Looking for a Defenseman?

Carolina Hurricanes v Buffalo Sabres

As we approach the midway point of the 2009-10 season in the National Hockey League, many questions remain unanswered.

Which teams are serious about playoff contention?  Who needs a massive upgrade to make the push from a bubble team?  Which team should sell off the year and attempt a mini-rebuild?

Those are some thoughts circulating the League as we take a look at the state of all teams around the NHL.  Now, when perusing through certain rosters some names that could bring in returns which would benefit a team in need of depth.

Today, we look at the defensemen around the NHL likely to be moved by the March 3rd, 2010 trade deadline. As a side note, be sure to tune into “The Hockey Guys” on deadline day as there will be an all day live event with a live chat room for discussion on all the rumors and news as it breaks in the NHL.

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Final Destination: Scott Niedermayer

Anaheim Ducks v Philadelphia Flyers

Some players around the League find themselves at a career crossroad.  A crossroad with tough decisions to make regarding ongoing speculation of their final season.  Speculation whether to stay on a sinking ship and finish at the bottom of the sea or leaving one’s comfort zone in an attempt to stay on top.  Certainly no easy decision for any player

While Scott Niedermayer ponders his future in hockey he continues another solid year in his famed career.  The same cannot be said for the Anaheim Ducks, who sit 13th in the Western Conference despite coming off a come from behind victory against the Colorado Avalanche.  The team finds themselves as of this writing a mere five points behind the eighth seed.

The asking price for the captain should be reasonable, as he would strictly be a playoff rental.  However, GM Brian Murray can  acquire a potential piece or pieces to build for a brighter future in sunny Anaheim.

A quick look around the league shows there are a few teams in need of Niedermayer’s services. At 37, he still is one of the best defensemen in the game and a huge piece for a few teams looking for that extra push into serious cup contention.

Lets take a closer look at which teams could trade for Niedermayer in order to bring home Lord Stanley’s Cup.  Even though he already carries four Stanley Cup rings to his credit, every player in this league starts the season with one goal in mind.

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Kovalchuk and Ovechkin Together?

Russia v Canada - Gold Medal Game

If you listened to the Team 1040 AM stream like I did, you would know new rumors around Ilya Kovalchuk continue to spread like wildfire.

The newest and latest rumors discussed are the Washington Capitals as front runners in the Kovalchuk sweepstakes.  Interestingly enough, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period says as much as Kovalchuk loves Atlanta, there are bigger issues there in hindsight.

Going back to the 1040 AM discussion, Washington as an organization boasts numerous movable assets.  Since the permanent Michael Nylander demotion, a fair amount of open cap space opened up for the club so perhaps they have both the room and assets necessary to acquire the services of Kovalchuk.

Naturally the centerpeice would have to be either Alexander Semin or Nicklas Backstrom along with another player like Eric Fehr.   Kovalchuk should claim a bounty larger than that of former teammate Marian Hossa, so there would need to be work on both sides.

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Injury Updates 12/18/2009

Ottawa Senators v New Jersey Devils

This thread will be updated all day, so keep refreshing it as the day goes along. Just a quick note, if I omitted a source it is due to a previous report with no recent updates. Here are your injury updates for tonight:

Injuries Tonight

Ottawa Senators

  • Nick Foligno set to miss two weeks. [Bob MacKenzie]
  • Pascal Leclaire travelling with the team. [Senators.com]
  • Jason Spezza, Chris Neil and Shean Donovan remain out.

New Jersey Devils

  • Dainius Zubrus close to returning. [Fire & Ice]
  • David Clarkson and Paul Martin still out.

Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Jonas Gustavsson serving as Toskala’s backup. Luke Schenn back in.  [Jonas Siegel]
  • John Mitchell, Carl Gunnarson and Mike Van Ryn still out.

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Weekly Fantasy 3 Stars – Week Ending 12/06/2009

Florida Panthers v Washington Capitals

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) and therefore omit salaries.

THIRD STAR: Stephen Weiss, Florida Panthers (0-0-1) – If you look at Weiss’s production over the last couple of weeks, it is hard find anyone who has been better.  The 26-year-old put up points in 11 of his last 13 games and currently boasts a modest 6 game point streak.  Over the past week Weiss scored six goals, two of which came on the powerplay, and assisted on another.  The center even gave his fantasy owners two penalty minutes while taking a whopping 17 shots on goal.  If he is still available in your league I would take a long hard look at him as the former 4th overall pick is only owned in 44% of Yahoo! formats.

SECOND STAR: Chris Stewart, Colorado Avalanche (0-1-0) – Earlier in the week we mentioned Stewart in our daily section where he won our first star selection.  Surely fantasy relevant by now, the young right wing scored two goals and assisted on four more this week.  Two of his six points came on the powerplay, ensuring he is playing valuable minutes for his team.  Perhaps more impressive is the 19 penalty minutes he racked.  In addition, the 22-year-old took 13 shots on goal and finished a plus one for a team split that their four games.  If the former first round pick can continue his pace he will give the Avalanche a legitimate scoring power forward.

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Daily Fantasy 3 Stars 12/05/2009

Washington Capitals v Atlanta Thrashers

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.

Last night was a great night for hockey.  While we expected close games in Philadelphia and Toronto, both matches ended in blow outs.  Is this a turning point for the Bruins and Capitals? The same could be said for the Flyers and Leafs.  Regardless, the scorers on the winning teams proved invaluable to their fantasy owners.

THIRD STAR: Marco Sturm, Boston Bruins (0-0-1) – The 31-year-old winger took advantage of playing top minutes.  Sturm scored a goal and added a powerplay assist in the Bruins 7-2 drubbing of the Leafs.  The German native sat two minutes in the box, took four shots on goal and posted a plus two rating giving him contributions across all six standard offensive categories.

Fantasy Note – Now with 16 points on the season, he now has four points in his last three games.  Known to score in bunches throughout his career, Sturm should keep this up for the next few games.  If the Bruins right the ship he should maintain his pace and be a large part of their turnaround.

SECOND STAR: Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals (1-1-0) – The young Swede continues to put his brief, three game slump behind him with ten points in his last four games.  Perhaps more impressive is that over that span he has doubled his goal production for the season, from four to eight.  Last night Backstrom scored a goal and assisted on four more, three of which were on the powerplay.  Combined with a plus one and two shots on net the 22-year-old simply dominated the Flyers.  Read the rest of this entry »

Quarterly Review: Projected NHL Trophies

NHL Awards Presentation

With Atlanta playing their 20th game last night, the first quarter of the 2009-2010 season is officially over.  Seeing as this is a milestone within the season we thought it would be a good idea to discuss the trends emerging around the NHL.

The article’s intent is to show who would win the NHL awards if the season finished today.  Of course these players will most likely NOT win the awards, NHLHS just likes having fun with small sample sizes and hot streaks.

Whether it be injury or inability there are plenty of surprises when compared to preseason predictions.  Teams such as the Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings and the Buffalo Sabres find themselves at the top of the standings, surprising most pundits.

We will outline the NHL trophies and why we think these players as of right now are deserving of them.  In addition, we will include the projected nominees so you can see our train of thought.  We hope you enjoy this mini-series which should continue throughout the NHL season.

Click the link below to see our award winners and tell us what you think in the comments section!

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Cost Efficiency: Rich Peverley, best player in hockey?

Atlanta Thrashers v Pittsburgh Penguins

Well maybe our headline is taking it a bit too far, but you can’t get a better player for your money.  Claimed off waivers last year from the Predators the 27-year-old now has 59 points in 58 games for the Thrashers. The undrafted free agent recently signed a 2 year contract worth a total of 2.6 million a modest raise from his current 487,500 cap hit.

Since he makes 487,500 this year, as a technicality we can put his stats over his salary to determine his cost-per-point production.  Prior to joining Nashville, Pevs was a point-per-game player in the AHL showing glimpses of his potential.  If the graduate from St. Lawrence University continues his pace, he may be one of the greatest bargains of all time.

He averages a goal for every 61K he makes, a small value in comparison to Dany Heatley’s 441K per goal.  The center assists on a goal for every 33K paid, making Joe Thornton’s 300K per assist look like a king’s ransom. Peverley’s 22K per point is 15K less than the next player James Neal, who is coming off an entry level contract himself.  Nobody can compare to his proverbial bang for the buck.

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NHLHS Endorsed Pickup

Buffalo Sabres v Washington Capitals

Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post reported this morning that John Carlson has been called up to the Capitals.  Carlson is a prized prospect, a former first round pick and a caused havoc with John Tavares and Michael Del Zotto in juniors.

We have already seen what Del Zotto has done manning the PP for the Rangers.  Imagine what a young dynamic defensemen can do on a unit with Alexander Semin, Mike Green and over course Alexander Ovechkin. On the Hershey Bears, the youngster has 10 points in 17 games.

Prognosis:  Grab him now, it will hurt a lot less if you are wrong.

(H/T to Steve Robak)

Follow me on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates

-Alexander Monaghan
NHLHS Founder

Daily 3 Fantasy Stars 11/17/2009

Nashville Predators v Philadelphia Flyers

Another new feature here on NHLHS. I will 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)

THIRD STAR: Mike Green (0-0-1), Washington Capitals – Although Green did not have as flashy of a game as Mike Fischer or Marian Gaborik, he managed to fill more categories than the latter.  Green finished with 2 assists, plus 1, 5 shots-on-goal and a power-play point giving owners production in 5 out of 6 offensive categories.  Despite the lack of goals, Green is living up to his lofty draft status.

SECOND STAR: David Legwand, Nashville Predators (0-1-0) – Legwand exploded tonight against the Sharks boasting a 1-2-1-0-1-2 line.  Although the former 2nd overall pick only had 5 points coming into the game, he showed no hesitancy against a very solid San Jose team.  Despite the production, Legwand is still not worth an add when you consider how deep the center position is and his role as a 2nd/3rd liner.

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