Late draft? My Fantasy Guide is updated as of Friday, with the 48-game season as the basis of all projections.

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Damien Brunner played 19:59 last night in his third NHL game and he finally got his first NHL point. It was at the 19:56 mark of the third and it pulled Detroit within one. But that's not what's important. What's important is the fact that the coach is sticking with him more than any coach I've ever seen stick with any new NHLer short of Sidney Crosby. He's averaged 19 minutes per game, with pretty much all of them on the ice with Datsyuk and Zetterberg. There are a lot of fine prospects throughout the last two decades who fizzled out because they weren't given this kind of chance. Brunner's success is all but assured. I don't like the one point in three games. Or the fact that the Red Wings are just 1-2-0, with that one win coming in a shootout. But if you put anyone on that kind of line for that amount of time and it's tough to fail. If the trend continues for another three games and the losses pile up…then it's a different song. But at this point, too many signs point to success.

It doesn't hurt that Brunner has 15 shots on goal, either.

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Mikael Samuelsson's groin injury flared up again and the Wings recalled Gustav Nyquist. He was in the lineup and played 11:42, but was a non-factor. I really think he should play with Datsyuk, and leave Brunner with Zetterberg. And I only own him in one of my five leagues, so I say this without bias - I just think Nyquist can thrive in the NHL right now. But only in the right situation and as long as Brunner has his star linemates, that situation won't open up. Disclosure: I also own Brunner in one of my five leagues, too.

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Michael Ryder scored a pair of goals. The difference? Cody Eakin on his line instead of Tom Wandell. It's an insult to Eakin to put him on the fourth line, and it's silly to mix the skill of the bottom three lines. The best bet is to put your best six on the top two lines, and then your next most talented three on the third line. Instead of putting a D+ offense out there for third line and fourth line, put a C offense for the third line and D- for the fourth line. And it looks like Dallas did that last night. Bodes very well for Eakin and Ryder owners.

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Matt Read led all Philly forwards in ice time. It was a parade to the penalty box for both the Devils and the Flyers, so Read was out there for both special teams quite a bit.

The Flyers have lost all three games so far. Sorry Bryzgalov owners. Not his fault, either. That's the irony. I had the Flyers losing more than expected because of Bryzgalov, not this.

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First NHL goals last night: Nail Yakupov, Alex Galchenyuk, Damien Brunner, Justin Schultz. Also Brendan Gallagher got his first NHL point, an assist, in his first NHL game.

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Daniel Winnik, yes Winnik, has four goals and five points, and is plus-5, in two games. He obviously won't keep that up, but he's wielding a hot stick that could last another one to four games.

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I gotta tell you, I agree with Wyshynski here. The NHL should steal this idea. The KHL will have a consolation tournament this year. Teams that don't get into the playoffs will fight for a $500 thousand dollar prize, plus "the Cup of Hope". The winner also gets a draft pick - possibly the top pick.

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Awesome Down Goes Brown: NHL team promotions to win back fans.

My favorite - Nashville Predators: For each home game, fans who purchase tickets, concessions and team merchandise can have the chance to place their money directly into a wheelbarrow being held by a smirking Shea Weber.

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Anthony Stewart was placed on waivers by the Kings. I had a feeling that was on the way. He had the one big season in Atlanta and was able to parlay that into a good two-year contract, but that's over now.

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Chris Kreider is back practicing for the Rangers after taking that big hit Monday. The Rangers also put together new lines, and as I mused in the fantasy guide - Carl Hagelin is out of the top six:

Marian Gaborik-Brad Richards-Rick Nash

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan

Carl Hagelin-Brian Boyle-Taylor Pyatt

Mike Rupp-Jeff Halpern-Stu Bickel

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Adam Henrique is about a week away from returning from his thumb injury.

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Jamie Benn and the Dallas Stars are reportedly closing in on a contract. Probably another game or two missed, before he's back in the lineup. Just a guess.

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Islanders' prospect Nino Niederreiter has reported requested a trade. I think he's crazy - the team is doing the right thing here, fixing the mistake of letting him on the big club last year. And he wants to leave a team with a pretty good crop of youngsters coming up.

Elsewhere, Devils' prospect Adam Larsson keeps getting scratched. Hey - those teams should swap assets! (kidding)

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Ottawa sent down Robin Lehner and called up Ben Bishop. The TSN panel noted that Bishop is on the trade block and Ottawa is looking to get more than the second rounder they gave up for him.

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The Canucks have recalled Jordan Schroeder.

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Boy does Calgary need this - both Jiri Hudler and Roman Cervenka are expected to play on Saturday. Finally, the Flames can show us what they're thinking in terms of proper line combos.

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The Hockey Writers take a close look at the defense pairings of the Pittsburgh Penguins in an interesting piece.

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The cure for Blake Wheeler? A new line. I'm normally against shuffling lines without giving them four or five games to gel, or right the ship, but I gotta admit this worked. Wheeler had excellent chemistry with Ladd and Little last year. But after two games, it wasn't working. Well he picked up two points when he was put on a line with Kane and Jokinen. That's good news for Wheeler owners.

Of course…that's, uh, horrible news for Little owners (of which I have him and Wheeler in two of my leagues, so I'm torn).

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Gabriel Bourque was back in the NHL and back in the Nashville lineup - at the expense of Craig Smith, who saw his ice time slip to six minutes.

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Anze Kopitar was back in the lineup. Simon Gagne was the healthy scratch. Kopitar played nearly 20 minutes.

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Matt D'Agostini got into the Blues' lineup, but played less than nine minutes. He still managed two shots and a Hit, but he's fantasy useless until somebody good gets hurt on that team, or he's dealt.

Kevin Shattenkirk is flying. So glad I traded him in the summer. Man, I'd be walking away with that league had I not done that. Instead, I'm in a tight battle. He has five assists so far.

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Martin Brodeur has 120 career shutouts now. The Devils are playing a great system and between that and the short year, Brodeur will be a top fantasy own. If healthy. All I needed to see was how things started out for the Devils - and they've started out just fine, thank you.

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I'm looking for a few new helpers for our Fantasy Newsfeed. It just takes a few minutes every week, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for details if interested.

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Yakupov's first NHL goal:


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Comments (10)add comment

Teh Doktor said:

Teh Doktor
Bickel / Downie Did anyone else notice that Stu Bickel was moved from D to Wing?

I know his fantasy value is limited, but both of my leagues count PIM's and in that respect, he's relevant. A couple of things about him: I went to a Pens/Rangers game in April, while both teams still had a shot (I think) at the Pres trophy and 1st in the conference (duh!). Bickel played despite not much of a threat from anyone on the Pens (Engelland didn't fight much last year).

Now this move to forward. Are they short on forwards, or that deep on Def? Either way, it indicates to me that they like having him in the lineup... unless they are really that shallow.

Also, Downie played 4:55 last night and will sit out the next game (knee).
January 23, 2013
Votes: +0

mabus said:

mabus
... Everything I've read about the Islanders is that they are a horrible organization to play for and they are at the bottom of most team's lists. I don't fault anyone for requesting a trade out of there. I get the feeling people wouldn't want to go there even if they were putting lots of wins up and cup contenders.

It's like not wanting work for company x when you could have a reasonable opportunity and a solid wage because the company treats their employees horribly.
January 23, 2013
Votes: +0

bitterwingsfan said:

bitterwingsfan
wings As a fan of the team, agree 100% on Nyquist. Personally, I think the Wings need to shuffle the top 6 by splitting Datsyuk and Zetterberg:

Franzen/Datsyuk/Nyquist
Filppula/Zetterberg/Brunner

Right now, the second line isn't nearly as threatening with the top line stacked and I think it would help to have more balance among the scoring lines. Filppula thrived last season on Zetterberg's wing and the chemistry between Hank and Brunner has been discussed enough. It just makes sense to pair those three and see what happens. Datsyuk can play with anyone but he and Nyquist have looked good together in the past. Same can be said for Franzen.

This won't happen, though, because Detroit has too many vets (Bertuzzi, Cleary, Samuelsson) on the the team vying for a top 6 spot. Babcock will ultimately rotate these guys in and out of the top two lines, when healthy, and Nyquist will shuffle back to the AHL. I hated the Samuelsson signing when it happened and still do as it just eats up another roster slot that a player like Nyquist needs to have the opportunity to grab but ultimately won't get.
January 23, 2013
Votes: +0

davecunningham85 said:

davecunningham85
... Brunner was dropped, would you pick him up over Havlat or Roy?
January 23, 2013
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... He was called up 11 days ago smilies/wink.gif. Technically true.
January 23, 2013
Votes: +0

Firmverm said:

Cflintoff
Bishop Bishop wasn't called up, Ottawa was carrying 3 goalies. Lehner got sent down because he's the only one with a two-way deal.
January 23, 2013
Votes: +0

shovelguy said:

shovelguy
"Cup of Hope" Haha, yeah, as a player, I would be thrilled to be playing in loser tournament where by winning, my team gets to draft a kid that could take my job. Duh-umb.
January 23, 2013
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Agree Another fantastic rambling!
Really, really good.
January 23, 2013
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

January 23, 2013
Votes: +0

Dunnder said:

Dunnder
thanks Dobber ramblings are my favourite part of the site and todays is gold, as usual.
thank you
January 23, 2013
Votes: +5
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