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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
Dan Ellis
Ellis Inks Deal With Washington
Dan Ellis, G, FLA
8:37 AM
News: Dan Ellis signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Capitals on Saturday, Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post reports.
Analysis: The 35-year-old will provide Washington with additional goaltender depth at the AHL level, but likely won't get asked to make many NHL starts in 2015-16, as he'll probably slot in as the Caps' fourth string goaltender behind Braden Holtby, Philipp Grubauer, and Justin Peters. However, Dan Ellis was solid when called upon by the Panthers last season, going 4-3-1 with a 2.35 GAA and a .914 save percentage in eight games with Florida.

Jamie McBain
McBain Re-Signs With Kings
Jamie McBain, D, LA
8:28 AM
News: Jamie McBain re-signed Friday with the Kings on a one-year, two-way contract, Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Analysis: With Slava Voynov's status uncertain for 2015-16 following his jailing for domestic violence as well as an Achilles injury, Jamie McBain could have a shot at settling into a regular role on defense for the Kings. He provided better-than-expected results as a fill-in last season when injuries compromised the Kings' depth, contributing three goals and nine points in 26 games while seeing limited ice time.

Derek Smith
FA Smith Heads To Arizona On A Two-Way Deal
Derek Smith, D, ARI
8:25 AM
News: Derek Smith signed Friday with the Coyotes on a one-year, two-way contract.
Analysis: Derek Smith played in Switzerland last season for Zurich, recording five points and four PIM over 25 games. The 30-year-old will function as organizational defensive depth at AHL Portland.

Eric Selleck
Coyotes Re-Sign Selleck
Eric Selleck, LW, ARI
8:23 AM
News: Eric Selleck re-signed Friday with the Coyotes on a one-year, two-way contract.
Analysis: Eric Selleck will more than likely return to AHL Portland this season, after accruing eight goals and 23 points with them over 74 games in 2014-15. The 27-year-old isn't likely to be near the top of the list for the Coyotes as a potential forward call-up.

Cory Conacher
Former Senator Conacher Heads To Switzerland
Cory Conacher, LW, VAN
8:16 AM
News: Cory Conacher signed a contract Thursday with SC Bern of the Swiss Elite League, David Pagnotta of TheFourthPeriod.com reports.
Analysis: After flaming out with a number of NHL clubs over the last two seasons, Cory Conacher will now try to recoup some value over in Europe. Conacher is still just 25 years old, so the door is hardly closed for a return to the NHL down the road.

Andrew Ebbett
Ex-Penguin Ebbett Headed To Switzerland
Andrew Ebbett, C, PIT
8:13 AM
News: Andrew Ebbett signed a contract Thursday with SC Bern of the Swiss Elite League, David Pagnotta of TheFourthPeriod.com reports.
Analysis: Andrew Ebbett split his action between the Penguins and their AHL affiliate at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season. Seeing light minutes with the parent club, he finished with a goal and six points in 24 games, but scored at a point-per-game clip with the AHL club. He'll have a chance to shoulder a large offensive burden with Bern, and if he performs well enough, he could earn himself a one-way NHL deal if he elects to return to North America next season.

Cody Bass
Bass Inks One-Year Deal With Predators
Cody Bass, C, CHI
8:06 AM
News: Cody Bass signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Predators on Saturday, Adam Vingan of The Tennessean reports.
Analysis: Cody Bass, who registered 14 points in 61 games with AHL Rockford in 2014-15, was signed by the Predators on Saturday in order to provide the team with some depth at forward at the AHL level in 2015-16. He will likely spend most of his time with AHL Milwaukee next season.

Andrew MacWilliam
Jets Ink MacWilliam To Two-Way Deal
Andrew MacWilliam, D, WPG
7:41 AM
News: Andrew MacWilliam signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Jets on Friday, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun reports.
Analysis: The Maple Leafs didn't tender Andrew MacWilliam a qualifying offer after he split time between AHL Toronto and the parent club last season, appearing in 12 games at the latter and recording no goals and two assists. The 25-year-old will provide the Jets with organizational defensive depth from the left side.

Ryan O'Reilly
Sabres' O'Reilly Extended For Seven Years, $52.5M
Ryan O'Reilly, C, BUF
7/3/2015
News: Ryan O'Reilly's contract extension with the Sabres will be for seven years and $52.5 million, Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada reports.
Analysis: The $7.5 million annual average value on the deal makes Ryan O'Reilly one of the game's highest-paid players. The Sabres and O'Reilly structured the contract in an atypical fashion, as the salary for each season is only $1 million, with the remainder of the money coming in the form of a signing bonus. It's a steep price to pay for Buffalo, but one the franchise deemed necessary in order to continue its overhaul of one of the league's weakest forward corps. It's worth noting that O'Reilly has scored over 20 goals just once in his career, and the Sabres' previous big money signings - including Christian Ehrhoff and Cody Hodgson - haven't panned out at all. Still, O'Reilly figures to get a lot of ice time in Buffalo and should provide some decent fantasy value.

Joel Ward
Sharks Sign Ward To Three-Year Deal
Joel Ward, RW, SJ
7/3/2015
News: Joel Ward signed a three-year, $9.825 million contract with the Sharks on Friday, CSN Bay Area's Kevin Kurz reports.
Analysis: After the Capitals replaced him with Justin Williams on the first day of free agency, Joel Ward ended up finding a home on the West Coast, where he'll join a veteran forward corps. Ward skated primarily on the third line with the Capitals in 2014-15, notching 19 goals and 34 points in 82 games. Historically, Ward has saved his best work for the postseason (14 goals, 21 assists in 53 playoff games), where the Sharks have infamously failed to come up in the clutch in recent seasons. The 34-year-old Ward probably isn't alone going to get them over the hump or even back in the playoffs, but he'll at least provide the Sharks with a serviceable third-line sniper.

 
 
 
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