The title says it all. This article will be no more than a comprehensive list of NHL (and some other players owned by NHL teams) players set to participate in the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Any player written about is under 50 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues.
This week we will go over several streaking players in the NHL leading us to another extended version of NHLHS Endorsed Pickups.
Here are today’s picks:
C: Alexander Steen, St. Louis Blues – Despite his position in most fantasy leagues, Steen plays left wing on the second line for the Blues. Although this team deals with lack of production at times, this second generation forward continues to score at an alarming rate. With nine points in his last five games the chemistry with current line-mates TJ Oshie and David Backes seems electric
Prognosis: Hopefully Steen will gain LW eligibility. Regardless, his production rivals many top fantasy superstars so ride him while he is hot!
C: Tim Connolly, Buffalo Sabres – With Derek Roy day-to-day, Connolly should get extended ice time. This news comes on the heels of a four-game point streak in which this 28-year-old center produced six points. Since the lockout, the Syracuse, New York, native averages nearly a point-per-game making him a safe bet in all formats.
Prognosis: Another grab him while he is hot comment would fit here. When healthy, Connolly makes a solid number two center in all formats. If your league excludes PIMs, even better.
Tom Reed of The Columbus Dispatch recently reported that Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson will shake things up soon in an attempt to send a message to his team. Considered a strong team with room for improvement following their first playoff berth, the young team struggled and currently sit in 14th in the Western Conference, just one point above cellar dweller the Edmonton Oilers.
The difference between the Oilers and Blue Jackets however are injuries. The Oilers lost their number one goalie and arguably their number one scorer, if not for the breakout year of Dustin Penner and admirable job by Jeff Deslauriers thinks could be even worse in the province of Alberta.
The Blue Jackets’ problems prove not as simple. A sophomore slump from Derick Brassard and Steve Mason severely hurt their chances, as well as the deportation of Nikita Filatov. Couple those problems with the injury to top defenseman Rostislav Klesla and the Jackets lost key components to last year’s playoff team.
Nevertheless, Howson stayed the course admitting he would not make any panic moves. At this point a move seems too late. Recent rumblings around Twitter point to Karl Alzner moving to Columbus.
Just a couple of trade rumors going around the league.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets are not looking to make a move at the moment according to Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch. As of this writing only two teams have less wins than the Blue Jackets in the last ten games, the Oilers and Hurricanes.
GM Scott Howson believes the team as it is currently constructed needs to and should improve. If we profile Howson a bit we can see he tends to bring in younger players via trade, picking up Fedor Tyutin and Antoine Vermette in separate deals last season. If he was to make a move like this, it would likely have to be later in the year when more teams fall out of the race. It could also involve moving a valuable young player who has fallen out of favor such as he did with Pascal Leclaire and Nikolai Zherdev. Nikolai Filatov anybody?
- Chris Botta’s Islanders Point Blank reports that the Islanders will spend cap room to make the playoffs. As Botta mentions, the Isles need two top six forwards preferably a center and left wing. With their salary cap situation the way it is, GM Garth Snow can make a salary dump type move and acquire a good player without giving up a high draft pick or solid prospect. A quick look around the League renders very few clear-cut sellers. Pure speculation but Paul Kariya or Matt Cullen would make sense if their teams decide to sell.
Similar to our Daily 3 Stars, this section will break down the top three fantasy hockey performers every week 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)
THIRD STAR: Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning (0-0-1) – The diminutive right winger did a lot of damage over the last week posting two goals and four assists, three of which coming on the powerplay. Adding to his impressive line the 39-year-old managed 11 shots on goal, two penalty minutes and a plus one. Posting statistics in all six offensive categories is a big reason why St. Louis finds himself among the elite right wings in hockey with 24 points in only 21 games.
SECOND STAR: Kristian Huselius, Columbus Blue Jackets (0-1-0) – another player who donned our daily list last week, the talented left wing has been on a tear as of late. Tied for this weeks lead in powerplay points (4) with teammate Fedor Tyutin, the Swedish native scored two goals and added three assists adding 12 shots on goal and a plus one. Frequently playing with Rick Nash has vaulted the 31-year-old into a very valuable fantasy player so owners, enjoy it while it lasts. Streaks like this are not uncommon throughout his career making Huselius a great sell-high candidate.