Keeper Watch: Another Wave of Rookies

12/31/2009
New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils

‘Keeper Watch’ will come out every Wednesday, noting the changes in value for top prospects who are most likely available in your league. We will also focus on young players once considered top prospects. Similarly to our ‘Endorsed Pickups’ I will try not to focus too much on one position, which will leave some noteworthy players off the list.

This edition of Keeper Watch much like last week’s edition will take an extended look at the rookies getting their chance around the league.  Most on this list are recent call ups with some already receiving their demotions.  Still there are some young guys worth looking at in your keeper:

C: Mattias Ritola, Detroit Red Wings – Ritola received a call-up from Grand Rapids on December 27th and coach Mike Babcock almost immediately inserted him on the second line alongside Valtteri Filppula and Drew Miller.  In 32 games in the AHL the 22-year-old scored eight goals and added seven assists a modest total but certainly not lighting the lamp.  At this rate second line seems like an absolute ceiling but you never know the way Detroit develops players.

Prognosis: I would not project more than 30-40 points as a career-high once he lands a full-time gig.

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Daily Fantasy 3 Stars 12/27/2009

12/28/2009
Vancouver Canucks v Philadelphia Flyers

In this section, I break down the top three fantasy hockey performers every night and cite why I chose them in particular. In addition, I will track the amount of times the players have received this honor and tally them at the end of the season. For the sake of clarity, I will be using Yahoo! standard categories (Forwards – G,A,+/-, PP, PIM, SOG; Goalies – W, GAA, SV%, SHO) and thus exclude player’s salaries.

Honestly, it was not a terribly boring Sunday.  With six games and 12 teams in action the NHL took on the NFL head-to-head and fared rather favorably.  A night for the offense as seven of 12 scored at least 3 goals. Here are our standout fantasy stars for the evening:

THIRD STAR: Lee Stempniak, Toronto Maple Leafs (0-0-1) –  Stempniak earned first star honors in his actual game as he lead the Leafs to a 4-3 victory over the Penguins. The 26-year-old right wing scored a powerplay goal while assisting on two more goals.  In addition, he fired three shots on goal while posting a perfect plus two on the evening.  Mostly labeled a bust since his arrival in Toronto Stempniak’s game shows signs of turning the corner and becoming a true scoring threat.

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What Will Washington Do…

12/19/2009
Anaheim Ducks v New Jersey Devils

…with all that cap room?

With the loan of Michael Nylander to Grand Rapids of the NHL, the Capitals gained financial flexibility which should allow them to acquire some help in areas they deem necessary.  As of this writing, the Caps 24 wins lead the League making the average fan ask: How can they possibly get better?

Corey Masisak of The Washington Times lists five speculative picks that would bolster this team as they prepare for a lengthy playoff campaign.  As the team stands there is little need for improvement but one could make a case for another top defender.

As we know from our history watching the playoffs, depth is key.  The team’s current construction has featured numerous players shifting up and down the teams forward lines as coach Bruce Boudreau dealt with injuries and juggling in order to find the proper mix.  Still Masisak believes the most glaring need is this top defenseman. His solution: Scott Niedermayer.

Niedermayer currently captains the Anaheim Ducks and has lead them, as well as his former team the New Jersey Devils, to the Stanley Cup.  In addition, this may be the last year in the NHL for the 36-year-old.  Although he only has three goals on the season, he would become a powerful weapon on the Washington powerplay, something dreams are made of.  He along with Mike Green would give them two elite puck-moving defensemen which would be incredibly dangerous for this already powerful offense.

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Hungry Preds Avoid Injury Bug

12/18/2009
Nashville Predators v Colorado Avalanche

So far in this season of the National Hockey League, injuries have been a plenty. Across the board every NHL team featured a substantial injury or two.

However, there has been one team able to avoid the issue of a long term injury to a key player or players.  That team is the Nashville Predators.

Aside from the team being one of the hottest teams in hockey as of late, they have been gifted by the hockey gods. Up to today, the Predators lost a total of 60 man-games due to injury or illness, one of the lowest number of man-games lost in the entire league.

The list:

Jason Arnott – Missed from October 21st to October 31st

Wade Belak – Missed from November 14th to November 19th

J.P. Dumont – Missed from October 8th to October 14th and then missed November 5th to November 10th.

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Injury Updates 12/08/2009

12/08/2009
Atlanta Thrashers v New York Islanders

This thread will be updated all day, so keep refreshing it as the day goes along. Here are your wounded bodies for tonight:

Injuries Tonight

New York Islanders

  • Brendan Witt hit by a car today, but he is okay. Andy Sutton expected to play Saturday. [Islanders Point Blank]

Philadelphia Flyers

Montreal Canadiens

  • Paul Mara and Benoit Pouliot expected to sit tonight’s game out. [Habs Inside/Out]

Nashville Predators

  • More of a lineup update than an injury but Cody Franson out, Alexander Sulzer in.

Dallas Stars

Anaheim Ducks

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-Alexander Monaghan
NHLHS Founder
thehotstove@gmail.com