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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
Devan Dubnyk
Wild's Dubnyk Going For Game 3
Devan Dubnyk, G, MIN
5/6/2015
News: Devan Dubnyk will be between the pipes for Tuesday's Game 3 against the Blackhawks.
Analysis: Devan Dubnyk has hardly looked sharp in the first two games of the series, stopping just 58 of 65 shots (.892 save percentage). With the Wild now down 2-0 as the series shifts to Minnesota, the team will need the Masterson Trophy nominee to come up huge to keep their playoff hopes alive. During 20 regular-season starts at the Xcel Energy Center, Dubnyk went 12-7-1 with a 2.01 GAA and .922 save percentage.

Corey Crawford
Crawford Stops All 30, 'Hawks Go Up 3-0
Corey Crawford, G, CHI
7:57 PM
News: Corey Crawford turned away all 30 pucks the Wild fired on him in Tuesday's 1-0 Game 3 victory.
Analysis: Ever since retaking the reins from Scott Darling in Game 6 against Nashville, Corey Crawford has been a man on fire, stopping 103 of 107 shots (.962) over the last four games -- all Blackhawks wins. In fact, he's made exactly 30 saves in three straight games. There's no doubt that Crawford will be in there once more for Game 4 in Minnesota on Thursday.

Patrick Kane
Hawks' Kane Scores Lone Game 3 Goal
Patrick Kane, RW, CHI
7:52 PM
News: Patrick Kane scored the game's only goal Tuesday against the Wild, with his first-period power-play tally holding up for a 1-0 win and 3-0 series lead.
Analysis: It was his only shot on goal of the game, but it was the only one he needed. Patrick Kane's now on a six-game playoff point streak, and he's scored goals in four straight contests. He'll look to make it five Thursday in Minnesota as the Blackhawks go for the sweep.

Micheal Ferland
Flames' Ferland Out For Game 3
Micheal Ferland, LW, CGY
6:35 PM
News: Updating a previous report, Micheal Ferland (upper body) was made a late scratch and will not play in Tuesday's Game 3 against the Ducks, Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun reports.
Analysis: All indications were that Micheal Ferland was trending toward a return to the lineup after partaking in the Flames' warmup seemingly without incident, but coach Bob Hartley ended up calling a late audible. As a result, Markus Granlund will assume a spot in the lineup, while Ferland misses a second straight match due to injury.

Kris Versteeg
Blackhawks' Versteeg To Sit Out Game 3
Kris Versteeg, RW, CHI
5:00 PM
News: Kris Versteeg (lower body) will not play in Tuesday's Game 3 against the Wild, Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago reports.
Analysis: Kris Versteeg demonstrated some progress by traveling with the Blackhawks to Minnesota, but he'll sit out a third straight contest with the injury. Teuvo Teravainen, who has tallied a point in each of the first two games of the series, will continue to skate on Chicago's third line.

Justin Fontaine
Wild's Fontaine Out For Game 3
Justin Fontaine, RW, MIN
4:57 PM
News: Justin Fontaine (lower body) will not play in Tuesday's Game 3 against the Blackhawks, Chad Graff of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
Analysis: Justin Fontaine will sit for a second straight game while he contends with the injury. Kyle Brodziak slots in as the Wild's fourth-line right wing.

Bryan Bickell
Hawks' Bickell Leads NHL In Hits
Bryan Bickell, LW, CHI
4:57 PM
News: Bryan Bickell leads the NHL in hits going into Game 3 off the Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinals on Tuesday night.
Analysis: Bryan Bickell has 58 hits through eight games which is overshadowing his lack of scoring in the playoffs which is only two assists. He had 11 hits and 12 hits in Game 1 and 2 respectively against the Wild. Coming into the series with the Wild, Bickell had Minnesota's number In 23 games against the Wild the past three seasons, Bickell has scored 15 goals, 20 points and is a plus-11, but it appears that Hawks' coach Joel Quenneville wants him to take a more physical approach.

Nathan Beaulieu
Habs' Beaulieu Practices Tuesday
Nathan Beaulieu, D, MON
4:19 PM
News: Nathan Beaulieu (upper body) took part in practice Tuesday for the Canadiens, Sportsnet.ca reports.
Analysis: The Canadiens have already ruled Nathan Beaulieu out for the next two games of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Lightning, but his return to practice could allow him to return as soon as Game 5. His progress will be monitored over the next several days.

David Desharnais
Habs' Desharnais Expected To Suit Up In Game 3
David Desharnais, C, MON
2:34 PM
News: David Desharnais (illness) has joined the team in Tampa and is expected to play in Wednesday's Game 3, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports.
Analysis: David Desharnais was hospitalized Sunday due to the illness, but after receiving some fluids, it looks like he's now approaching full health. Though the center isn't a primary scorer for the Habs, his proficiency in the faceoff circle and as an assist man are skills the team will need to overcome a 2-0 series deficit.

Andrew Ladd
Jets' Ladd To Have Hernia Surgery Friday
Andrew Ladd, LW, WPG
2:28 PM
News: Andrew Ladd will undergo surgery Friday to address a sports hernia, Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun reports.
Analysis: With several months to go before training camp, Andrew Ladd's availability shouldn't be at risk to begin the season. Despite playing through the sports hernia prior to the Jets' elimination in the first round of the playoffs, Ladd still finished with a career season, netting 24 goals, 62 points, and a plus-9 rating over 81 regular-season contests.

 
 
 
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