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Neutral Zone Wrap: No time to quit

by | Rotowire.com
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Don't ever give up. Even if you believe there isn't any chance for you to win or even make the playoffs in your league, there's still an incentive to keep up the fight. Rolling over was made for odometers and discount retailers, not Fantasy sports.

And what entails making an effort? Well, doing something is a great start. To be more specific, anything involving following trends and news and applying them to transactions counts as work. Got some dead weight to drop? Junk overboard! See the hottest player on the waiver wire? Yup, he's now yours. Hey, they may never end up helping but it probably makes you feel better to prevent others from owning then. So go out there and spoil it for the other guys (and gals).

Check the following flier material to see what's in stock and what isn't even fit for clearance:

(Stats as of Monday January 13)

Instead of leading with the main attraction, let's change it up and start from the bottom. And what better place to begin than Buffalo. It's amazing to see how competitive the Sabres have been of late, seeing how terrible they are at scoring (league-worst 1.58 goals per game). This column has already tabbed Tyler Ennis (17 points in 44 games with a minus-12) for an upswing and you expect Matt Moulson (one in six, minus-six) will turn it around. Once known as a better producer, Steve Ott isn't even posting enough penalty minutes (43 in 44) to justify a pickup. Much promise was bestowed on Marcus Foligno (scoreless in eight) but his dreams of becoming a top power forward have faded away. And if you're hoping for Ville Leino (one in 12) to break out, then the fates predict disappointment.

Philadelphia freedom. Gives peace of mind. Maybe not to the Flyers but it sure sounds like a good idea. No Matt Read (concussion, imminent return) means the likes of Michael Raffl (12 points on the first line) and Tye McGinn (three goals in eight and a temp job on the second power-play) see their chances to shine. It also allows Sean Couturier (20, over 19 minutes) greater opportunities to grow. Try to recall Steve Downie (zero in eight and a scratch) as a promising overall fantasy option and then quickly forget about it. Don't be fooled by the recent play of Andrej Meszaros (like those three assists last Wednesday), as his better fantasy days are long gone. Be confident in Steve Mason (despite allowing five goals in 40 minutes Saturday), since the alternative -- Ray Emery -- isn't exactly taking advantage of his chances (two wins in seven starts).

The specter of doom surrounds Minnesota but that hasn't stopped them. Without their top two forwards (Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu) and their breakout goaltender (the all-world Josh Harding), the Wild have introduced an almost never-ending forward supply. All their accumulated young talent is paying off, with Charlie Coyle (four in two), Justin Fontaine (four in three, including a hat-trick), and Jason Zucker (three in six) the newest examples. The Islanders have to be kicking themselves for giving up on Nino Niederreiter (eight in eight). Welcome back, Dany Heatley (five in five). Temper your expectations on Jonathon Blum (17 in 31 while in the AHL), since he's only in there due to injuries.

Like the previous paragraph, the Sharks have lost a lot of personnel of late. And while San Jose doesn't own as many experienced pieces to fill in, that hasn't prevented them from maintaining their strength. Logan Couture (broken hand, out a few weeks) will sorely be missed and Tomas Hertl (knee surgery, maybe a few months away) can still be a fine secondary performer, but the remaining offense still functions properly. Kudos to anyone not in a keeper league or from the Bay Area who heard of Matthew Nieto (four in seven skating on the second line) and Bracken Kearns (four in nine following 18 in 27 with Worcester) before this season. A knock (of the upper-body variety) to Matt Irwin has provided Jason Demers (nine in 11, including four PPPs) with a prime position.

A club's fate should never be dependent on one player. While Alexander Steen (concussion, give him a few more days) does not yet fit in the elite category, his absence hurts the team. But anyone who has followed St. Louis in recent years realizes their superb depth. Vladimir Tarasenko (12 in nine), come on down. Patrik Berglund (five in four with a plus-five) looks natural in an expanded role. Look out for Vladimir Sobotka (11 in nine). Chris Stewart (two goals in eight) may not be the most active skater (between 13-14 minutes) but he should do better. And yes, there's more on the Blues blueline (try saying those two words 10 times fast) as Jordan Leopold (three in four) has shown.

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Player News
Patrik Berglund
Blues' Berglund Scores In Loss
Patrik Berglund, C, STL
12/22/2014
News: Patrik Berglund scored his fourth goal of the year Saturday in a loss San Jose. He was plus-1 with two shots and two hits on the night.
Analysis: Patrik Berglund's offensive output has been disappointing this year with just 11 points in 32 games, although he has never been a big scorer. Regardless trade rumours surround the veteran Swede and how he responds could provide a boost to his owners.

Steve Ott
Blues' Ott Nets First Of Season
Steve Ott, C, STL
12/22/2014
News: Steve Ott scored his first goal of the season Saturday in a loss to San Jose on his only shot of the game. He added seven hits in 13:46 of ice time in the game.
Analysis: Steve Ott is a veteran role player and penalty killer at this stage in his career, so offensive contributions aren't what the Blues are expecting from him. Fantasy owners should look at him the same way.

Keith Yandle
Coyotes' Yandle Picks Up Helper In Loss
Keith Yandle, D, ARI
12/22/2014
News: Keith Yandle picked up an assist Saturday in a loss to the Kings. He took one shot, registered two PIM, and blocked two shots on the night.
Analysis: Keith Yandle's 21 points rank him 11th among defensemen as he once again shows he is among the top offensive defensemen in the NHL. He has picked up five points in his last eight games.

Jannik Hansen
Hansen (Undisclosed) Expected To Play Monday
Jannik Hansen, RW, VAN
12/22/2014
News: Coach Willie Desjardins indicated Jannik Hansen (undisclosed) should be able to play Monday against the Coyotes.
Analysis: Jannik Hansen collapsed on the bench in the second period of Sunday's game. He and spent the night in the hospital and didn't skate Sunday morning, both for precautionary reasons. However, it appears as though the reasoning behind the collapse was minor, and he should be fine moving forward.

Mike Brown
Sharks' Brown Out 6-8 Weeks With Broken Fibula
Mike Brown, RW, SJ
12/22/2014
News: Mike Brown has a broken right fibula and will miss six-to-eight weeks from the time of the fracture on Dec. 9, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.
Analysis: Mike Brown was placed on injured reserve the day after the injury, indicating it was severe. Now that the injury has been revealed as a broken fibula, the timetable has been set at six-to-eight weeks, scheduling his return for late January or early February

Zdeno Chara
Bruins' Chara Adds Two Helpers
Zdeno Chara, D, BOS
7:58 PM
News: Zdeno Chara dished out a pair of assists in 27:24 worth of ice time in Sunday's 4-3 win over the Sabres.
Analysis: Zdeno Chara now has four points in six contests since returning from a knee injury that held him out for over a month. The 37-year-old has seven points now in 15 games, and will lead the way in minutes most nights on the blue line.

Anton Lander
Oilers' Send Lander Back To AHL
Anton Lander, C, EDM
7:54 PM
News: Anton Lander was sent back to Oklahoma City after Sunday's game versus the Stars, according to the Oilers web site.
Analysis: Anton Landers only played one game in his most recent recall and was a minus two to go along with six shots. Apparently that wasn't good enough to stick around.

Tuukka Rask
Bruins' Rask Snaps Streak In Win
Tuukka Rask, G, BOS
7:54 PM
News: Tuukka Rask made 25 saves on 28 shots in Sunday's 4-3 win over the Sabres.
Analysis: The Bruins offense has been struggling recently, so despite solid play in net Tuukka Rask entered Sunday's game with four straight losses. While his numbers are down from last season, with a 2.52 GAA and .913 save percentage to go with a 13-10-3 record, the 27-year-old is still one of the better options out there and should benefit when the offense in front of him starts to produce.

Andrej Meszaros
Sabres' Meszaros Scores In Loss
Andrej Meszaros, D, BUF
7:49 PM
News: Andrej Meszaros scored on his only shot in Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Bruins.
Analysis: It's Andrej Meszaros' first goal of the season, and the blueliner now has five points through 22 games. His playing time has been limited this season between injuries and being a healthy scratched, so the 29-year-old doesn't have a ton of fantasy value.

Tim Schaller
Sabres' Schaller Gets First Point
Tim Schaller, LW, BUF
7:46 PM
News: Tim Schaller scored in Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Bruins for his first career point.
Analysis: Playing in just his third career game, and first since being recalled, Tim Schaller temporarily broke the tie with his third period goal. His last NHL stint lasted just one day, and despite the goal, it could be another short stay for the 24-year-old.

 
 
 
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