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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
Karl Stollery
Avs' Stollery Sent To Minors
Karl Stollery, D, COL
8:58 AM
News: Karl Stollery was reassigned to AHL Lake Erie on Friday.
Analysis: Karl Stollery's demotion could signal that Erik Johnson (head) will be ready to go for Saturday's game against the Stars. Johnson's absence forced Stollery to make his season debut Wednesday against the Blackhawks. He finished plus-1 with one shot on goal in his 12:29 of ice time in the defeat.

Paul Carey
Avs Reassign Carey
Paul Carey, C, COL
8:56 AM
News: Paul Carey was reassigned to AHL Lake Erie on Friday.
Analysis: Paul Carey's services were no longer needed after Alex Tanguay (fractured jaw) returned to the lineup Wednesday without incident. The 26-year-old winger was held off the score sheet in his two games with the Avs.

Petr Mrazek
Red Wings To Start Mrazek On Friday
Petr Mrazek, G, DET
8:50 AM
News: Petr Mrazek will be between the pipes Friday against the Devils, Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger reports.
Analysis: Coach Mike Babcock has elected to rest Jimmy Howard following a stretch of three starts over the previous six days, allowing Petr Mrazek to make his second appearance of the season. The young netminder performed adequately in his season debut Nov. 20 versus the Jets, stopping 28 of 31 shots while coming away with the win.

Cory Schneider
Devils Will Start Schneider On Friday
Cory Schneider, G, NJ
8:48 AM
News: Cory Schneider will be in the crease Friday against the Red Wings, Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger reports.
Analysis: Cory Schneider has taken a loss in three of his previous four starts, dropping his record to .500 (9-9-2) for the season. His ratios have taken a hit this season, but a huge workload has allowed him to rank as the league leader with 557 total saves thus far. He'll take aim at his 10th win against a Red Wings squad that will be starting its backup goalie in Petr Mrazek.

Mike Fisher
Successful Return To Lineup For Preds' Fisher
Mike Fisher, C, NSH
8:45 AM
News: Mike Fisher made his season debut for the Preds during Thursday's 1-0 overtime win against the Oilers. He logged nearly 13 minutes of ice time, was 9-for14 on faceoffs and had three hits. Fisher, who underwent surgery in July for a ruptured Achilles tendon, said after the game that his foot "felt better than I thought it would at this point".
Analysis: Going forward, you should expect Mike Fisher's ice time to increase as coach Peter Laviolette gradually eases him back into a top-six role. He may not see the 18-19 minutes he was used to seeing back when he was centering the Preds' top line, but 16-17 minutes per night is probably a reasonable expectation.

Tanner Glass
Rangers' Glass Out With Flu
Tanner Glass, LW, NYR
8:41 AM
News: Tanner Glass is dealing with flu-like symptoms and will not play Friday against the Flyers.
Analysis: Tanner Glass' absence will allow Lee Stempniak to return to the lineup after serving as a scratch for the team's last four games. The fourth-line agitator is viewed as day-to-day at this point, so he could be recovered in time to play in Saturday's rematch with Philadelphia.

John Moore
Rangers' Moore A Healthy Scratch
John Moore, D, NYR
8:38 AM
News: John Moore will be a healthy scratch for Friday's game against the Flyers.
Analysis: The return of Ryan McDonagh from IR will force the Rangers to drop one of their defensemen from his regular role, and it will be John Moore who draws the short end of the stick. Coach Alain Vigneault said third-pairing blueliner Matt Hunwick has been more dependable with the puck than Moore has of late, which was likely the primary factor in the lineup decision.

Ryan McDonagh
Rangers Activate McDonagh
Ryan McDonagh, D, NYR
8:36 AM
News: Coach Alain Vigneault confirmed that Ryan McDonagh (shoulder) will play Friday against the Flyers.
Analysis: Ryan McDonagh missed nearly four weeks with the shoulder injury. He'll reunite with Dan Girardi on the Rangers' top pairing, giving the defense an added scoring punch. The Rangers went 4-4-3 over the 11 games the captain missed.

Brooks Laich
Caps Activate Laich
Brooks Laich, C, WAS
8:24 AM
News: Brooks Laich (shoulder) was activated from injured reserve Friday, NHL.com's Adam Vingan reports.
Analysis: Brooks Laich has been battling the shoulder injury since mid-October, returning for one game in November before suffering a setback. It appears he's now finally past the injury, but the forward's checkered health history always make him liable to miss time again. He'll presumably be good to go for Friday's game against the Islanders, though it's not immediately clear where he'll fit in.

Tyler Myers
Sabres' Myers To Return Friday
Tyler Myers, D, BUF
8:13 AM
News: Tyler Myers (undisclosed) was a full participant in morning skate and looks set to play Friday against the Canadiens, Bill Harrington of the Buffalo News reports.
Analysis: Tyler Myers slotted in on the Sabres' power-play unit and paired up with Tyson Strachan on defense, demonstrating that he's ready to play. He was forced out of one game due to the undisclosed issue.

 
 
 
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