|Gettin' Sexy in the West||Tweet|
|Written by Ryan Ma|
|Tuesday, 15 December 2009 12:23|
The Christmas break is fast approaching, so this week we’ll just take a look at what’s been going with each of the Western Conference teams.
As always before the good stuff let’s take a look at a few:
Players in the last seven days with the highest production in each category who are less than 50% owned in Yahoo leagues.
Maaaasquito Bite of the week: Dan Sexton
Sexton now has five points in five contests and is on one hell of a hot streak since joining the Ducks 12 days ago. What’s also amazing is his 22 SOG during that span. His current 22.2 percent shooting percentage also ranks amongst the league’s best. The astonishing thing is that he’s also only averaging 14:23 each contest and less than a minute on the power-play, if he can get a bit more quality ice-time he could be in for a very productive two-three weeks. As long as Teemu Selanne is dealing with his broken hand, look for Sexton to get every opportunity to help get the Ducks out of their current funk.
Now onto the quick hits...
As mentioned above the Sexton is a smart pick up if you are looking for some help on the wings. Ryan Getzlaf is on a bit of a hot-streak with 25 points and 42 SOG in 20 contests since the end of October. Corey Perry is on a similar pace with 22 points and a blazing 70 SOG in the same span. Bobby Ryan seems to be settling fine on the second line as he has seven points in the last five contests. Ryan Whitney also is getting back into the scoring groove with six points in seven December contests. I think he’s a great buy-low candidate for the moment. Scott Niedermayer is on the opposite end of the scale as he only has two points and 14 SOG in the same span. J.S. Giguere has a 2.67 GAA and a .913 save percentage compared to Jonas Hiller’s 3.01 and .910. I see it being a 50/50 situation from here on out until the trade deadline. The latest reports surrounding Selanne is that he’s healing quicker than expected and could be returning to the Ducks line up at the end of December or early-January. He should be ready to suit up for Team Suomi come mid-February.
After starting the season hot with 16 goals in his first 22 contests, Jarome Iginla only has one in his last 10 matchups. He’s a bonafide stud for fantasy purposes so he’ll be just fine. After starting with a red-hot October, Rene Bourque has returned back to Earth somewhat with 10 points since. I’d expect a 0.7 to 0.75 point per game pace for the duration of the season. Olli Jokinen and Iggy just don’t seem to mesh well as the former only has two points since the calendar rolled over to December. It would be in the Flames best interest to separate the two in my humble opinion. Both Jay Bouwmeester and Dion Phaneuf have had slow starts to their December as they have combined for a grand total of two points in six contests. Surely that should send a message to the Team Canada selection committee. Miikka Kiprusoff is certainly making me change my opinion of him as he sports a dazzling 2.18 GAA and .930 save percentage (1.83 and .942 in December). It looks like playing for a Sutter does change his mindset...
Marian Hossa is showing no ill-effects of his off-season shoulder surgery as he has nine points in nine contests. Patrick Kane is leading the way for the Hawks with 30 points in 31 contests, and 18 in the last 18. He did leave Sunday night’s contest, against the Lightning, due to a cut above his left eye, but all reports are saying that the injury is not serious and he should suit up for Wednesday night’s contest against the Blues. Duncan Keith is continuing to chug along as he now has 25 points, which is only 19 points short of the career-high he set last season. He’s certainly making me rethink about his offensive potential. Cam Barker continues to have the leash on even-strength situations but has free-roam on power-play situations. With the big contracts that the Hawks management recently signed, look for Barker to become bait come trade deadline time. Patrick Sharp leads the Hawks in SOG with 110 with his next closest competitor (Kane) almost 20 behind him, can you say WTF? Could there be a goaltending controversy brewing in Chicago? Huet: 14-7-2, 2.18 GAA and .910 save percentage versus Neimi: 6-1-1, 1.50 GAA and .940 save percentage. Nikolai Khabibulin who?
Paul Stastny now has 34 points in 35 contests (eight in seven contests for December). He’s starting to make me believe that he’s entering Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin territory, where he can solely carry a team on his own back. Wojtek Wolski and Chris Stewart are certainly reaping the rewards of it, as the duo has combined for 19 points in the seven December contests for the Avs. Kyle Quincey hasn’t exactly lit up the scoreboard as he only has two points in December, but the positive is that he’s averaging two SOG per contest. Milan Hejduk’s knee is still bothering him, and there are whispers of surgery looming for the right winger, which could be a big blow to the Avs offense if that occurs. After a strong start to the campaign Craig Anderson’s numbers have returned back to Earth. 2.56 GAA and .908 save percentage are probably the end-of-season numbers that I’d expect to see from the Illnois-native. Peter Budaj is making a strong case for more playing time as he filled in admirably with a 1.25 GAA along with a mind-boggling .958 save percentage while Anderson was nursing a neck injury.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Rick Nash is continuing to chug along as he is on his typical point-per-game pace. His 3.94 SOG per contest pace ranks him amongst the league in that department. The center-pronged duo of Antoine Vermette and R.J. Umberger are playing just fine as they have combined for 50 points in 33 contests. The later has the edge in SOG. Kristian Huselius-owners be wary as he was removed from the top-line and replaced by Jason Chimera in their last contest against the Preds. With Derek Dorsett out for the next four weeks following a broken hand, look for Jared Boll to fly the lone “tough guy” flag for the Jackets. Anton Stralman has two assists and only five SOG in seven December contests. On a positive note, he has been averaging exactly four minutes on power-play for the last three contests, so there is a bright spot if you are a Stralman-owner. Steve Mason continues to be inconsistent as he had three subpar performances to start December. He followed it up by pitching a shutout and then followed that up with another two subpar performances.
Loui Eriksson hasn’t scored in 13 contests, but he certainly has been playing the role of playmaker. He has nine assists in the past 12 contests. Brad Richards also has 15 points and a whooping 49 SOG in the past 11 contests. A huge positive for him is the fact that he’s ranked seventh overall in terms of power-play ice-time in the league. He might just get back towards the 90 point pace by the end of the season. With the emergence of Richards it really has taken some steam out of Mike Ribeiro’s sails. He has five points in the last nine contests which is slightly below his expected point-per-game pace at the start of the season. The disappointment so far this campaign for the Stars is probably Brendan Morrow. He’s only on pace to finish the season with 53 points, which is probably 10-15 points lower than expected. With the depth that the Stars have on the wing with James Neal and Jamie Benn, I probably wouldn’t expect Morrow to surpass the 60 point mark this season. Marty Turco has been stellar this season with a 2.45 GAA and a .920 save percentage in 23 starts. In December he has a 2-0-2 record with a 2.13 GAA and a .936 save percentage.
Detroit Red Wings
Pavel Datsyuk is on pace to finish the season with 17 goals which would be his lowest total in five seasons. Henrik Zetterberg is back to point-per-game pace with 21 points since the end of October. Todd Bertuzzi might be getting back to his former self with four goals in the last three contests. With the injury list continuing to grow in the Motor City, it might be a good time to stash Big Bert. He’s just a Tomas Holmstrom injury away from striking it big time. Holmstrom only has eight points in the past 21 contests, probably a good sign that he’s beginning to slow down. Nicklas Lidstrom owners should be panicking right about now, he’s only on pace to finish the season with 27 points, which would mirror very closely what he did in 2003-04, and that’s not good news. H2H stats of Chris Osgood versus Jimmy Howard: 2.70 GAA and .900 compared to 2.40 and .920. Edge: Howard, but who has number one status? Osgood...
Dustin Penner continues to streak with 36 points in 32 contests. I still think he hits a wall at some point during the season. I just don’t know when. Lubomir Visnovsky now ranks second on the team in terms of scoring, and sixth overall amongst all defenseman. If you are looking for a quiet improvement to your fantasy squad you might want to see if you can negotiate for the 33-year old Slovak. Robert Nilsson is on a six game point scoring streak in which he has a plus four rating along with 11 SOG. This might be his final shot to be on an NHL squad permanently. Gilbert Brule is finally showing his potential with eight points in the last seven contests and seems to clicking with Penner and Sam Gagner. Jeff Deslauriers has a 5-0-0 record along with a 1.94 GAA and a .938 save percentage in the month of December. Once again Nikolai Khabibulin who?
Los Angeles Kings
The biggest news coming out of LA is that Jarett Stoll left Monday night’s contest with a groin strain. Stoll has been hampered by the injury lately so it appears that he’ll probably take an extra long rest to make sure that it heals properly instead returning early and making it worst. The Kings have also lost Wayne Simmonds due to a knee injury and is considered “week-to-week”. After starting the season with 32 points in the first 22 contests, Anze Kopitar only has six points in the next 13. Hopefully owners heeded my calls of selling him a few weeks ago. After tallying just six points in 13 November contests, Dustin Brown has six in eight December contests. Drew Doughty is now riding a three-game pointless drought, probably not what the Team Canada brass was looking for when attending the Monday night contest against the Canucks. Jon Quick has been quietly holding the fort in LA as he owns a 5-1-1 record along with a 2.49 GAA and a .912 save percentage in seven December starts. Ryan Smyth is chugging along in his rehab schedule as he’s set to return in about 12 days.
Is the real Martin Havlat standing up? He now has seven points in his last five contests. Mikko Koivu has been one of the biggest surprises in my books this season. I thought he was 70 point good, not point-per-game good. I won’t forget his name in drafts for next season. Andrew Brunnette now has nine points in his last seven contests. Did you know that he tallied 162 points in his final season in the OHL, but was drafted in the seventh round of the 1993 NHL entry draft? Hmmmm, Andrew Ebbett, Brent Burns, P.M. Bouchard, and Petr Sykora what’s the common link between those four players? With a 4-1-1 record along with a GAA of 2.14 and a save percentage of .914 in December, Backstrom is returning back to the form that we saw from him last year.
What can I say, defense wins games! The Coyotes proudly own a 19-12-2 record thanks in part to the new defensive scheme of new coach Dave Tippet. The offense on the other hand is operating as the 27th ranked team in the league, which explains why no Coyote has surpassed the 20 point plateau in 33 contests. Ed Jovanovski returned with a bang by tallying two assists in his return from suspension. Radim Vrbata’s 118 SOG ranks him sixth in the league in that department. The stymied offense is Ilya Bryzgalov’s gain as he sports a 1.98 GAA and .930 save percentage from 29 starts (1.48 GAA and .951 save percentage in December). Although he doesn’t carry the same moniker as a Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo or Henrik Lundqvist, his stats may very well be on par with the “big three” by season’s end.
San Jose Sharks
The Sharks have a long rest period, which is pretty unique for this season. They only play only once in the next eight days. Joe Thornton is leading the league with 37 assists, could he top 100 this season? Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley are pacing the Sharks with a combined 41 goals. I expect Heater to keep up his current pace, but Marleau almost always has a dip in production in the second half of the season, so owners beware. If you are a Marleau owner I’d probably start discussing trade options right about now. Since Jason Demers demotion to the AHL, Rob Blake has two points in seven contests but more importantly 21 SOG. As discussed earlier in the Fantasy Indicators of Success series, high SOG usually equals to higher point production. Dan Boyle sustained an injury in the final minute of Saturday night’s contest against the Coyotes. The Sharks don’t play again till Thursday, so that’s a bit of time for him to rest up. If not they might hold him out till next Monday’s contest against the Stars which will give him a full nine days rest. Evgeni Nabokov hasn’t picked up a victory in December but does have pretty solid numbers (2.64 GAA and .920 save percentage) for his owners this month.
St. Louis Blues
Something is certainly wrong when the top scorer on your team makes his living on the blue-line. This is exactly the case as the Blues’ offense has completely taken a backseat this season. The problem that I see is that the Blues are spreading out the ice-time. No offensive player is averaging more than 18:32 overall. Players who collect the highest fantasy value are players who garner the most ice-time and at the moment you just aren’t seeing that from the St. Louis players. If you do own a Blue you might want to see if there’s a deal sitting out there that might help your fantasy squad. Chris Mason versus Ty Conklin: 2.44 and .920 compared to 2.32 and .930. Does Conks deserve to have a fair shot at the number one gig? Hell Yeah!
The Sedins have been on a point-per-game pace since the lockout and are currently now on a seven game point-scoring streaks. Henrik has scored 14 points during that span while Daniel has 12. Alex Burrows, the third member of the Vancouver top-line, has also complemented the twins with seven points. It appears that the trio is re-igniting some of that chemistry that they had throughout last season. Alex Edler is considered “week-to-week” after suffering an “upper-body injury” in December 8ths contest against the Preds. That should open the door for Shane O’Brien to pick up a few games in the next two-three weeks. Ryan Kesler is keeping his near point-per-game pace with 29 points in 33 contests. Pavol Demitra is ahead of his recovery schedule as reports have him possibly nearing a return at the end of December as opposed to February. That addition might just revamp the Canucks second line of Kesler, Demitra and Mikael Samuelsson to provide the necessary secondary scoring behind the Sedins plus Burrows. Roberto Luongo is back with a 4-1-1 record along with a 1.84 GAA and a .940 save percentage in the month of December. The question remains can he outplay Brodeur for the top goalie spot on Team Canada come February?
Questions or comments? Like always I’ll be ready and willing to discuss them with you in the comments section below. We’ll see you back here once again next week as we discuss more news coming from the Western Conference.
loco man said:
Andrew K said:
|Last Updated on Thursday, 17 December 2009 12:10|