(hat tip to the boys of Illegal Curve. Thanks to their amazing class and their blessing to take over this feature here at NHL Hot Stove. We hope you enjoy the latest daily series.)
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.
Earlier this afternoon, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke discussed numerous topics on Leafs Lunch – Leafs Nation Edition with Dennis Bayak. With the Leafs playing much better than their winless start, they may make some noise during the trade deadline or as Burke alluded to before it.
Personally I have always admired Burke’s honesty in discussing his teams. He usually gives his fans a perspective on what he plans to do while playing his cards close to the chest. The GM of the 2010 Team USA program also announced he will release the roster on Monday, December 28th.
Lets break down some of the topics discussed.
On the State of the Team
- Thinks the playoffs are realistic and notes the team work ethic has been great to date.
- Reemphasized not winning their first seven games really hurt their chances of climbing the standings.
- Would like to see both goalies healthy and in rhythm. Wants two weeks with both Jonas Gustavsson and Vesa Toskala healthy so he can assess the situation and rely on one of them down the stretch.
Any player written about is under 50 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues.
This week saw several players breakout, several produce above their means and others who continue to produce all of which leads us to an extended version of NHLHS Endorsed Pickups.
Here are today’s picks:
LW: Dean McAmmond, New Jersey Devils – As of this writing, McAmmond slots between Zach Parise and Patrik Elias. Having said that the veteran center boast a four-game point streak where he scored two and assisted on four more. Although center is his position called upon in real life, the 36-year-old qualifies at LW due to playing there the majority of his career. Does anyone remember the McAmmond – Craig Conroy – Jarome Iginla line? I sure do, that was a looooong time ago.
Prognosis: McAmmond showed signs of life last year with the Isles when he posted 9 points in 18 games. His current projection mirrors these numbers with 8 points in 16 games. This production marks the veteran’s absolute ceiling. At best he will pot 40 points, but with David Clarkson and Dainius Zubrus eventually returning even that is a stretch. Stream if desperate, definitely not a keeper. Otherwise read more for better options on the left side.
Look closely at the picture to the right, it may be the last time you see Peter Mueller in a Coyotes jersey.
The 21-year-old native of Bloomington, Minnesota continues to baffle both his coaching staff and fans alike with his minimal effort and limited offensive production. With only one goal and six points all season, Mueller sits on the hot seat almost begging GM Don Maloney to trade him elsewhere.
If you are keeping score at home, those totals project to an impressive three goals and 18 points.
Since the inception of Dave Tippett into the coaching staff, the entire Coyotes organization seems to thrive. Tippett implemented his system quickly as he took over in preseason with little time to spare. The system teaches his youngsters solid two-way play and evidently turned Ilya Bryzgalov into a Vezina Trophy candidate.
Meanwhile Mueller’s totals have only plummeted from a successful rookie campaign under Wayne Gretzky. Greatly slowing down over the second portion of last season many people had high hopes the talented youngster would turn it around. The right wing played 28 games before watching from the press box since December 14th.
So what will Maloney do with Mueller?
‘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.
Not many rookies on this list, as the rookie boom seems to have slowed in recent weeks. Still there are some young guys worth looking at in your keeper.
LW: Andrei Kostitsyn, Montreal Canadiens – The controversial winger, usually referred to as AK 46, returned to form in the last couple weeks. A former 10th overall pick, the older Kostitsyn now has 14 points over his last 12 games for a team that desperately needs scoring. One can only expect this scoring to continue as this player has the polish and the pedigree not to mention will receive large minutes in lieu of the injury to Brian Gionta.
Prognosis: Grab him and stream him while this trend keeps up.
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.
Twelve games and 24 teams in action last night, certainly a good night to be a hockey fan. Ten out of the 24 finished with two goals or less, giving offenses a win for once. Here are our standout fantasy stars for the evening:
THIRD STAR: Mason Raymond, Vancouver Canucks (0-0-1) – Raymond has three points in his last two games following a five game pointless streak. The 24-year-old scored a goal and added an assist, both on the powerplay to give him two points on the evening. In addition, the Calgary native fired two shots on net and sat four minutes in the box. One of our original NHLHS Endorsed Pickups, Raymond is once again stepping up his game in a big way.