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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
Patrick Maroon
Ducks' Maroon Opens Scoring In Boston
Patrick Maroon, LW, ANA
12:26 PM
News: Patrick Maroon scored his ninth of the season Thursday night against the Bruins.
Analysis: A nifty little move allowed Patrick Maroon to get open and fire a shot past Bruins' goalie Tuukka Rask. He's only managed 33 points on the season, but he remains part of a whole host of Ducks who are hanging around the outer region of fantasy relevance.

Corey Perry
Ducks' Perry Scores Late Equalizer
Corey Perry, RW, ANA
12:12 PM
News: Corey Perry scored in the last minute of the third to send Thursday's game against the Bruins to overtime.
Analysis: He struggled throughout the early part of March with just four points in the first nine games, but has bounced back nicely with four goals and an assist in his last five. Corey Perry is heating up at just the right time for the Ducks.

Tyler Ennis
Sabres' Ennis Out Saturday, But Could Play Monday
Tyler Ennis, LW, BUF
10:55 AM
News: Tyler Ennis (upper body) will travel with the Sabres on their two-game road trip, but won't play Saturday against the Avalanche.
Analysis: With a goal and a power-play assist, Tyler Ennis was perhaps the Sabres' brightest star in Thursday's loss to the Coyotes in Tankapalooza 2015, but was ultimately forced out of the contest in the third period due to the injury. It doesn't sound like the ailment is too significant for Ennis, but he'll need at least one game off to recover. Though Ennis could be ready to go in time for Monday's rematch with the Coyotes in Arizona, Tim Schaller will fill his spot in Saturday's contest.

Anders Lindback
Sabres' Lindback Expected To Start Saturday
Anders Lindback, G, BUF
10:49 AM
News: Anders Lindback is expected to receive the start in goal Friday against the Avalanche.
Analysis: With Matt Hackett battling knee soreness over the last couple of days, it makes sense that coach Ted Nolan is leaning toward giving Anders Lindback the nod in goal. Lindback is currently sitting on an excellent .926 save percentage over his nine appearances, but he's fallen below the .900 threshold his last two times and has only managed to pick up one win thus far. The league-worst Sabres aren't going to get much better over the final handful of games, so don't expect Lindback's results to improve either.

Rene Bourque
Jackets' Bourque Won't Play Friday
Rene Bourque, LW, CLB
10:45 AM
News: Rene Bourque (upper body) will not play Friday against the Blackhawks.
Analysis: Rene Bourque was limited to skating on his own during Friday's morning skate, so he'll be forced to sit out his second straight game. The injury has come at an unfortunate time for Bourque, as he had potted three goals and put 12 shots on net in the last two games he played. He could be back in action for Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, but a top-line role might not necessarily be waiting for him.

Brandon Dubinsky
Jackets' Dubinsky Back In Friday
Brandon Dubinsky, C, CLB
10:42 AM
News: Brandon Dubinsky (upper body) was present for the Blue Jackets' morning skate and looks to be back in the lineup for Friday's game against the Blackhawks.
Analysis: Brandon Dubinsky returned to practice Thursday without incident, and after missing the team's last four games, he appears set to play again. The forward skated on the second line with Artem Anisimov and Nick Foligno during the Blue Jackets' morning skate session. A variety of injuries have limited Dubinsky to just 38 games this season, but he's been reasonably productive when healthy, tallying nine goals and 25 points.

James Reimer
Leafs Turn To Reimer For Saturday Start
James Reimer, G, TOR
10:32 AM
News: James Reimer will be in the crease for Saturday's game against the Senators, Terry Koshan of the Ottawa Sun reports.
Analysis: After coming on to stop all 11 of the shots he faced in relief of Jonathan Bernier in Thursday's loss to the Panthers, James Reimer will be rewarded with the starting nod. Reimer has typically thrived against the Senators over his career (10-3-1, 2.33 GAA, .934 save percentage in 16 appearances), but many of those wins came when he was a member of at least semi-competitive Leafs squads. Needless to say, he doesn't find himself in nearly as favorable of a team context right now, and as such, shouldn't be trusted to deliver positive results.

Brett Connolly
Bruins' Connolly Takes Rushes
Brett Connolly, RW, BOS
10:26 AM
News: Brett Connolly (finger) took part in line rushes during Friday's practice.
Analysis: Brett Connolly alternated in and out with David Pastrnak as the right wing on the Bruins' second pairing. The fact that he didn't have a spot to himself suggests that Connolly probably won't be an option over the next couple of games for the Bruins, but the team isn't closing the door on the forward joining the lineup before season's end. Connolly's progress will remain under evaluation over the next couple of days before the Bruins reach a possible target date for his return.

Chad Johnson
Sabres' Johnson Gets Back On Ice
Chad Johnson, G, BUF
10:22 AM
News: Chad Johnson (lower body) was on the ice for a brief workout Friday.
Analysis: The Sabres initially feared Chad Johnson would be lost for the season after he suffered the lower-body injury during practice March 6, just four days after he was acquired from the Islanders. While the on-ice workout represented a positive step for the goalie, with only two weeks remaining in the season it's still up in the air if he'll be able to see competitive action in 2014-15. In a best-case scenario, Johnson probably shouldn't be expected to receive much more than one or two starts for the Sabres the rest of the way.

Zach Sill
Toronto's Sill Practices Friday
Zach Sill, LW, TOR
10:16 AM
News: Zach Sill (undisclosed) took part in Friday's practice, Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun reports.
Analysis: Zach Sill missed Thursday's game against the Panthers due to the injury, but his presence to practice suggests a long-term absence was off the table. With Greg McKegg heading back to AHL Toronto and Sam Carrick missing Friday's practice due to family reasons, there could be room in the lineup Saturday against the Senators to accommodate the returns of Sill and Trevor Smith (undisclosed).

 
 
 
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