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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
Alex Tanguay
Avs' Tanguay Will Return On Tuesday
Alex Tanguay, LW, COL
11/25/2014
News: Alex Tanguay (face) has been cleared by doctors and will play against the Coyotes on Tuesday, Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reports.
Analysis: Alex Tanguay was hit in the face with a puck in Thursday's game against the Capitals and was forced to miss Colorado's game on Saturday. It was originally feared that he would be out indefinitely, but after further evaluation it was determined that the injury was not long-term. In 20 appearances this season, the 35-year-old winger has seven goals and four assists.

Cory Schneider
Devils' Schneider Will Start Tuesday
Cory Schneider, G, NJ
2:48 PM
News: Cory Schneider will start between the pipes Tuesday against the Canucks, Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger reports.
Analysis: Cory Schneider will take the crease once again for his league-leading 21st start of the season in Vancouver against his former team. The netminder is fresh off a 29 save shutout over the Oilers last time out.

Henrik Tallinder
Rangers Offer Tallinder Professional Tryout
Henrik Tallinder, D, TOR
1:51 PM
News: Henrik Tallinder has been given a professional tryout with the Rangers' AHL affiliate, Steve Zipay of Newsday reports.
Analysis: Henrik Tallinder had a tryout with the Maple Leafs earlier in the season but was released with no contract offer. The Rangers are without captain, Ryan McDonagh, so if Tallinder is signed by the Rangers he could offer some experience on the Rangers blue line. Last season with Buffalo, Tallinder played 64 games while scoring two goals and six assists.

Curtis McKenzie
Stars Reassign McKenzie
Curtis McKenzie, LW, DAL
1:50 PM
News: The Stars reassigned Curtis McKenzie to AHL Texas on Monday.
Analysis: Curtis McKenzie registered a goal and seven PIM in nine games with the Stars, but with Ryan Garbutt (upper body) poised to return to the lineup, McKenzie will head to AHL Texas to gain more experience.

Andrew Shaw
Hawks' Shaw Likely Back Wednesday
Andrew Shaw, C, CHI
1:36 PM
News: Andrew Shaw (upper body) appears poised to return to the lineup Wednesday against the Avalanche, Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Analysis: The gritty forward should draw back into the lineup after the team demoted his replacement, Phillip Danault, to AHL Rockford on Monday. Andrew Shaw collected three goals and three assists in 18 games before getting injured Nov. 16 against the Stars.

Phillip Danault
Hawks Reassign Danault
Phillip Danault, LW, CHI
1:33 PM
News: The Blackhawks reassigned Phillip Danault to AHL Rockford on Monday, Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Analysis: Phillip Danault appeared in two games with the Hawks, but failed to crack the score sheet. His departure likely means Andrew Shaw (upper body) is ready to return to the lineup, and even though it may not be this year, it's highly unlikely that we've seen the last of Danault at the NHL level.

Brad Marchand
Bruins Activate Marchand
Brad Marchand, LW, BOS
1:21 PM
News: The Bruins activated Brad Marchand (undisclosed) off of IR on Monday, Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe reports.
Analysis: The Bruins reassigned Seth Griffith to clear a roster spot for Brad Marchand, who hasn't been in the lineup since Nov. 15. Marchand recorded five goals and six assists in 19 games before getting hurt, and will provide a much needed boost to a depleted Bruins top six when he reenters the lineup Monday against the Penguins.

Seth Griffith
Bruins' Reassign Griffith
Seth Griffith, C, BOS
1:17 PM
News: The Bruins reassigned Seth Griffith to AHL Providence on Monday, Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe reports.
Analysis: The Bruins activated Brad Marchand (undisclosed) off IR on Monday, with csnne.com's Joe Haggerty suggesting that the move to send Seth Griffith down is "more of a cap thing than anything else."

Corey Crawford
Hawks' Crawford Gives Up Three Goals In Loss
Corey Crawford, G, CHI
12:45 PM
News: Corey Crawford surrendered three goals on 29 shots in Sunday's loss to Vancouver.
Analysis: Despite the loss, it was a strong outing for Corey Crawford, who was making his 11th straight start. He has been one of the best fantasy goalies this season, winning four of his past five games and posting a 9-5-1 record on the year. Backup Anti Raanta (illness) is feeling better and may get a start in the near-future, but any night Crawford is in the Hawks' crease, he needs to be in your lineup.

Kris Versteeg
Hawks' Versteeg Scores Seventh Goal
Kris Versteeg, RW, CHI
12:38 PM
News: Kris Versteeg scored for the third time in four games in Sunday's loss to Vancouver.
Analysis: Life alongside Patty Kane is pretty sweet. Kris Versteeg is thriving on the second line, collecting three goals and seven points in his last four games. He is also playing on the Hawks' top power-play unit, where he tipped in a Duncan Keith shot Sunday. With seven goals on the season, Versteeg is worth adding, at least until Patrick Sharp (leg) returns from injury.

 
 
 
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