These players won’t be on any roto-team’s top nine, but they will look good in that 10, 11 or 12 slot up front, or the five and six slot on the blue line. In perusing all the players that are 27 percent owned (or lower) in Yahoo!, some interesting names crop up. Here are the ones for you to consider for the stretch run…
First, the “shame on you” section. Steve Sullivan, Tim Connolly, Tom Gilbert and Andy McDonald are owned in less than a third of all Yahoo! leagues. It’s clear that the Sullivan of old is back, which makes him a top center. Twelve points and a plus-8 in his last nine games. Shame on you for not picking him up! Defenseman Gilbert has 11 points in his last 12 contests – shame on you! Connolly may get hurt a lot, but if you can easily switch him back out of your lineup there is absolutely no reason why he should not be on your roster. He has been healthy for the last 26 games, or haven’t you noticed? Shame on you! McDonald was hurt, but now he is back and hasn’t missed a beat – still a point per game. Shame on you!
Now let’s get to the 10 guys you should grab now for what they offer you down the stretch. They may be “depth” guys, but they’ll probably out-produce some of your so-called stars. A lot of players are classified as centermen – but that should not stop you from snagging them. In fact, when you are in that situation, deal one of your “big name” pivots for a good winger, and then replace him with a centerman I have listed here. You won’t lose out in that position, yet you will improve on the wing.
Without further ado:
10. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia. Now that Daniel Briere is out again, Giroux will get back to what he was doing prior to Briere’s return. Projection down the stretch: 15 points in 18 games, even, 10 PIMs, 38 shots.
9. Ryan Kesler, Vancouver. The streaky Kesler is now regularly logging over 20 minutes per contest and at worst he’ll still give you steady numbers in the other categories. Projection down the stretch: 15 points in 18 games, plus-4, 14 PIMs, 55 shots.
8. Sean Bergenheim, N.Y. Islanders. Lots of opportunity on the Island for him now and he has always had the ability in multitude of categories. Projection down the stretch: 15 points in 17 games, even, 18 PIMs, 56 shots.
7. Patrice Bergeron, Boston. Excuse him for taking a few months to get rolling, after missing most of last season. But the Bergeron of old is back with nine points in last 10 games. Projection down the stretch: 15 points in 16 games, plus-5, 4 PIMs, 49 shots.
6. Maxim Afinogenov, Buffalo. He has two points in two games since the deadline and is back to his old self. Granted, he could be back in the doghouse, but if not you know what he is capable of. Projection down the stretch: 14 points in 17 games, minus-1, 10 PIMs, 51 shots.
5. Stephen Weiss, Florida. He has 40 points in his last 46 games. The 25-year-old has finally arrived. Projection down the stretch: 16 points in his last 16 games, plus-5, 8 PIMs, 47 shots.
4. Antoine Vermette, Columbus. A new team and new possibilities. Vermette was turning his season around, but now he is entrenched in the top six. Projection down the stretch: 16 points in 16 games, plus-3, 12 PIMs, 49 shots.
3. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay. Everyone was grabbing this guy in September when they shouldn’t have. Nobody is grabbing him now, when they should. The future star has 10 points in his last 10 games and seeing first-line ice time. Projection down the stretch: 17 points in 16 games, minus-1, 8 PIMs, 47 shots.
2. Tuomo Ruutu, Carolina. It’s hard to imagine that he is in just 15% of all Yahoo! pools, with 15 points in his last 14 games and coming off a five-point game. His PIMs are low because Carolina has given up the least power-plays, so it’s a team system. Still, he puts up his share. Projection down the stretch: 14 points in 15 games, plus-2, 14 PIMs and 58 shots.
1. Steve Ott, Dallas. Looks like a lot of Yahoo! managers still haven’t heard the latest – Steve Ott is a fantasy stud. He has 24 points in his last 23 games, with 45 PIMs and is a plus-9 in that span. Seriously – trade your “Joe Thornton” type of player right now for a Daniel Alfredsson type of winger and pick up Ott. You will win out in both positions. Projection down the stretch: 17 points in 17 games, plus-4, 40 PIMs and 38 shots.
Honorable mentions: Matt Lombardi, Phoenix; Ales Kotalik, Edmonton; Eric Fehr, Washington, Michal Frolik, Florida; R.J. Umberger, Columbus; Matt Stajan, Toronto, Andrew Ebbett, Anaheim.