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Blue Line Buzz: Upside of buying low

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

Buy Low (But Buyer Beware)

Endangered species sightings ...

Tyler Myers, Sabres: We may remember Myers as one of the most maddening players to own after his rookie season (Or maybe that's just me. Not bitter). Myers hasn't been the most relevant of defenders this season but there was a sighting in the City of Fires Saturday evening in a shootout loss to Columbus as Myers scored twice, the second of which coming with 25 seconds left to send the game to overtime. However, Myers may be hearing his name called again by the league's Department of Player Safety for his check on James Wisniewski in the first period. Regardless of the spinning wheel of justice, Myers seems to have been playing better hockey since returning from his suspension, notching three points in those two games.

Buffalo has been playing some better of hockey of late in terms of generating offense (see Tyler Ennis) and Myers stands to benefit. The Sabres might be one of the worst teams in the league, but they're going to score a goal every now and then. Myers still has the skill set that saw him grab 48 points as a rookie and another 10-goal season in his sophomore campaign, but he's been elusive the two years since. A strong second half could make Myers a heady pickup for the season's final 30-plus games.

John Carlson, Capitals: Few defenders had fallen off the collective radar of most standard format league owners than Washington's Carlson. Following a 37-point rookie season and 22 points in 48 games last year, Carlson was expected to do a bit more than the 17 points he has through these 48 games. The American Olympian, still only 24 years old, has a solid eight goals on the season, but it's the nine assists that are a little surprising considering the power-play time he is seeing on the Caps and the up-and-down production of teammate Mike Green.

Carlson slammed home a goal in Friday's loss to Columbus, Washington's lone goal. The tally was his first since December 20 and just his fourth point since the end of November. Carlson is a player with talent, but can't seem to generate consistent production despite the positives of his situation. He's shooting the puck at a rate much higher than his first two seasons, 131 through 48 games and he has seven of his season's 17 points on the power play.

If Carlson is available in your league, snatch him up. It won't cost you much and it could pay off.

Jack Johnson, Blue Jackets: Likely to be one of the first calls made by USA hockey if there is any injury to any of the defensemen heading to Sochi, Johnson's name has been buzzing through the media since it was not called New Year's Day. Johnson was one of the primary subjects of Scott Burnside's piece detailing the selection of the US hockey team, but hadn't been active until the last week with five assists over a three-game span, including two Friday in the win over Washington. Had Johnson been producing at this rate throughout the season, there likely would have been little debate about his inclusion for Sochi. Regardless, Johnson appears to be playing headier hockey of late for the surging Blue Jackets, a team very much in the Metropolitan Division playoff race. Johnson has the experience and track record of being a productive defensemen and he's still seeing power-play time, although he has been ceding a bit to Ryan Murray of late. James Wisniewski may also take some of Johnson's scoring chances. Johnson certainly fits the billing of a buy low, low-risk acquisition.

Poolies might also want to look at Murray, who has six assists in eight games since the calendar changed to January. Murray's not the most reliable of defensive players, something to consider as the rookie battles for ice time on a crowded blue line.

Tobias Enstrom, Jets: Certainly one of the larger disappointments of the season, Enstrom simply has not been scoring or generating offense at the rate owners were expecting. Never to be confused with a defender capable of slamming home 10-plus goals a season, Enstrom had been a steady source of assists and owned a solid points-per-game rate over his last several seasons, all of which had been plagued by nagging injuries. This year, though, he's been healthy; health which has resulted in a mindboggling 15 points through 70 games.

The Jets are a team in transition having recently hired Paul Maurice, a team that has been scoring more than most were expecting of late. One of Maurice's decisions that could benefit Enstrom is to play Dustin Byfuglien at forward at even strength. Buff, currently third in defensemen scoring with 38 points, is still playing the point on the power play, but Enstrom could see more scoring chances at even strength, albeit for a team that wasn't terribly productive before Maurice arrived in Manitoba. Enstrom has just two points in the last four games, but Maurice seems to be deploying him freely on the power play.

Enstrom is certainly an option if you need help in deeper leagues, but budding star Jacob Trouba has snagged three goals in the last two games, including two Saturday against Edmonton. Trouba is eating power-play time as well and should definitely be relevant in keeper leagues. Remember, Trouba broke out early in the season and then fell victim to injuries and lacking production.

Alexander Edler, Canucks: While the Canucks will undoubtedly dominate the discussion in hockey circles for their opening faceoff line brawl with Calgary Saturday, the team welcomed back a comforting figure on the blue line in Edler. The Swedish Olympian has returned from a month-long absence and notched two assists in four games, both of which have come on the power play. Edler is no stranger to production, having cracked 40 points in two of the last three full seasons and likely would have done so in 2011 were it not for an injury, as he had 33 points in 51 games.

Edler is a prime candidate for a bounceback as he hadn't been terribly productive before missing a month with just three goals, 11 points and a minus-12 rating. Vancouver isn't hurting for defensive scoring with Jason Garrison and, to a lesser extent, Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis, but Edler should slot back in with the team's scoring lines and generate some offense.

Waiver Wire: Owners in need of a defensive boost might want to check out Tyson Barrie of Colorado (five points in the last seven) and Tampa's Mark Barberio (scored twice Sunday against Carolina and had an assist Saturday against San Jose, giving him three points in the last two tilts).

Lastly, those in Olympic pools might want to look toward Latvia. Sadly, Arturs Irbe will not be in goal, but former Av and Duck Sandis Ozolish will be skating again.

Question of the week: Make a six-man defensive corps out of defensemen not going to Sochi.

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Player News
Clayton Stoner
Ducks' Stoner To Return Saturday
Clayton Stoner, D, ANA
10:18 AM
News: Clayton Stoner (illness) is expected to play Saturday against the Blackhawks, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register reports.
Analysis: When Clayton Stoner fell ill over the past weekend, the Ducks feared that he was the latest victim of the mumps virus that has wreaked havoc in the locker room all season. Instead, it seems like his illness was something less severe, as he practiced Thursday with seemingly no restrictions. He'll slot back in for Francois Beauchemin, who will miss Saturday's game with a suspected hand injury.

Francois Beauchemin
Ducks' Beauchemin Likely Out Friday
Francois Beauchemin, D, ANA
10:15 AM
News: Francois Beauchemin (upper body) is not expected to play Friday against the Blackhawks, NHL.com's Curtis Zupke reports.
Analysis: It sounds like Francois Beauchemin's hand is still ailing him after he hurt it while blocking a shot Tuesday against Calgary. Clayton Stoner figures to return to the lineup in his stead.

Jason Akeson
Flyers' Akeson Clears Waivers
Jason Akeson, C, PHI
10:12 AM
News: Jason Akeson cleared waivers and was assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley on Friday.
Analysis: The 24-year-old went unclaimed after failing to muster a single point over 12 games with the Flyers. Playing outside of a top-six role seemed to be his downfall with the Flyers, but he's proven to be a potent scorer in the AHL when he receives more consistent minutes.

Sergei Bobrovsky
Jackets Will Go With Bobrovsky On Friday
Sergei Bobrovsky, G, CLB
10:10 AM
News: Sergei Bobrovsky will be in the crease Friday against the Canucks.
Analysis: Coach Todd Richards wasn't certain whether Sergei Bobrovsky would start Saturday's game against Nashville, but the goalie would likely make the decision easier for his coach with a strong outing Friday night. That's no easy task to come by, as the Canucks have been road warriors with an 8-3-0 mark away from Rogers Arena this season and boast one of the league's better offensive attacks.

Brendan Shinnimin
Coyotes Recall Shinnimin
Brendan Shinnimin, C, ARI
10:00 AM
News: Brendan Shinnimin was recalled from AHL Portland on Friday.
Analysis: Brendan Shinnimin, 23, had four goals and 10 points over 19 games with Portland. It's not immediately clear if Shinnimin will be filling in for an injured regular or merely serving as a depth forward, but he's probably not worth tracking until he produces with the Coyotes, in any event.

Josh Gorges
Sabres Rule Gorges Out For Both Weekend Games
Josh Gorges, D, BUF
9:57 AM
News: Josh Gorges (knee) will not play Friday against the Canadiens and isn't likely to suit up in Saturday's rematch either, Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News reports.
Analysis: Josh Gorges was on the ice as an extra for Friday's morning skate, and while he feels like he's ready to go, the Sabres' doctors aren't signing off on his return just yet. Unless the doctors change their tune Saturday morning, it's looking likely that Gorges won't be activated until prior to next Tuesday's game against the Lightning.

Victor Hedman
Bolts' Hedman Skates As Extra Friday
Victor Hedman, D, TB
9:51 AM
News: Victor Hedman (hand) was skating as an extra at Friday's practice, suggesting he won't suit up Saturday versus the Senators, Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports.
Analysis: Victor Hedman wore a regular jersey and took full contact, but it would appear that the Lightning want him to get another practice or two in before getting him back in the lineup next week. There's still a possibility that Hedman could talk his way into the lineup after Saturday's morning skate, so it's probably advisable to keep track of his situation in the event he ends up being a surprise activation prior to that evening's game.

Darcy Kuemper
Wild's Kuemper To Start Friday
Darcy Kuemper, G, MIN
9:51 AM
News: Darcy Kuemper will start in goal Friday against Dallas, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Analysis: Darcy Kuemper will start despite giving up four goals and getting pulled in the first period in Wednesday's loss. Niklas Backstrom has a bad track record in Dallas and Kuemper has bounced back from poor outings this season, so the Wild will keep him in goal. Backstrom is likely to start Saturday in the second of back-to-back games.

Jussi Jokinen
Panthers' Jokinen Likely Out With Flu Friday
Jussi Jokinen, LW, FLA
9:46 AM
News: Jussi Jokinen is battling the flu and is unlikely to play Friday against the Senators, Harvey Fialkov of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.
Analysis: Jussi Jokinen wasn't present at Friday's morning skate, so barring a dramatic recovery over the afternoon, it appears that he'll sit out for the first time this season. The veteran winger could probably benefit from the rest in any case, as he's cooled considerably since his hot start in November, going without a point and producing a minus-3 rating over his last four games. Jimmy Hayes figures to rejoin the lineup in Jokinen's place.

Jay Bouwmeester
Blues' Bouwmeester Likely Out Again
Jay Bouwmeester, D, STL
9:42 AM
News: Jay Bouwmeester (lower body) is expected to miss his third straight game Saturday versus the Oilers, Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Analysis: Jay Bouwmeester wasn't present at the Blues' morning skate and hasn't resumed on-ice work since suffering a lower-body injury last weekend. Chris Butler is once again in line to replace him on defense. Bouwmeester would seem unlikely to play in Minnesota on Saturday, either.

 
 
 
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