questioned the Panthers front office when they opted for Aleksander Barkov with the number two pick last summer, but the Finn has clearly cemented their choice (leads club with 21). The kid's success can be partially attributed by the assistance of veteran linemates Brad Boyes (five in three) and Sean Bergenheim (five in five, including two PPGs). And don't look now, but 2010 first-rounder Nick Bjugstad (top line ice time) is creeping his way into the Fantasy mindset.

In case you haven't heard, Winnipeg boasts a solid contingent up front; too bad their work on the back end leaves a lot to be desired. Holy Olli! Olli Jokinen, that is (eight in 12). Michal Frolik's rejuvenation (eight in 13 as an old man at 25) has earned him a call to the Czech Olympic squad. An extra year in junior seems to have done Mark Scheifele (12 in 12, averaging around 18 minutes) a lot of good. Skip past the goalies and make a beeline to the blueline. There is an abundance of offense at this position, including the oft-touted hotshot Jacob Trouba (seven in nine, plus-four) and the formerly mentioned underperformer Tobias Enstrom (has to improve from 13 in 45 when logging nearly 24 minutes a night).

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
Karri Ramo
Flames Re-Sign Ramo On One-Year Pact
Karri Ramo, G, CGY
8:04 AM
News: Karri Ramo re-signed Wednesday with the Flames on a one-year, $3.8 million contract, Darren Dreger of TSN reports.
Analysis: With two promising goalie prospects in the pipeline in Joni Ortio and Jon Gillies (the former of whom is signed to a one-way deal), it seemed unlikely heading into the summer that the Flames would find room to bring back Karri Ramo. In addition to Ortio and Ramo, the Flames also have Jonas Hiller under contract for 2015-16, which may force the team to trade one of the three goalies. Assuming Ramo sticks around, he should have a fair chance to compete with both Hiller and Ortio for regular starting duties, though it seems doubtful that he'll capture an overwhelming portion of any timeshare. Ramo went 15-9-3 with a 2.60 GAA and .912 save percentage over 34 appearances last season.

Patrick Eaves
Stars' Eaves Signed One-Year Deal
Patrick Eaves, RW, DAL
7:56 AM
News: Patrick Eaves re-signed Wednesday with the Stars on a one-year, $1.15 million contract, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports.
Analysis: Health issues limited Patrick Eaves to just 47 games last season, but he turned in some of the most productive hockey of his career, tallying 14 goals and 27 points. Eaves' fantasy relevance for the coming season will likely hinge on him seeing more frequent ice time with top-line stars Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, but he'll probably have to hold off the likes of Valeri Nichushkin, Ales Hemsky, and Cody Eakin for those duties.

Mike Ribeiro
Preds' Ribeiro Re-Ups For Two Years
Mike Ribeiro, C, NSH
7:49 AM
News: Mike Ribeiro re-signed Wednesday with the Predators on a two-year, $7 million contract, TSN's Aaron Ward reports.
Analysis: The Predators were able to reach a deal with Mike Ribeiro shortly before he was set to hit unrestricted free agency, locking him back in as their No. 1 center. Skating alongside star rookie Filip Forsberg last season, the 35-year-old Ribeiro was able to revive his career, tallying 15 goals and 47 assists across 82 games. He should remain a useful fantasy commodity once again for what projects to be a strong Predators squad.

Kevin Bieksa
Ducks, Bieksa Agree To Extension
Kevin Bieksa, D, ANA
7:29 AM
News: Kevin Bieksa signed a two-year, $8 million contract extension with the Ducks on Wednesday, Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada reports.
Analysis: Kevin Bieksa, who was acquired Tuesday from the Canucks for a 2016 second-round draft pick, was already under contract for 2015-16 at a cap hit of $4.6, so the extension will keep him in Anaheim until the summer of 2018. The 34-year-old Bieksa is expected to serve as a direct replacement for top-four defenseman Francois Beauchemin, who isn't expected to be retained in unrestricted free agency.

Artem Anisimov
Blackhawks, Anisimov Reach Five-Year Extension
Artem Anisimov, C, CHI
7:23 AM
News: Artem Anisimov signed a five-year, $22.75 million contract extension with the Blackhawks on Wednesday, Darren Dreger of TSN reports.
Analysis: Artem Anisimov, who was one of five players the Blackhawks received back in Tuesday's stunning deal that sent Brandon Saad to the Blue Jackets, is expected to slot in as the team's second or third-line center following the expected offseason departures of Brad Richards and Antoine Vermette. The 27-year-old hasn't tallied more than 45 points in any of his seven NHL seasons, but his steady play in all facets of the game should make him a useful piece in Chicago. Anisimov still has one year remaining on his previous deal with a cap hit of $3.28 million before the extension kicks in next summer and runs through the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

Alex Biega
Biega Signs With Canucks
Alex Biega, D, VAN
12:43 AM
News: The Canucks re-signed Alex Biega to a one-year, two-way contract Tuesday, the Province reports. The deal is worth $600,000 at the NHL level.
Analysis: Alex Biega, who notched a goal in seven games with the big club in 2014-15, spent most of the season with AHL Utica, where he recorded 19 points in 62 games. The 27-year-old is thus slated to reprise his role as a depth blueliner for the Canucks' organization.

Drew Stafford
Jets Retain Stafford
Drew Stafford, RW, WPG
12:35 AM
News: Drew Stafford signed a two-year, $8.7 million deal to remain with the Jets on Tuesday, Sportsnet.ca's Elliotte Friedman reports.
Analysis: The 29-year-old Drew Stafford, who was acquired from Buffalo in February, finished up the 2014-15 season with 18 goals and 43 points in 76 games overall, but his production picked up with the Jets (19 points in 26 games), earning him a nice two-year payday with the team in advance of free agency. He'll likely be ticketed for a second- or third-line role this coming season.

Dougie Hamilton
Flames' Hamilton Signs Six-Year Deal
Dougie Hamilton, D, CGY
12:06 AM
News: Dougie Hamilton signed a six-year, $34.5 million deal with the Flames on Tuesday, Yahoo! Sports reports.
Analysis: Dougie Hamilton came over from Boston in a trade last week, and it appears he's viewed as a key part of the Flames' future. The 22-year-old, who showed flashes of promise as a member of the Bruins, notched 42 points in an average of 21:20 of ice time per game last season.

Martin Jones
Sharks, Jones Reach Agreement On Three-Year Deal
Martin Jones, G, SJ
6/30/2015
News: Martin Jones signed a three-year, $9 million contract with the Sharks on Tuesday, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.
Analysis: Martin Jones has been a member of three different teams within less than a week, but in agreeing to the new contract, it appears he's finally settled on a permanent home. At a $3 million cap hit, Jones will be almost twice as expensive as holdover Alex Stalock ($1.6 million), but both goalies should have a legitimate chance at fighting for the No. 1 job. With the Sharks bringing in a new coach in Peter DeBoer, Stalock doesn't figure to be shown any loyalty as the incumbent, which should allow for the better of the two goalies in training camp to rise to the top of the depth chart to begin the season.

Craig Cunningham
Cunningham Re-Signs With Coyotes
Craig Cunningham, LW, ARI
6/30/2015
News: Craig Cunningham re-signed Tuesday with the Coyotes on a one-year, two-way contract.
Analysis: Though the Coyotes declined to tender a qualifying offer a day earlier to Craig Cunningham, a restricted free agent, it didn't take long for the team to find common ground with the winger on a new deal. The two-way deal will allow the Coyotes to demote Cunningham to AHL Portland without having to go through the waiver process, but given the lack of existing forward talent on the parent club's current roster that might be a moot point. The 24-year-old, who has recorded seven points in 53 career NHL games, could stick with Arizona for the bulk of the season.

 
 
 
Top Videos
Rankings