Dictionary.com defines complacency as, “a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.”. Complacency is one of the most dangerous aspects of fantasy hockey. You might be enjoying a 20-point lead in your roto-league, but that can vanish very easily in a course of two-to-three weeks. Complacency is also key in head-to-head leagues, where you could be leading the regular season by 200 points, but still get beat down by a hot team during the playoffs. It is vital that you keep up to date with all your information during the stretch run to maintain your lead, or make it a photo finish in your league with the current leaders.
Players in the last week with the highest production in each category who are less than 50% owned in Yahoo leagues.
The Ducks are playing inconsistently heading into the final stretch run of the season as they were blown out by the Thrashers after huge back-to-back wins over Calgary. Ryan Getzlaf has had a slow February as he only has two points in six contests for the Ducks. Corey has faired much better with five points in the same amount of games. Chris Pronger, who is headlining the rumor mill in Anaheim, only has four points in the past 15 contests. J.S. Giguere was pulled from Sunday night’s contest after allowing five goals in 28 minutes of play. Jonas Hiller has much better stats this season and is certainly more deserving of the number one gig but you just can’t afford to sit a $5.5 mil goalie on the bench. Giggy will remain the number one in Anaheim.
The Flames picked up three wins in four contests this past week, while tallying 17 goals in the process. It was their seven-goal gem on Saturday night that helped put them over the edge. Todd Bertuzzi re-joined Jarome Iginla on the Flames top-line and registered six points. Iggy is still struggling, the Flames scored seven goals on Saturday, and Iggy picked up a grand total of ZERO points. He is a bonafide superstar, so owners shouldn’t worry too much, he’ll be back to scoring form fairly soon. Matt Lombardi is picking up a lot of the scoring slack as he picked up seven points in the last four contests. If you take a look at the buzzings above, he’s nearly on every category. We’ll see next week if he can keep it up. Dion Phaneuf was pulling an Iggy, as he also put up a goose egg on Saturday night. Miikka Kiprusoff continues to lead the league in wins with 33. His .906 save percentage is a bit low though.
Big news out of Chicago is the injury suffered by Patrick Sharp on Saturday night. Sharp was driven into the boards by the Stars’ Steve Ott, and looks to have injured his left knee. Martin Havlat tied a season-high three points on Saturday night against the Stars. He should be the main beneficiary now that Sharp is out of the Blackhawks’ lineup. Dustin Byfuglien should also enjoy some added responsibilityl. Brian Campbell has eight points in the past nine games, he’s rounding back into last seaon’s offensive form after struggling for the first two months at the beginning of this season. He should return back to the 60 point plateau which he hit last season with the Sabres/Sharks. Nikolai Khabibulin is still sidelined with a LBI, but should return back into the Hawks’ lineup later this week.
Columbus through strong defensive play has gotten themselves into a great position for the playoffs. They currently sit sixth in the Western Conference and a playing some quality hockey. Kristian Huselius picked up three points in Saturday night’s win over the Hurricanes. Rick Nash also picked up three assists in the contest. Hopefully that will jumpstart his cold February in which he has only tallied one point in five games. Steve Mason is showing no ill signs of mononucleosis as he returned to the lineup and posted back-to-back wins this past weekend.
Colorado will welcome back a few friendly faces into the lineup as the injury list is about to look a lot nicer for the Avalanche. Adam Foote returned on Sunday after missing 17 games with a torn tricep. Many fantasy owners will be awaiting Paul Stastny’s return to the Avs lineup later this week. He was averaging just under a point-per-game and firing 2.65 SOG/contest before sustaining the forearm injury that sidelined him for 23 games. With Stastny’s imminent return, Wojtek Wolski will probably lose his top-line center spot in the Avs rotation. He’ll most likely re-join Tyler Arnasson and Marek Svatos on the Avs second unit. Peter Budaj has a 3.01 gaa and a .891 SP for the month of February, probably borderline droppable if you are in a deeper league.
The Stars have gotten to where they are thanks to the brilliant play of Marty Turco, but the problem is he can’t do it all by himself. Turco’s 4-3-0 record with a 1.81 gaa and .934 SP in the month of February has been carrying the Stars. The problem is the offense needs to tally more than the two goals per game that they averaged this past week. Jere Lehtinen hit a bit of a snag on the score sheet as he registered just two points this week, but did manage to fire 12 shots on goal. Brian Sutherby picked up three goals in the last five games, while playing fourth line minutes for the Stars. If an injury befalls Mike Ribeiro or Brad Richards, you might see Sutherby’s fantasy value sky rocket.
Dan Cleary is filling in Tomas Holmstrom’s role perfectly as he now has seven points in eight February contests. His also averaging 3.25 SOG/game for the month as well. Jiri Hudler continues to get shafted in Detroit as they are electing to go with youngster Ville Leino over Hudler for a top-six role on offense. Niklas Kronwall is certainly benefiting from playing alongside Nik Lidstrom. Kronwall has 17 points in the last 17 games while Lidstrom has 13 during the same span. Lidstrom is also beginning to shoot the puck a lot more as he is averaging 2.875 SOG/game in February compared to 2.5 SOG/game in January. You would think Mike Babcock’s patience is wearing thin for Chris Osgood as he has a 3-1-1 record and a 3.30 gaa along with a .875 SP for the month of February. If you compare those numbers to Ty Conklin’s, 3-0-0. 2.00 gaa and a decent .917 SP, you should be easily able to figure out who’s the more deserving number one in Detroit.
The Oilers’ blue-line heading into the season was probably one of the deepest in the NHL. Following two key injuries this week, the Oilers might actually be looking to add more defensive depth at the trade deadline. Lubomir Visnovsky will be sidelined for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury and Denis Grebeshkov will also sidelined with a high ankle sprain. This could be the boost that Tom Gilbert needs to become a 50-point defenseman. He’s currently averaging 21:07 in ice-time per contest, look for that to jump climb towards the 24 minute mark at the end of the season. The most significant jump will be his power-play time as he is averaging 2:39 on the power-play, and someone will need to chew up the 5:01 that Visnovsky leaves behind. Shawn Horcoff returned back into the Oilers’ lineup and picked up three points in two games while being reunited with Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner on the top-line. Dwayne Roloson continued to play well as he allowed six goals in three contests this week, while maintaining a blistering .967 SP. At 43% Yahoo owned, he could be a real bargain bin find for the stretch run of this season.
The playoff intensity is being to show as the Oilers and the Kings took part in a slugfest on Saturday afternoon. Defensemen Denis Gauthier returned back into the lineup after serving his five-game suspension. Oscar Moller also returned to the Kings’ lineup after missing a handful of games from an injury suffered in the WJC. The Kings are happy with their top-six, so I don’t think they’d want to toy around with the chemistry, which should result in Moller getting returned back to his junior team in Seattle. Anze Kopitar is returning back to his scoring form as he has five points and 20 SOG in six games. Dustin Brown continues to fire a ton of shots on goal as he now has 222 in 54 games which averages to 4.1 SOG/game. The Kings’ blue-line is crowded but Kyle Quincey continues to step up to the plate as he’s picked up three points and more importantly 20 SOG in six February games. It’s the confidence that impresses me the most. Jon Quick continues to run with the number one gig in LA. He has a 4-1-1 record with a 1.80 gaa along with a .933 SP for the month of February. If he can maintain those stats, look for Kings to easily reach the playoffs.
Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Senators, could be a rude awakening call for the Wild. They face the Flames, Red Wings and the Blackhawks this week, which could help build momentum towards the post-season, or completely destroy their confidence. Mikko Koivu is doing his part as he has five points and 19 SOG in the month of February so far. P.M. Bouchard also has five points during that span, but only has a 1.33 SOG/game average to show for it. He’ll need to show me a higher shooting rate for the rest of this season, if I were to put my confidence in him next season. Owen Nolan is definitely feeling rejuvenated in Minny as he now has 16 points in the last 17 games. He’s also averaging 2.71 SOG/game during that span. He’s getting top-six ice-time in Minny, and averaging 3:28 on the power-play per contest, so if you have a roster spot, why not take a gamble on the 7% Yahoo-owned veteran?
The Predators are heating up at the right time as they have gone 7-3 in the past 10 games. Pekka Rinne could the main reason why the Preds have experienced such great success as he’s gone 6-2-0 with a 2.35 gaa along with a .925 SP since the All-Star game. Shea Weber continues to struggle as he only has one point in the last 11 contests, but does have 38 SOG during that span. Steve Sullivan is averaging 17:01 and 3:35 on the power-play per contest since returning to the Preds lineup. Jason Arnott remains to be hot with seven points and 31 SOG in eight February contests. With the Preds getting hot for the final stretch run of the season, I’d try to make a strong move at trying to acquire Arnott for your fantasy squad.
The Coyotes are really struggling as they are mirred in a huge late-season slump. Ilya Bryzgalov has been atrocious with a 1-5 record and a horrendous 3.92 gaa along with a dreadful .887 SP for the month of February. He needs to pick his game up if the Yotes have any shot of a playoff berth this season. If I were a Bryzgalov owner I’d think about cutting bait and see if I can land a Jon Quick or Chris Mason instead of relying on Bryz to turn it around. Olli Jokinen just doesn’t seem motivated as he only has 36 points in 51 games. Maybe a deal to a contending team might be what Jokinen needs to shake out of his season-long slump. Viktor Tikhonov picked up three points in Saturday night’s loss to the Flames, he doesn’t have much value for this season, but is someone to keep an eye on for future years. Ed Jovanovski hasn’t had a great season, but is quietly becoming a great fantasy contributor for the month of February as he has four points, 30 PIMs and 16 SOG in six contests.
The Sharks might have hit a midseason hump as they have lost five of the last six contests. On the positive side, four of those losses have been in overtime so the Sharks are getting points out of the losses. Patrick Marleau now has 30 goals and is four shy of his career-high 34 in which he set with the Sharks in the 2005-06 season. Jonathan Cheechoo scored his first goal in nine-games, which makes him one for 25 during that span. Evgeni Nabokov has not had a great February as he has a 1-1-3 record with a 3.68 gaa along with a sub-par .867 SP. Nabby is a good goalie, so you’ll just have to ride this blip out for the time being, numbers will normalize fairly soon.
Chris Mason is red-hot with a 6-2-3 record in the past 11 starts, which includes three shutouts. Mason really has dominated now that he has assume the number one reigns in St. Louis. He jumped from being 23% Yahoo owned, to 34% owned this past week, so it’s not too late to add him to your fantasy roster. Andy McDonald picked up three points in three games, and returned to the same scoring pace at which he left off after sustaining a broken ankle almost three months ago. Brad Boyes is maintaining his hot-streak as he now has 13 points in the past eight contests, while firing 22 shots on goal and a plus five during that span. He’s tied for second in the league with 17 power-play markers. Carlo Colaiacovo continues to lead the Blues’ defensemen in power-play ice-time while averaging 3:16 per contest. The only downside is that he doesn’t pick up very many SOG.
The newly dubbed “RPM” line of Ryan Kesler, Pavol Demitra and Mats Sundin has combined for a total of 26 points in six contests for the Canucks. The trio should enjoy success for the duration of this fantasy season. Roberto Luongo remains undefeated for the month of February as he’s gone 5-0-0, with a 3.00 gaa along with a .899 SP in five contests. Alex Burrows was moved up to the Canucks top-line to play alongside the Sedin twins, which resulted in a two point outing against the Canadiens on Sunday night. If he can maintain that roster spot look for Burrows to set a new career-high in points this season. Alex Edler is also stepping up his play as he’s picked up seven points in six February contests. He’s teetering around the 20 minute mark for ice-time in the last 10 contests.
Remember complacency is never a good thing, whether you are ahead of the pack in the standings or below you should always look for ways to consistently improve your fantasy squad. I bid you adieu until next week.