Pulled off a big-ish trade in my H2H keeper. Standard cats + FOW and hits.


I moved Steve Ott (C/LW) and Cory Conacher (C/LW) for Alex Burrows (LW/RW) and Cam Atkinson. My reasoning:


Set at center and for FOW with Crosby, Zajac, Little (RW), Krejci, and studs like Hanzal on the wire.


Burrows is a huge offensive upgrade on Ott, and I expect him to replace Kassian on the top line for most of the rest of the season (comfort factor).


I like Atkinson's upside more than Conacher's (except PIM). 






Only one NHL game last night... but a busy Saturday is ahead of us.




Jonas Hiller left the game last night after the first period with a minor injury. The door remains open for Viktor Fasth to come in and steal the starting gig.




It was a really impressive effort from the Stars last night against the red hot Ducks.


Alex Goligoski had two helpers in his return from the press box, and he played a solid game in his own zone, too. The issue with his struggles wasn't that he didn't care, but that he cared too much. He needs to simplify his game and use his vision and mobility to open things up offensively.


Reilly Smith had no points and played 12 minutes, but I continue to be impressed with his game. I think he has top six NHL upside.


News to no one - Jamie Benn is an absolute beast. Five shots on goal, a goal, and he was a puck hound all game long. You can count the number of players who are harder to knock off the puck than he is on one hand.


Loui Eriksson and Derek Roy each had two points - Eriksson has been a bit snake-bitten this season offensively.


Cody Eakin's ice time has been cut because of the Roy return, but he is still a very effective player. Obviously his offensive upside changes if he is playing a third line/energy role.




Gabriel Landeskog is inching closer to a return to the ice – it sounds like may start skating again soon.




The bad news in Calgary continues – Mikael Backlund has been placed on the IR, and the Flames have recalled center Ben Street from the AHL.




Lubomir Visnovsky will be making his season debut today for the Islanders. I am curious to see how he does – in theory at least, he should add an interesting dimension to what should be a lethal power play unit.




Brent Burns, who has yet to play this season, may make his season debut tonight for the Sharks. Obviously expect him to have a significant impact on the lineup if and when he does come back.




Lots of injury news today – Kris Letang won’t play tonight for the Penguins, but it sounds like Brad Marchand is ready to return for the Bruins. That crash into the end boards could have been a lot worse (and it looked a lot worse at the time).




Here is my weekly Friday Five post for the PlayNow Sports Blog – Nugent-Hopkins, the flying Ducks, and more.




Are the New York Islanders even trying to win?


The pattern obviously sucks for Islanders fans, who have to sit there and wait until the team moves out of the county before it will be competitive. You have the feeling that with a few more dollars, this could be a team that wins now, but the Islanders still have a round of selling off before ownership will decide whether or not they want to give the all-clear for the team to buy up a few good players, leverage their young talent for established NHLers, and even try make it back to the playoffs. The way teams like the Islanders, or the Miami Marlins in baseball, are run, sometimes going into seasons with no clear desire to compete makes you wish that a system of promotion and relegation wasn’t foreign in North American sports. The team would at least have to pretend to care at that point.


It isn’t all doom and gloom in Washington – 2012 1st round pick Filip Forsberg is tearing up Sweden.


In the nine games since he returned from the World Junior Championship, Forsberg has four goals and eleven points. He also has 30 points in 31 games, which ranks him as one of the best in the league in points per game. Forsberg, one of the youngest players in the league, would also be among the league leaders in points if he hadn’t missed time due to injury and captaining Sweden’s WJC team.



Chris Campoli, unable to find an NHL contract, is off to play in Switzerland. He was heavily involved in the CBA negotiations, and as much as the conspiracy theorist in me would like to point to that as a reason he is without a deal… I’d say it has more to do with his struggles over the past few years.




Patrick Kane is off to a terrific start, and he no longer plays with a mouthguard. Coincidence? I’ll let you be the judge.


Kane said the mouth guard might return but not before he decides whether it is a distraction at times.

"That's something I've thought about," Kane said. "When it's in my mouth, is all I'm worried about is chewing it instead of worried about the game? It's kind of all in your mind. For the time being we'll keep it out. It could come back."


More on Peter Mrazek’s impressive NHL debut on Thursday night:


Mrazek has won all his debuts this season, from the ECHL to the AHL to the AHL All-Star game to the NHL. He got his shot Thursday because the Wings wanted to give Jimmy Howard a mental break after he'd started each of the first nine games and played all but one period. Howard would have preferred to play, he said, but "it's good to just hit the re-focus button."

At the same time, it was an opportunity for Mrazek to show he can deliver in the big league after a strong showing in the minors. Mrazek was 16-7-1 with a 2.26 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in 25 games with the Griffins. He played in the Jan. 28 AHL All-Star game, and was last week's player of the week after stopping 53 of 54 shots over two games. Two years ago, he won the top goaltender award at the World Junior Championships.


I missed this yesterday – the Flyers have signed Kimmo Timonen to a one-year, $6 million contract extension through the 2013-14 season.




I have been posting these all week – Ottawa prospect profiles. Today’s is defenseman Cody Ceci, who has considerable upside:


Still, 47P (12G, 35A) in 53GP is nothing to scoff at. With his recent move from the OHL-worst Ottawa 67s to the playoff-bound Owen Sound Attack, most in Ottawa are hoping that Ceci can get back to playing meaningful hockey again. The fact that he's a leader on the Owen Sound blue line--he's by far the most potent offensive defenceman there--means he'll get a lot of responsibility and plenty of opportunities.

Since Ottawa's got quite a few young defenders really pushing for NHL time (Patrick Wiercioch and Mark Borowiecki chief among them), Ceci may end up spending yet another year in major junior next season. (Editor's note: Due to his late birthday, Ceci is AHL-eligible for next season, so it seems likely the Sens would put him there. H/t to Monteith16 for the note.) If he does, the Sens will expect him to dominate, hopefully in the OHL and in the World Junior Championships. It might not be the ideal situation for him, but Ceci's going to have to make the best of it.



A pair of first career NHL goals:



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bluesfan89 said:

Trade I actually like the Ott/Conacher side better: Reasoning: I prefer Conacher's upside. LW is the toughest position to fill and he also has C eligibility. He's already proven he can produce at the NHL level and has done so consistently so far, while leading all rookies in scoring over beasts like Tarasenko, Yakupov, Huberdeau, Galchenyuk, etc. Pretty impressive. Atkinson hasn't done anything yet. Conacher is also playing alongside superstars while Atkinson will be skating with mediocre players, which means his +/- will be worse. And Conacher will be flanking Stamkos in the future. He was the AHL Rookie of the Year and MVP. I like Atkinson and on a stronger team it might be different. But I would take Conacher over him any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Ott/Burrows is very close. The beauty of Ott is getting all his FWs when lining him at up LW. I own him in one of my leagues and I find that to be a huge bonus. He also gets more hits and PIMs than Burrows. He's had a slow start but I think he's a great buy low right now because of it. Buffalo went after him for a reason and will be leaning on him. Burrows is more of a complimentary player and I'm not convinced he'll go back up to the top line. Why would they move him when Kassian is playing so well? Burrows may score more points but I don't think the gap is that big. 10-15 pts, maybe 20? Ott had almost 200 more hits than him last season. That and the higher PIMs and FWs make Ott more valuable imo.

All in all I think it's a pretty close trade. A pick upgrade might have evened it out. But I gotta say I like Ott/Conacher better.

Just my $0.2.
February 09, 2013
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