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Neutral Zone Wrap: A time to trade

by | Rotowire.com
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Ask not what your Fantasy team can do for you, ask what others can do for your Fantasy team. The other owners in your league may be perceived as your so-called enemies but they can unknowingly help you achieve success.

How so?

Say you're looking to trade. The first task is to target the player(s) in question. Check the other rosters and find a way to get it done. This process may not be straightforward but you should be persistent in your endeavor. Heck, if you know someone favors a certain NHL club, then try to work that angle to your advantage. If that owner is out of contention, then he/she may be more likely to give up value for a chance to grab a familiar face.

The aforementioned procedure is by no means foolproof but it's definitely a viable option if you're aiming for the title. Maybe some skater in the following collection just happens to be the one you've targeted for weeks. OK, that's probably not likely but there has to be at least one guy who deserves your attention:

(Stats as of Monday February 3)

Give my regards to the Rangers. Who knows what the future holds for Ryan Callahan in the Big Apple, but they'll be fine on the right side if Mats Zuccarello keeps up his run (four points in three games, nine in his last 11). After a couple seasons of grooming, Chris Kreider may be emerging as the forward New York has been waiting for (he's much better than a three-point night shoved in between eight scoreless efforts). Being the #3 center isn't as bad as it sounds for Derick Brassard (four in three, slots nicely on the second power-play). Don't get your hopes up on Benoit Pouliot (two in seven). The deep crater left behind by Michael Del Zotto has been adequately filled by Marc Staal (four in three, plus-6) and allows John Moore (the 21st pick in 2009) extended opportunities.

The Big Bad Bruins are back. As long as Reilly Smith (recent seven-game point streak) keeps producing, Loui Eriksson (four in 10 since a concussion) may have to wait longer to recover his scoring touch. It's amazing to see how Carl Soderberg (28 in 46) has excelled, especially when he's down on the third line. Unfortunately for you, Chris Kelly (who peaked at 38 in 2011-12) scores much higher on intangibles than he does in the scoring department. And if you're a Tuukka Rask owner (raises hand, shakes head), you have to be miffed to see Chad Johnson (stealing four wins and a shutout the last two weeks) fill in more than he's supposed to.

Phoenix are hanging around the edge of playoff contention, so it remains to be seen what moves they make approaching the trade deadline. One would never be able to guess Shane Doan (four in six, including two power-play assists) is 37 based on the way he battles. Reliability and hard work have paid off for Lauri Korpikoski (six in seven), as he received the call to join Team Finland in Sochi. Even if the ice time ain't what it used to be, Mike Ribeiro (seven in seven) doesn't disappoint. And without much defensive special-team duty left, it's up to you to decide between veterans Derek Morris (two in 16) and Zbynek Michalek (points in two after nothing in seven following an injury) or 2011 first-rounder Connor Murphy (could sneak his way in one of the PP units).

Like the Coyotes, the 'Canes sit right behind the top eight in the East. The return of Cam Ward should provide a boost, even if Anton Khudobin (five victories in six, no more than three allowed in any of those) has performed admirably of late. Even time out and a temporary demotion shouldn't hurt Jiri Tlusty (five in six) for the rest of the campaign. The future is now for Elias Lindholm (one in 10), but maybe the 19-year old isn't ready for it. How Manny Malhotra made his way back from an eye injury is heartwarming, but don't be fooled by the offensive anomalies (three points last week vs. Ottawa, but the surrounding 11 goose eggs remain closer to the norm). Enjoy whatever John-Michael Liles (scoreless in six) can earn before he loses his prime power-play position.

One of these days the Islanders will figure it out. After arriving in October, Thomas Vanek (a blistering 31 in 32 in Long Island) realized where he was and apparently doesn't want to stay long-term. Congrats to Frans Nielsen (eight in 10, three PPAs) for keeping up the consistency and making many eat their words. Brock Nelson (four goals in eight) is slowly maturing and definitely worth a flyer for his secondary power-play action. Calvin De Haan hasn't necessarily wowed offensively since turning pro (but ran a five-game point streak in the middle of January), but the minutes are there to build a Fantasy resume. And if Andrew MacDonald is also ready to be traded to a contender, perhaps Thomas Hickey (four in six) can move up to a larger role.

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Player News
Andrei Vasilevskiy
Lightning Could Start Vasilevskiy On Tuesday
Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, TB
10:38 AM
News: Joe Smith of The Tampa Bay Times expects Andrei Vasilevskiy to draw the start Tuesday against the Maple Leafs.
Analysis: With Ben Bishop having earned the win Monday against Montreal, it looks like Andrei Vasilevskiy is in line to get a shot at Toronto on Tuesday. The Leafs snapped a seven-game slide with Saturday's 4-3 overtime win over Ottawa.

Martin St. Louis
Rangers' St. Louis Not Quite Ready
Martin St. Louis, RW, NYR
10:28 AM
News: Martin St. Louis (knee) participated in the Rangers' morning skate on Tuesday, Andrew Gross of The Record reports.
Analysis: That said, Martin St. Louis won't play Tuesday night against the Jets, though it does appear as though his return to action isn't too far off.

Henrik Lundqvist
Rangers Stick With Lundqvist
Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR
10:24 AM
News: Henrik Lundqvist is in line to start Tuesday's game against the Jets, Pat Leonard of the NY Daily News reports.
Analysis: After allowing four goals in Saturday's loss to the Bruins, in his first game since Feb. 2, Henrik Lundqvist will look to bounce back Tuesday, with the Rangers having dropped two straight contests overall.

Cory Schneider
New Jersey Goes With Schneider On Tuesday
Cory Schneider, G, NJ
10:10 AM
News: Cory Schneider is slated to start Tuesday's game against the Blue Jackets, Tom Gulitti of The Record reports.
Analysis: Cory Schneider, who has lost his last four decisions, draws a tough matchup Tuesday, with Columbus in the midst of a six-game winning streak.

Bryan Little
Jets' Little Set To Return
Bryan Little, C, WPG
9:57 AM
News: Bryan Little (upper body) is slated to play Tuesday against the Rangers.
Analysis: Bryan Little, who has missed the Jets' last 11 games, is slated to return to the team's top line on Tuesday. Prior to being sidelined, Little had recorded 24 goals and 51 points in 65 games for the Jets.

Evgeni Malkin
Pens' Malkin Misses Practice Tuesday
Evgeni Malkin, C, PIT
9:53 AM
News: Evgeni Malkin's absence during Tuesday's practice was explained as a "maintenance day" by assistant coach Gary Agnew.
Analysis: "Just a maintenance day for him," Agnew said. Fantasy owners will want to keep close watch on Evgeni Malkin's status heading into Wednesday's game against Philadelphia. He missed six games with a lower-body injury before returning for a pair of games last weekend.

Ondrej Pavelec
Jets Turn To Pavelec On Tuesday
Ondrej Pavelec, G, WPG
9:48 AM
News: Ondrej Pavelec is slated to start Tuesday's contest against the Rangers, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun reports.
Analysis: Ondrej Pavelec, who will look to bounce back from Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Blackhawks, will take aim Tuesday at a Rangers squad that has dropped two straight contests by a combined tally of 9-4.

Tuukka Rask
Bruins Turn To Rask On Tuesday
Tuukka Rask, G, BOS
9:41 AM
News: Tuukka Rask is slated to start Tuesday's game against the Panthers, FoxsportsFlorida's Steve Goldstein reports.
Analysis: Tuukka Rask, who will square off against Roberto Luongo on Tuesday, is past a migraine episode that he dealt with Saturday, as evidenced by his 30-save effort in Sunday's 2-1 overtime win over the Hurricanes.

Roberto Luongo
Panthers' Luongo Back in Business
Roberto Luongo, G, FLA
9:36 AM
News: Roberto Luongo (shoulder) is slated to start Tuesday's game against the Bruins, George Richards of the Miami Herald reports.
Analysis: Roberto Luongo didn't start Sunday against Ottawa because his shoulder tightened up following Saturday's loss to Montreal, but a little rest was evidently all that he needed for the issue to settle down enough to be back in net for Tuesday's key showdown against the Bruins, who hold a four-point lead on the Panthers in the Eastern Conference standings.

Andrew Hammond
Sens' Hammond Set To Play Tuesday
Andrew Hammond, G, OTT
9:25 AM
News: Andrew Hammond (back) will start Tuesday's game against the Red Wings.
Analysis: Andrew Hammond, who relayed Monday that he has been dealing with a back issue, will return to the Ottawa net for the first time since this past Thursday's game, in which he was pulled after giving up five goals on 22 shots. Hammond, who had been on quite a roll prior to that, will now look to help the Sens snap a three-game slide on Tuesday.

 
 
 
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